The word "khana" in Indian Khana Made Easy means food. So come on, let's explore and cook some easy Indian food together including Gluten Free dishes.

November 6, 2010

!*!Diwali Dhoom Dham Se!*!

Wishing You & Your Family

A Very Happy Diwali 


On Friday we celebrated one of India's most important holidays called Diwali. For those of you who are not well versed in Indian festivals, I thought I would share some insight into our culture. The festival earned the tag line, "festival of lights" from its name. Diwali is a contraction of the word Deepavali which translates into row of lamps; specifically oil lamps made with clay called Diyas. These lamps are then placed outside every one's homes to light the night. They signify the triumph of good over evil.  It has a nice ring to it, don't you think. Every holiday has its own traditions that make it meaningful and fun. Another tradition is that everyone wears new clothes and shares sweets with all their friends and family.  So, of course I put on my best Indian clothes and prepared for the day's events.

This year we decided to have a potluck dinner and invited a few people over to celebrate the holiday. The day started with decorating the front porch with rangoli.
We do this on all holidays, as you might have remembered reading on my post about Ganesh Chaturthi. Rangoli is the traditional decorative folk art of India. There are competitions that are held to see who can come up with the most intricate and unique designs. If you don't take my word for it, just check out this website: http://www.theholidayspot.com/diwali/rangoli.htm

As night approached, we lit diyas as well. We would usually place them outside but it was a particularly windy day so we arranged them inside to be enjoyed by all.

Colorful Diyas
Another tradition is eating Pheni (fried vermicelli) with sugar and hot milk. It is the first thing everyone eats on Diwali as a way of breaking fast.  I love it because it's so simple and once you mix the ingredients together, it tastes like payasm (kheer)


Pheni with sugar
As for all parties, my mom and I pre-plan the dinner menu so we can shop for the ingredients and prepare for the big day. This year we made most of the dishes except for a couple so we had time to do other things. Phew!


We made the green mango and spinach dal, tangy tomato curry, daddojanam (yogurt rice) and green beans. My aunt made the vegetable biryani and the mixed veg raita. We also had a variety of sweets to choose from at the party (including the ones some guests brought). Along with the boxed sweets, we also served gulab jamun that we made from scratch.

The Diwali Dinner turned out great and everyone raved about the food. The best part about holiday parties are the leftovers.  

***Quick Tips:
- Pheni is available at most Indian grocers during the Diwali festival time. 
- An easy and non  alcoholic beverage for holiday parties is Cranberry Spritzer. All you need to do is combine (1) part cranberry juice and (1) part Sprite. It has a refreshing taste. 



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