24 Oct 2022

Diwali - Significance, Food And Celebration

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Diwali is celebrated predominantly in India, but with immigration, exchange of cultures and the internet showcasing everything around the world in seconds, Diwali has now become a worldwide phenomenon. This season marks the onset of autumn and winter in India. It is also the time where families come together to celebrate, eat food, enjoy and burst crackers.

Significance Of Diwali

Diwali is the celebration of Lord Rama coming back to Ayodhya from an exile in the forest, after 14 years. Much like a lot of people,nowadays, who live away from home for work, studies and many other reasons and come back home for Diwali. It also signifies the win of Lord Rama over the demon King of Lanka Ravana whilst saving Sita from him. Diyas were lit and crackers burst to celebrate the same.

Sweets Eaten During This Celebration

Kaju Katli

Kaju Katli is loved by all

The famous and loved by all, Kaju Katli or Kaju Barfi is made from cashews, milk and sugar and shaped in the form of a diamond. You can make this at home quite quickly. Read on to know the ingredients and steps to make it! With Diwali comes a whole load of dry fruits, so what better way to use it than to make this crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole kaju (cashews) – 160 grams
  • ½ cup sugar – 100 grams sugar
  • 5 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp ghee/coconut oil/neutral tasting oil optional
  • 1 tsp saffron/rose optional

Steps

Powdered Cashews

  • Make a powder of cashews in a dry grinder/coffee grinder
  • Be careful not to make it pasty or let the oil release from the cashews

Making the Cashew dough

  • In a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai or a non-stick pan put the water and sugar, on low heat
  • Make sure that the sugar melts and does not caramelize. While the sugar dissolves, grease a plate or keep some butter paper ready
  • Once the sugar has dissolved, add the cashew powder and stir constantly. This should be done on a low flame only.
  • The mixture will thicken.
  • Cook this for 7-9 minutes until a dough is formed.

Making Kaju Katli

  • Move the dough from the pan to a surface that you will work on
  • Add the rose/saffron and the ghee/oil to the dough. Mix it with the help of a spatula/spoon since it is hot.
  • Once the dough is warm enough to touch, knead the dough, lightly
  • Place it on a lightly greased tray/surface. Place a butter paper over it and roll the dough, gently. The thickness should be 3-5 mm.
  • Remove the butter paper, once completely cooled, use a sharp knife and cut it in diamond shapes or whatever shape you like!
  • Remove it from the tray, gently, with the help of a butter knife.
  • Serve or store in an airtight container

Jalebi

Jalebi is world known and is a lovely combination of crispy and sweet.

Jalebi is yet another loved and favoured sweet that a lot of people eat and enjoy during Diwali. It is a deep fried, crispy, sweet, dough which is in a circular shape. It has many different versions in many different countries. And it is loved by people of all ages. It can be a bit tricky to make but hey it’s a festival and sometimes it’s good to put in some effort.

Ingredients

Jalebi Batter

  • 1 cup all purpose flour – 125 grams
  • 2 tbsp gram flour (besan)
  • ⅛ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch baking soda or ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 to 2 tbsp all purpose flour to add after the batter has fermented

Sugar Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar – 150 grams
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ tsp saffron strands
  • oil/ghee for frying

Making the Jalebi Batter

  • Take the all purpose flour, gram flour, baking soda and turmeric powder in a mixing bowl. Mix it all together with a spoon or spatula.
  • Add water to the dry ingredients. Depending on the quality of the flours, use water quantity, to make a flowing consistency.
  • Mix it with a spoon or spatula and if you find it lumpy use a whisk.
  • Whisk this batter, briskly for 4-5 minutes to make it smooth, lump free, adds volume and air.
  • Once you are happy with the flowing consistency. Leave the batter to ferment for 12 to 15 hours. Depending on the climate you live in. If it is cold, then you can leave it upto 24 hours. If it is hot, 6 to 10 hours should do the trick.
  • After the fermentation, you shall see pockets of air which will have a tangy taste to it.
  • Stir the batter, you will find the batter to be a bit thinner than before, add 1 to 2 tbsp of all purpose flour to thicken it and mix it well.
  • Once done with the above steps, you can put the batter in a tomato ketchup squeezy bottle to squeeze it out into circular shapes.

Sugar Syrup

  • Take 1 cup sugar in a pan. Add the saffron to it, gives it a nice flavour and a sunset orange colour.
  • Add ½ cup of water to it
  • Place the pan on a low flame and stir till the sugar dissolves.
  • Cook the sugar till you get a one string consistency. To check this, take some sugar syrup on a spoon, wait a few seconds and with an index finger pick up the sugar syrup and press it against your thumb. When you pull apart your fingers the sugar syrup should create a string. If it does, it means it’s time to turn off the flame.
  • Once it is off the flame, put ¼ tsp lemon juice in it. Keep it on the burner so it stays warm.

Frying Jalebis

  • In a kadhai heat oil or ghee or a half and half mixture. Ghee imparts a better flavour.
  • To check if it is hot enough, put a drop of batter inside it and if it cooks and floats up gradually it is ready to make jalebis.
  • Ideal temperature is 175 degree celsius.
  • Make concentric circles of the jalebis and be careful as the oil/ghee is hot.
  • Flip the jalebi after one side is cooked.
  • Be careful to not overcook it
  • Use tongs to flip and take them out of the oil/ghee.

Sugar syrup and jalebis

  • Once fried put the jalebis in the warm sugar syrup
  • 2 to 3 minutes on each side. 2 minutes gives a light yellow colour and 3 minutes gives a lovely orange colour.
  • Remove them from the syrup with the help of tongs. All of this is better done with some help otherwise you will multi-task.

These are great crowd pleasers and all of the ingredients can be bought online on Milkbasket. Enjoy your Diwali!

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