Saturday, November 10, 2007

Away from home

Hi everyone

I am leaving for India on a long vacation. Will be back only this year end. I will try to blog during my stay in India or else will be able to post in only early next year.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Cashew Halwa

Milk - 4cups
Sugar - 1.5cups
Cashew paste - 1cup
Saffron - few strands
Ghee - 1/2cup or as per need

1. Dissolve the saffron in very little milk. Keep aside.
1. Boil milk and when the quantity comes to half, add the cashew paste, mix well and then the sugar. Mix well adding ghee now and then. Once it is like a mass, pour the saffron milk. Mix and stir continously. Remove from fire when the mixture leaves the sides. Transfer to serving bowl and decorate with cashews.

This is my submission for WYF Dessert/Sweet hosted by Hima of SnackoRama.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Deepavali - Festival of lights.


Diwali is one of the most enchanting festivals of India. Deepavali is celebrated by South Indians in remembrance of Naragasura, a demon who was killed by Lord Krishna, who in his death bed wanted a boon that people must celebrate his death anniversary happily with colorful lights and this occasion also commemorates the return of Lord Rama with his holy consort and brother from a war in which he vanquished the demon Ravana. The people of Ayodhya gave a rousing welcome to the divine hero Rama by lighting oil lamps along the way leading to the city. Deepavali symbolises good over evil.

North Indians celebrate Diwali as a symbol of the Festival of Lights. People from business community start their venture on this auspicious date. Different parts of people in India celebrate the festival in their own traditional way.

Staying away from India, makes me a bit lethargic in celebrating the festivals, but i make it a point to celebrate so that my children will get to know about them. I often explain to them as to how i would celebrate the festival when i was in India with my parents. My sister and I would eagerly wait for our Deepavali purchases which would be followed by a sumptuous dinner. Back home the day before deepavali i used to go to my uncle's house to eat steaming hot bajji's. Then late in the night, we used to apply mehandi for our hands and legs. My mother will apply turmeric and kumkum to our new dresses and keep them before GOD. The next day we will get up early in the morning around 4am, and my mother will make us sit in a manai (wooden plank) kept on top of a beautifully drawn kolum. She will then give betel leaves with pakku and a pinch of banana fruit. After that she will keep nalanku on my feet. Nalanku is a mixture made from turmeric and sunnambu with little water. This will be applied around the foot edges. After that heated oil (with pepper, turmeric and curry leaves) would be applied on our head, legs, hands and face. After bath we would get our new dressess from our parents who would have taken their bath and worn their new dresses before we do. We used to be extremely excited about who would light the first cracker. As a family we would go out, greet everyone nearby and burst crackers. Every year we used to buy the latest cracker that was launched in the market. We will ensure that our loved and dear ones are near us when we crack that special one and feel proud after bursting it. Later after the sun rise, we used to pray GOD following which my mother used to give us the specially prepared legiyam(it has medicinal value good for digestion since our taste buds would be hogging on foods rich in oil, sugar and ghee) and then distribute the sweets and savouries to our neighbours. We then go to our grandparents house where all our family members (my aunts, uncles, cousins) unite to have a sumptuous breakfast. My grandparents would give us each a new dress. After that we will burst crackers pooled by everyone. We then visit other relatives. Evening we again burst crackers and watch our favourite channels in TV.

But staying in singapore, i prepare simple sweets and savouries without much trouble, getup around 6am, have oil bath, wear new dress and visit our friends place or call them home for breakfast. The kids these days who stay abroad definitely miss the fun and frolic.

I prepared muruku with the flour that my mother sent me from India, sweet n nut bites and cashew halwa.

Sweet n Nut Bites
Cashew Halwa

In Singapore, there is a place by name Little India, where you can find shops filled with latest designs of fashion wear, crackers, decorative items, deepams, flowers, and one can get an experience of having mehandi in the hands in just 3-5minutes. You can get any items there for the Deepavali celebrations. The roads will be lit with colorful decorative lights. Every year there will be a theme for the decorations. There is a make-shift bazaar in front of the famous Mustafa Center, which sells are the items needed for Deepavali. There are shops selling exclusive artificial jewellary. People throng to such shops to buy matching bangles, earrings and necklaces.

This is my submission for Jihva Special Editon : 2007 hosted by vee of Past, Present and Me.