When the world wants to party, we like to join in. Diwali is a festival that comes from India and is accompanied by a lot of sweet food. You don’t have to come and ask us twice.
Thursday, November 4, started the Hindu festival of lights, which is celebrated where Hindu communities live. That is for example in Trinidad and Guyana, Fiji… In the past they were shipped from India (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka…) as indentured laborers to other colonies, to work in the sugar and rice plantations. At the time, contract worker was actually a euphemism for ‘slave of limited duration’. When that contract expired, they were free to use again. Most stayed in their new country. They have kept their parties there and made others enthusiastic. Even today, India sends out its sons and daughters, again on contract, but now well-paid as ICT workers in large international companies.
The festival of lights means that many lights are lit and that people eat and snack extensively, especially sweets
Such a festival of lights, just like our Christmas, means that many lights are lit and that people eat and snack extensively, especially sweets. Who doesn’t have sympathy for that?
The date of Diwali varies with the lunar calendar of India between October and November. The party actually runs over five days, but Thursday 4 November was the most important this year, the high day. Then one worships the goddess Lakshmi for good luck, prosperity and prestige. They light earthenware oil lamps, send greeting cards to friends and family and wish everyone ‘Shubh Diwali’.
It starts on day 1 (Tuesday 2 November) with cleaning up the house and shopping for the delicacies that will be prepared. It’s also a day to buy gold, they tell me. The second day the lights are hung, inside and outside. The floor is also decorated with rangoli, colorful patterns of powders, grains and (paper) flowers. Day three is the feast day with prayers at home or in the temple, and offerings of food. The fourth day is dedicated to the love between man and woman, with gifts for each other. The last day is for siblings, and more presents. Then we’ll be Saturday.
Indian halwa is a broader concept, can be made from semolina or vegetables and fruit, flour or something more
Fried milk balls
The food during Diwali usually consists of several snacks during the day. Now is the time to stock up at the Indian grocers, pakora, samosa of thriving community to stock up. We are already somewhat familiar with the former here, the latter are fried milk balls and therefore mainly sweet. But there are a thousand variations possible.
Also halwa is a sweet treat, but not like the Levantijse half that you find at the Turk or Lebanese, made from sesame. Indian halwa is a broader concept, can be made from semolina or vegetables and fruit, flour or something more.
Many occasional recipes can be found, for example, on the BBC page. Here’s a halo recipe: Gajar Halwa:
Roughly grate half a kilo of carrots, split six green cardamom pods with a knife. Place carrots and cardamom in a heavy saucepan. Pour over half a liter of whole milk and bring to the boil. Simmer very gently for about an hour, checking and stirring frequently, excess milk should have evaporated (perhaps safer in an oven?).
Melt 125 grams of butter in a deep pan and fry the halwa until the moist, milky appearance is gone (15 minutes?). The mixture will darken. Then add 100 grams of sugar, 25 grams of raisins and 25 grams of almonds or pistachios. Stir for a few more minutes. Serve hot or cold.
The halva will keep in the fridge for up to a week.Subh Divali and tasty.
We would like to give thanks to the author of this article for this remarkable web content
Diwali – Five days of light and sweetness – Foodlog