Diwali is the Hindu "Festival of Lights". It is one of the most popular and eagerly awaited festivals of India. It is a five day celebration which occurs on the fifteenth day of the Hindu month of Kartik. The word ''Diwali'' means "rows of lighted lamps". Diwali festival symbolizes the defeat of evil and the lamps are lit as a sign of hope for mankind.
In many parts of India, it is the homecoming of King Rama of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile in the forest. The people of Ayodhya welcomed Rama by lighting rows (avali) of lamps (deepa), thus its name, Deepavali. This word, in due course, became Diwali in Hindi. But, in South Indian languages, the word did not undergo any change, and hence the festival is called Deepavali in southern India. Southern India marks it as the day Lord Krishna defeated the demon Narakasura.
This time I am away from homeland and miss everyone during Diwali. Inspite of being away from home I have tried to celebrate Diwali with equal zeal and enthusiasm and following the same customs and traditions which are followed at my home back in Mumbai.
Diwali is the time, when Indians go for spring cleaning their homes, and decorating them with home decorative and new home furnishings. Buying new clothes and jewellary, making loads of Diwali goodies, visiting relatives and friends with Diwali gifts and bursting fire crackers.
Diwali starts with Vasu Baras, from this day we start lighting our houses with diyas and lights. We lit diyas everyday till Dev Diwali.
Next day is called ''Dhanteras'' or ''Dhanatrayodashi'' on this day we Gujaratis perform pooja of the 'Dhan' means wealth. And make sweets and savoury snacks as Naivedyam or Prasad. We buy new utensils and gold on this day.
Third day is called 'Kali Chaudash'. It is custom to make wadas on this day in gujaratis. We wake up early and have bath with scented oil.
The fourth day is called Laxmi Pooja or the day of the Diwali. On this day Goddess Laxmi and Ganesha are worshipped for auspicious beginning and for prosperity and well being. In Gujaratis businessman open their financial books from this day and they worship their Financial books called 'Chopada' and the pooja is called Chopada poojan.
The fifth day is New Year or Vikram Samvat for us, Gujaratis. The New Year of Gujaratis starts from this day. we get up early and wear new clothes and visit temple and visit our friends and relatives with Diwali Goodies and gifts and wish eachother ''Saal Mubarak''.
The Sixth day is celebrated as Bhaiduj, it brings together married sisters and brothers. On this day Married sisters decorates her house and make invite her brother over her place for food.
This year in London we visited Trafulgar Square, which is a huge place in Central London, last weekend. A cultural programme on eve of Diwali was organised by Mayor of London. He personally visited the place and innaugrated the festival occassion with Ganesh Pooja, it was followed by Garba and other dance performed by Indians from various parts of UK. Few Indian Celebrities were also invited. On the New Year day there is Chappan Bhog feast and fire carcker show at Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden, London. This temple is the biggest temple outside India.
The most significant things about Diwali are Lights and Goodies. The whole house is decorated with diyas and lights and loads of goodies are cooked before the onset of Diwali and during Diwali days. We Gujaratis make special Sweets and Savoury snacks for Diwali like Ghughra, Mathia, Kharkharia, Mohanthal, Magaj, Chakri, Chevdo, Sev, Gathia, Chorafadi.....the list is endless......besides the normal heavy food on these days. These are just accompaniments or are treated as snacks during Diwali in Gujarati Household. My mouth starts watering thinking about all these goodies.
Due lack of availability of Ingredients in UK, I decided to make two traditional Diwali goodies which we Gujaratis make during Diwali which is Ghughra or Karanji aka Gujjia and Mathia. There are yummy and delicious dishes coming up everyday as all the days of Diwali are celebrated at my place with zeal and vigour. Today's post is for my very own special Half moon sweet, Ghughra.
It is custom in our house to make Ghughra's which is known as Karanji in Maharashtra and Gujjia in Northern parts of India. The only difference in Ghughra or Karanji of western part of India to Gujjia or North India is the addition of Khoya / Mawa in the filling. In Gujjia Khoya is added, which is not added in Ghughra / Karanji to increase the shelf life of the Half moon sweet.
250g. Maida (All purpose flour)
3 tbs. Ghee
Pinch of salt
1/2 Cup of Cold Milk
1/2 Cup of Rawa (Semolina)
1/2 Cup fresh grated Coconut
1tbs. Poppy seeds
1 Cup of Caster Sugar
1 tbs of Cardamom Powder
1/2 tbs of Nutmeg Powder
1/2 Cup of Kishmish and chopped Almonds.
1/2 Cup Khoya / Mawa (Optional)
Oil / Ghee for frying
1. Take a deep vesssel, heat the vessel with 1 tbs of ghee. Add rawa (Semolina) and saute the rawa in the ghee till it turns golden or light brown in colour and you start getting smell of cooked rawa. Once the rawa is cooked remove it from the heat and transfer it in a bowl.
2. Add fresh grated coconut in the heated vessel and fry the coconut till they turn light brown. Dont add oil or ghee for frying as coconut will remove its own oil for the same. Once they are cooked transfer the coconut in the same bowl containing rawa mixture.
3. Now dry roast the poppy seeds and add them in the rawa and coconut mixture bowl. If using mawa or a khoya roast the same in a heated vessel and add it to the rawa mixture once done. Add caster sugar, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and dry fruits and allow it to cool for few minutes.
4. Now take maida, add 2 tbs of ghee, punch of salt and mix it with the maida. Add cold milk and knead a dough.
5. Now roll the maida dough in round shape and place the stuffing mixture in between.
Apply milk with the tip of your finger tips on the edges of the round shaped maida roti. Now seal the edges and give it a Half moon shape. Seal the edges carefully so that the stuffing does not come out while frying the Ghughras / Karanji / Gujjia.
6. In the end fry them in Ghee or oil. If you are not using khoya or mawa one can store them for 10 days in an air tight container.
Flower RangoliAs per the tradition I have made a simple Flower Rangoli near the entrance of my house.Due to lack of Rangoli colours I have used fresh flowers. Bought a flower bouquet and pluck all the petals of the flowers and made a Flower Rangoli.
Wishing All Happy Diwali and Prosperous New Year
The whole post is my entry for Priti's Diwali Celebration Event.