Another Navaratri has come and gone. Growing up this was my favorite time of the year; a time for bonding with my mother and sister. Each year we would join hands to set up the ‘bombe’ ( the doll display). There was the excitement of climbing up a ladder to retrieve the old brown trunk from the attic and arranging every flat topped piece of furniture to form the steps. Unwrapping the dolls from their protective newspaper covering would start the flow of memories . Every year Amma would talk of the Dasha Avatara dolls she purchased from the vendor in Trivandrum, of the dolls her mother gave her and the travels on which the other dolls were collected. Once the dolls were set up it was time to plan the food. Kodabale, halwa and usli were a standard. The next 9 days were spent having visitors, listening to the wonderful concerts at the Navaratri Mantapa and visiting friends.
This year we kept the tradition in Portland. We also added to the tradition. Lego creations and knights and warriors were added to the doll display and the food was all vegan.
I hope you enjoyed the Navaratri where ever you are. I leave you now with a vegan version of a traditional Karnataka classis dessert. Gasa Gase Paayasa . This is traditionally made with jaggery (an unrefined sugar) but here I have taken a short cut with brown sugar.
¾ c white poppy seeds
¾ c Almonds
1 ¼ c Brown Sugar
Water to cover the brown sugar
1 14 oz can thick coconut milk
1 32 oz carton Almond milk
Seeds from 10 cardamom pods crushed.
Dry roast the poppy seeds till fragrant.
Powder the poppy seeds and the almonds in the blender, adding almond milk to keep the motor running.
Take the brown sugar is a stock pot and add enough water to just cover the brown sugar. Heat the pot on medium, stirring often until the brown sugar dissolves. Let the solution come to a gentle boil.
Lower the heat and add the poppy seed mixture. Add the rest of the almond milk. Allow to come to a boil stirring frequently.
Add the coconut milk and heat through. Finally add the cardamom powder.
Serve hot or cold.