Updated: Feb 19
Hi Zameen Family,
Wishing you and your loves a Happy Diwali! I hope the light in your life shines brighter than any darkness that you are confronting.
As a child in the US, Diwali was always about food and envelopes of money. Yes, my dad's family had a tradition, similar to Chinese New Year, where we bowed and touched our elders' feet. In Gujarati, it's called pugalag, which roughly translates to touching feet. In return, they gave us white envelopes of odd amounts of money. Odd numbers are considered more auspicious in the Hindu tradition.
Back to the food. Mummy, my Grandmother, and Aunt would slave away in the kitchen, making a full spread from puris to special curries called undhiyu and, of course, batata vada (a spiced mash potato fritter covered in chickpea batter and then fried). Life doesn't get better than Dadima's tomato chutney and batata vada.
The Hindu Holiday season ends with Diwali. There were so many treats that my family would make around Diwali to celebrate everything from Krishna's birth, Janmashtami, to Navaratri's celebration, the celebration of Durga. As an Indian American child, I had always undervalued the sweets that Mummy would prepare. I prefer chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and brownies over any Indian desert. As an adult, I realize how much nutrition and love there was in the sweets that Mummy made for us.
One of my least favorite dishes was kheer (Indian rice pudding), but that changed when I lived in the village. Even in 2009, resources were scarce in the village. Most villagers didn't have access to fancy ingredients, so they made kheer, which only requires a couple of ingredients, milk, rice, sugar, and the optional - spice. Check out my kheer recipe on our blog.
I love cinnamon toast crunch cereal milk, so I added a dash of Zameen’s sweet and peppery cinnamon to my kheer to give it a kick. It’s a great way to celebrate the end of this challenging year.
Again, sending you all love, light, and peace!
Honor the Zameen (Earth),