HAPPY DIWALI TO ALL OF YOU !!
MAY THE GOOD ALWAYS WIN OVER ALL EVIL!!
MAY DIWALI BRING YOU A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS YEAR!!
EID MUBARAK TO ALL OUR MUSLIM FRIENDS AROUND THE WORLD!!
Deepavali in sanskrit or Diwali literally means "Rows of lights or lamps"!! A very popular 'Festival of Lights', in India which is celebrated by all Hindus is a symbol of renewal of life,a new beginning!! Women buy Gold and Silk Sarees, new clothes for the family,cook lots of sweets and other goodies, while kids and men have a blast,literally with loads of fireworks!!We exchange gifts and sweets among relatives and friends, a time for happiness,shopping,eating and having families come together for a week long celebration!! Whole house,specially the front porches are lit up with earthen lamps called 'Deepas' and 'Diyas' as the sun goes down and they are also decorated with colorful rice flour designs called 'Rangolis'!! It is a sight to see and non-Indians can only imagine unless you are there in India during Diwali to experience the joys of millions of Indians!!:)))
Rows Of Lamps:
There are lots of stories about why Diwali is celebrated!! We are supposed to be celebrating the return of King/Lord Rama to his throne after a long exile, slaying of Evil Asura by a Goddess Kali/Durga to bring peace on Earth,worshiping Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi for good luck and wealth etc,. Millions of Indians live in other countries away from India! Most of our westernized kids are unfamiliar with much of the our culture unless we live nearer to 'Little India' or visit India frequently! For my kids sake, I TRY my best to do something close to what our families do in India,so they can have some idea of Indian customs,festivals and traditions as they grow up!:))
Here is one of the intricate Rangoli patterns we create in temples and in our homes for Diwali and other Hindu festivals! (from aparnaonline.org)
Here is a sample of a Diwali Platter of my goodies I am planning to cook for my family, Karnataka (South India) style except Jamuns & Samosas! A typical 'Festival Lunch'(Habbada oota) around Mysore, Bangalore and Hassan!! Every household has their own dishes they prefer to make, this would be my family's fare! Two recipes follow!! :))
MENU:Vegetarian feast of course, as most Hindus are vegetarians!!
Appetizers: Chaklis,(Samosas are not traditional Mysoorean snack but I had some in the pantry!), Spinach Pakodas.
Entree: Vegetable Pulao with Raita and a beans Kurma (gravy,not shown in pic),Cumin Rice and mixed vegetable Mysore Saaru (Dal sambhar).
Side dishes:Coconut chutney,Papad,Pickles,Chutney pudi (powder).
Salads: Cucumber-carrot Kosambari (medley),Green bell pepper-coconut stir-fry, raita and one more dal medley coming to the table on Sat. 21st!!
Desserts: Mysore Pak(Susan in Italy style!), Kobbari Mithai(Coconut Burfi),Mysore GasaGase Payasa (Poppy seeds Porridge: Go easy! It's Poppy, source of Opium, remember!! :D) My grandmothers' make even more desserts actually! These sweets are enough for us!! Phew!!
To drink:Good old spiced Buttermilk!! No Alcohol involved at all!
Fruits to end the Feast:Apples and bananas or any fruit we have!
You can see the Indian silk Shawl(Pashmina)up there and my Diwali 22ct.gold bracelet here!(Indian design,Ofcourse!) No silk Sarees!!I do not wear Sarees, silk or any other! (First and the last time I wore Sarees were during first few days of my wedding!!)
Hope my family appreciate all the cooking I am doing singlehandedly!
(My husband is on call this weekend!) Or else I am calling the police to throw all of them ie two kids and a grown man to Alcatraz!! I will keep my Bichon!!:D:D:D
My fav. story about Diwali would be , when you light up your front porch with lots of deepas or lamps, Goddess Lakshmi,the 'Goddess of Wealth' will notice and walk into your house!!That means people, we are going to earn loads of Moola!! Wouldn't you want that??!! So, even if you don't believe in this story like me or a non-Indian unlike me, why don't you get some votive candles and put in a safe place in your front porch this Sat. night (21st)!!May be Goddess Lakshmi will visit you too along with your Indian neighbors?!:D
Another belief, which I like during Diwali festival would be 'Good always wins over evil'!As they say there is always light at the end of the tunnel!! Might take a little time to pass through that tunnel,but good will win in the end! Don't you WANT TO believe in that?!We Indians do!! No wonder Indian culture has survived for sooo long!!:))
Have a blast! Be careful with the fireworks!! Be safe and have fun!!
MYSORE GASAGASE PAYASA: (My grandma's Poppy Seeds Porridge)
This Payasa is a very typical Mysoorean dessert made for most Hindu festivals along with Obbattu ( a sweet pancake like dessert, made of flour wrap stuffed with sweet dal filling) which I am not planning to make for Diwali!
You could eat this as a dip with Molasses Pancakes on the left which tastes similar to Obbattu or like Kheer on it's own!! Addition of Poppy seeds makes you drowsy for obvious reasons just like after eating Turkey on Thanksgiving!!:)) Eat your bellyfull and sleep until it's time for the fireworks and lighting the Deepas in your porch!
Gasgase Payasa shown below is very flavorful despite the bland look of beautiful milky white color with a hint of saffron!! Adjust the sugar to your taste!:)
1 Cup fresh coconut or 2 cups coconut milk extracted ,3 tbsp white Poppy seeds,1 tbsp dry rice,1 cup hot milk,1/2 cup hot water,1/2 tsp cardamom pd,1/2 cup or more white sugar, few Almonds and Cashews, pinch of saffron.(Optional)
Dry toast poppy seeds and rice to crisp them not reddish.Soak in 1/2 cup hot milk for 5 mins and grind with cashews until smooth.Grind the coconut with warm water and milk,strain through to get just the coconut milk, discard solids.Should get up to 1 1/2 cups coconut milk.Mix in poppy mixture, sugar, rest of the milk and simmer on low heat.
Heat until the raw smell goes,for 10 mins.Add more milk if it is too thick.Before taking of the heat ,add cardamom pd,mix and pour in a dish.Toast Almonds (peeled, sliced) in 1 tsp butter or ghee until golden.Garnish with toasted Almonds and pinch of saffron!!
Mix 1 cup Besan flour,1 tbsp corn starch,1 big onions sliced thin,1 cup fresh spinach leaves or few frozen,thawed,salt,2 green chillies chopped,cilantro,crushed 1 tsp each coriander and cumin seeds,pinch of baking soda well and add a tsp of water only if necessary! Onion and spinach makes it wet enough to bind.Batter must be thick with droppable consistency!
Heat enough oil to deep fry to 350F and drop small rounds with a fork so as not make a ball of dough but a irregular shapes. Fry until golden and drain on a kitchen paper towel.Delicious, crunchy Palak Pakoras are ready!!
My home's front porch all lit up on Saturday night for Diwali to welcome Lakshmi 'Goddess of Wealth' in to my home with some sparklers for fun!!:))
Have a wonderful Diwali and forget about the calories on Saturday!! See you all next week somewhere jogging!!:D:D:D
Pictures of Deepas and fireworks are from this site:
Others are from Your's Truly!:))
These recipes are my entry to Jihva 'Diwali Special'!!:))
A NOTE: My family did appreciate all that I cooked up for Diwali. Hey Alcatraz, you just have to look for some other inmates!:D:D