Next week is Diwali. What is Diwali? It is actually the Hindu new year actually technically Diwali is new years eve Bestu Varas is new years day and literally translates to sitting year (i.e. new year).
As with most celebrations, Diwali is accompanied with many different foods both sweet and savoury. Around this time in our house, here are some of the foods you would find.
chakri / Chakli/ murukku
These are delightful circles of wonderful crunchiness. Made using rice flour, yoghurt or sour cream, sesame seeds, cumin, chilli, ginger salt and lemon (at least this is what we put in them in our house) they are a savoury snack that is delicious to munch morning noon and night.
Think pimped up Bombay mix (it is so much better than Bombay Mix) you have a mixture of fried potatoes ( shredded and crisps), along with fried phoa (which is a flattened rice), fried moong dal, peanuts, cashews, fried chana dhal, turmeric, salt, chilli, mustard seeds, asafoetida icing sugar, curry leaves and coriander. Other people add golden raisins for more sweetness.
The delicious little fried breads. We make these using our medium brown chappati flour, a bit of oil and warm water to make a soft dough. Leave the dough to rest and turn them into little balls roll out into small discs (approximately 8 cm in diameter) and fry in hot oil. They should puff up and make sure you fry them until they are golden brown on both sides. These can be found at pretty much any celebratory event.
Many an argument has been had in our house over our favourite colour of Mathiya. Mathiya is a crisp not dissimilar to popadums but made using moth flour (moth flour is a type of bean that is ground down and turned into a flour). This is flour is mixed with papad Kharo ( a form of sodium bicarb that works well in the making of papad), salt, sugar, pepper powder and ajwain to form a dough which is then pounded and pulled before being rolled out and fried. They can be fried quickly leaving them slightly pale (but they should still be crisp) or fried a bit longer allowing them to turn a reddish brown colour. Whichever one you prefer they taste amazing.
This is a catch-all term for a variety of sweets that are eaten for celebrations and come in various shapes sizes and made from a whole host of different ingredients. A few of our favourites are Kahju Katli (cashew nut paste not too dissimilar to marzipan which is made from almonds). Barfi which in itself can come in a myriad of different flavours the barfi base is made using chickpea flour ghee(clarified butter), milk powder, milk and sugar (recipes can vary depending on household) once this barfi base is made various flavours can be added from cardamom and nutmeg through to mango and coconut. Barfi has now taken peoples imaginations in the UK and there are artisan producers making a whole host of imaginative flavours one that we have come across is Sweet Sensations by Seema who makes wonderful barfi flavours. Ladoos which again come in a host of flavours and have a variety of ways in which they can be made. And we can't forget the famous Gulab Jamun and Jelebis which are favourites around our house all the time but are all the more special at Diwali.
We would like to wish you all a happy Diwali and Bestu Varas and we will see you next year for another fabulous Diwali celebration.
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