Some ‘Scary’ Delicacies This Diwali

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There are different perspectives about Bhoot Chaturdoshi. One says the custom of lighting fourteen lamps marks respect to the fourteen generations of our ancestors. While another, tells the story of Maa Chamunda (another form of Maa kali) and fourteen other horrific spirits.

As per this,  Maa Chamunda along with fourteen other ghostly forms scared everyone around. So, fourteen lights placed at fourteen of the darkest corners of our homes to ward off evil spirits.

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Saheli Dey

Mythologies apart, Bengali customs are more about the food. Bengalis all across the globe, frantically look for grandmother’s Choddo Shaak (fourteen green leaves) recipes. This custom believes no evil spirit could reside in your body if you eat them.

Just as we celebrate Bhoot Chaturdeshi, Halloween, or Hallowe’en (a contraction of All Hallows’ Evening), also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Eve, is a celebration observed in a number of countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.

Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (or the related guising), attending Halloween costume parties, decorating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfires, apple bobbing and divination games, playing pranks, visiting haunted attractions, telling scary stories and watching horror films. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious observances of All Hallows’ Eve, including attending church services and lighting candles on the graves of the dead, remain popular, although elsewhere it is a more commercial and secular celebration. Some Christians historically abstained from meat on All Hallows’ Eve, a tradition reflected in the eating of certain foods on this vigil day, including apples, potato pancakes and soul cakes.

Some Recipes To Be Made Specially This Diwali:

Choddo Shaak

Ingredients:  Various types of edible green herbs: 2 cups, White radish, julienne cut: 1/2 cup Brinjal, diced: 1/2 cup, Kalo jeera or onion seeds: 2 tsp ,Whole red chili for tempering and garnishing: 5 to 6 , Green chili, minced: 2 tsp , Red lentil masoor dal Bori or sun dried dumplings: 1 tbsp , Salt and sugar: to taste , Cooking oil, [preferrably mustard oil]: 2 tbsp

1.-choddo-saak

Directions: Wash and clean carefully all the herbs under tepid water, blanch and keep in a colander to drain all the water. Cut vegetables lengthwise first then in tiny pieces. Heat oil in a wide frying pan, fry dry lentil dumplings first and keep aside. Fry red chilis in the remaining oil, take out all except one. Add onion seeds and minced green chili. Add herbs and vegetables, salt and sugar and cover promptly for 5 to 6 minutes. Open the lid, fry well just until they are done. Now add fried dumplings, mix them well and put off the fire. The Bengali special green for festival day is ready to be served. This dish tastes unexpectedly good with hot rice, fried red chili and Bengali mustard mango sauce Kasundi.

Marshmallow Witches

Ingredients: 1/2 cup vanilla frosting, divided , 36 miniature semisweet chocolate chips  ,12 large marshmallows , 1 drop each green, red and yellow food coloring, optional  ,1/4 cup flaked coconut, 12 chocolate wafers , 12 miniature peanut butter cups , 12 milk chocolate kisses

2.-marshmallow-witches

Directions: For the face of each witch, place a dab of frosting on the bottom of three chocolate chips; press two for eyes and one for nose onto each marshmallow.  For hair, combine green food coloring and a drop of water in a small resealable plastic bag; add coconut and shake well. Spread a small amount of frosting on sides of marshmallows; press coconut hair into frosting. Place 3 tablespoons of frosting in a small heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; tint orange with red and yellow food coloring. Set aside. For hats, spread some of the remaining frosting in the center of chocolate wafers; press peanut butter cups upside down into frosting. Lightly spread bottoms of chocolate kisses with frosting; place on peanut butter cups. Cut a small hole in the corner of pastry or plastic bag; insert a small star tip. Fill the bag with frosting and pipe stars around the base of each peanut butter cup. Secure a hat to each witch with a dab of frosting. Yield: 1 dozen.

Strawberry Ghosts

Ingredients: 30 fresh strawberries, 8 ounces white baking chocolate, chopped,1 teaspoon shortening , 1/8 teaspoon almond extract, 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

3-Strawberry-Ghost

Directions: Wash strawberries and gently pat with paper towels until completely dry. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt white chocolate and shortening at 50% power; stir until smooth. Stir in extract. Dip strawberries in chocolate mixture; place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet, allowing excess chocolate to form the ghosts’ tails. Immediately press chocolate chips into coating for eyes. Freeze 5 minutes. In microwave, melt remaining chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Dip a toothpick into melted chocolate and draw a mouth on each ghost. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 2-1/2 dozen.

Prosciutto Ham Meat Head

Ingredients: 1 Plastic skull (can be found at most party stores or craft stores), Tin foil, Toothpicks, 1 pound of prosciutto or deli ham, sliced thin, Cream cheese (the whipped kind) if needed, 1 small container of small Mozzarella cheese balls, 1 small can on black olives sliced, Small red cake icing tube

Directions: Wrap the skull with foil being sure to cover it completely. It may take a few overlapping layers of foil to get it all covered. You don’t want the food to be resting on the plastic skull in case anyone wants to eat the meat. Layer the ham over the skull to cover it completely. If you are having trouble getting it to stick, simply smear on a little cream cheese to act as a glue to hold the meat to the head. Add a little cream cheese to the eye sockets and place the mozzarella balls in the sockets for eyes.  If you need to you can secure it with a toothpick. Use red icing for veins in eyes. You can attach the olive slices to the remainder of the cheese balls with toothpicks so they look like eyeballs. Serve them around the head. Chill in fridge until ready to serve.

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Dead Man’s Finger Sandwiches

Ingredients: Thin sliced white bread, crusts removed, Soft margarine, Cream cheese or peanut butter, Almonds, Strawberry Jam.

Directions:  Gently flatten the slices of bread with a rolling pin to make them more pliable. Spread with a little margarine and some cream cheese or peanut butter. Roll up the sandwiches and make three indentations with a blunt knife to form the finger joints. Trim the ends of the fingers into a ‘V’ shape and stick an almond on to each tip with a little cream cheese to form the nails. Now for the gruesome bit—add a dollop of strawberry jam over the end of the finger for the blood!

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