In India today it’s the Festival of Chariots or Puri Rath Yatra, a major Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath (avatar of Lord Vishnu) held in Puri, India. Just three hours ago, the Indian Express reported that devotees poured into the seaside town since early morning to watch the ceremony and pull the three majestic and colourful chariots on the ‘bada danda’, the grand avenue.
Above: Three chariots of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra during the annual “Rath Yatra” in Puri on Sunday. Source: PTI Photo
To celebrate this mid-summer festival, and because it’s Sunday, a day for relaxing, I’ve created a cheat’s feast comprising of shop-bought items from local independent stores, brands and an online company who specialises in Indian curry kits.
I was really chuffed to win one of these spice kits from @CravingCurries last week on Twitter. Craving Curries was created by a Carlisle couple who started selling curry kits online so customers can make authentic Indian meals at home.
There are quite a few different kits available and we opted for the vegetarian curry. Simply cook each spice sachet supplied for the indicated time, adding onions into the mix, and then 500ml of water and 450g of your chosen vegetables. We used sweet potatoes, aubergines, chantenay carrots, peas and French beans. Like with any curry you cook from scratch, there’s always an element of labour and preparation to take into consideration, but having the spices individually packaged made things a lot quicker, less expensive and more authentic. The result was a nicely spiced and fragrant curry, with depth of flavour and a healthy amount of heat. Delicious with a dollop of mango chutney, spicy mixed pickle and yoghurt on the side.
Craving Curries: A vegetarian curry spice kit costs £3.49. For more info go to cravingcurries.co.uk
Cheese and onion samosa from Rainbow Wholefoods (made by Gobblin Wholefood Bakery in Suffolk) www.rainbowwholefoods.co.uk
Bhajiman pilau rice kit (just add potato, carrots, green beans, chilli, ginger, garlic and coriander). Made in Norfolk www.bhajiman.co.uk. I love that this producer creates these products locally. The rice was super-fragrant and carried a real punch!
Shana Foods Original Paratha flatbread: contains 5 x frozen flatbreads (dough), which you heat in a frying pan for a minute or two each side. (Made in Middlesex). These were incredible.