Saturday, October 21, 2006

Festival of lights...Diwali

Happy Diwali to Indians worldwide~ and Malaysian's like me finding every excuse to have a festive celebration!

Diwali, also called Deepavali (Hindi: Diwali or Deepavali, Marathi: Tamil: Kannada: Deepavali) is a major Hindu festival. Known as the "Festival of Lights," it symbolises the victory of good over evil, and lamps are lit as a sign of celebration and hope for mankind. The festival of Diwali or Deepawali (literal meaning: lines of lamps) is rooted in the mythological epic Ramayana, and is a celebration of the return of Lord Ram after killing Ravan the Demon during his exile for 14 years. The day of killing Ravan is celebrated as Dussehra (19 to 21 days before Diwali). Celebrations focus on lights and lamps, particularly traditional diyas. Fireworks are associated with the festival in many regions of India.

Diwali is celebrated for five consecutive days in the Hindu month of Ashwayuja. It usually occurs in October/November, and is one of the most popular and eagerly awaited festivals of India. Hindus, Jains and Sikhs alike regard it as a celebration of life and use the occasion to strengthen family and social relationships. (wikipedia)
When the Malays celebrated "Hari Raya"; my chinese family would have a celebration of our kind; charcoal on the barbecue pit, Mah-Jong sets, wine, cards, Karaoke, and the sort! *laughs* I love being Malaysian...and I love my family's take on life and festivity.
Still in tune with my habits from home; I had a little Diwali celebration in my Sydney kitchen.
Milk and Coconut Burfi
1 cup fine grated fresh coconut
1 L milk
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp condensed milk
3-4 tbsp ghee (I omitted)
5 cardamom pods
Chopped almonds as garnish
Heat milk and cardamom in a large pot, take it off the stove and cover with lid for 30 minutes. SPoon out the pods. Return pot to stove and add the rest of the ingredients (leave out the almonds). Stir mixture over low heat for about 1-2 hours till mixture turns thick and sticky. Be careful to watch for the milk burning. Try using a pot with a thick base and stirring continuously. When lumpy and sticky, add in the ghee and cook for another 30 minutes. Dish out onto a greased mold/tray or layer with clingfilm (like I have done with mine). Top with almonds and allow to set overnight. Slice to serve.This recipe reminds me of a creamier and softer version of coconut candy I used make in Malaysia.
burfi is an Indian /Pakistani sweet made from condensed milk, cooked until it solidifies. Barfi is often flavoured with cashew, mango, pistachio and spices, and is sometimes served coated with a thin layer of actual silver. Visually, barfi sometimes resembles cheese, and may have a hint of cheese to it. For this reason, barfi is sometimes called "Indian cheese cake". Barfi is popular all over India and is often a part of Indian festivals (wikipedia)
Indian sweets are commonly eaten in small portions as they are meant to be very sweet and intensely rich. These gave me an immediate sugar rush with one mouthful! Haha; I still remember my first taste of Gulab was probably the sweetest thing I've eaten to date! *laughs*
Im visiting an Indian home for dinner to celebrate! *gets excited* Thanks heaps to Pinky's family for inviting Amrit and I over!


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