Recipes To Celebrate Diwali

Diwali,  the five day Festival of Lights  which began yesterday, November 3rd, is one of the most important festivals of the year for Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. Also known as Divali, both are contractions of Deepavali, or “row of lights;” referring to the ceremony in which small oil or ghee lamps called “diyas” are lit, representing the triumph of Good over Evil.  The lights are kept on during the five days, and the house is cleaned in order to welcome Lakshmi, wife of Vishnu and the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity (including spiritual wealth as well)  and the embodiment of Beauty.

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The five days of Diwali are characterized by family celebrations complete with ceremonial dance and embellished with traditional sweet and savoury food, and celebrations all across the world, and of course Toronto, are now gearing up.

For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. For Jains, Diwali marks the attainment of moksha or nirvana by Mahavira in 527 BC.[7][8] For Sikhs, Diwali is particularly important because it celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind, and 52 other princes with him, in 1619.[9] Arya Samajists, celebrate this day as Death Anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati. They also celebrate this day asShardiya Nav-Shasyeshti.- Wikipedia

rangoli

Over the next five days, Hindi households will be lighting the traditional lamps, setting off fireworks, and creating rangoli on their floors, the beautiful and intricate colourful designs made of brightly coloured powder or sand. And their will be food; the delicious aroma of dishes like Palak Paneer or Chicken Korma being only two of the dishes so popular during this time.

If you celebrate Diwali, these recipes need no introduction, but if you are new to Indian Cuisine, you might want to try both of these amazing dishes sometime during the following week, and wish your Hindi friends a “Happy Diwali:” Diwali ki Shubhkamnayein.

(recipes and photographs courtesy of  Dairy Farmers of Canada)

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Palak Paneer

Using a pack of frozen spinach makes this a breeze to prepare and the dish comes together easily in no time. This pairs beautifully with a side of warmed naan and some plain Basmati rice.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 tbsp (30 mL) butter

1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) ground coriander

½ tsp (2 mL) chili powder

½ tsp (2 mL) ground cumin

1 package (300 g) frozen spinach, thawed and pureed

½ cup (125 mL) plain yogurt whisked until smooth

Salt to taste

12 oz (350 g) paneer, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups/500 mL)

 

Steps

  1. In a large, deep non-stick skillet, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat until butter melts. Add onions and garlic; sauté about 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in coriander, chili powder and cumin; sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant; stirring well to prevent the spices from burning.
  2. Stir in pureed spinach, yogurt and salt; reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 8 to12 minutes or until it starts to bubble. Stir in paneer; cook covered for 5 to 6 minutes or until paneer softens and is cooked through. Give it a final stir and serve warm.
  3. Frozen spinach works best while cooking dishes like this, which require a reasonable amount of it in pureed form. To use fresh spinach, chop 6 to 7 cups (1.50 to 1.75 L) and steam until wilted; puree.

korma

Chicken Korma

This dish is a simple and quick variation to the classic restaurant favorite Palak Paneer. Using a pack of frozen spinach makes this a breeze to prepare and the dish comes together easily in no time. This pairs beautifully with a side of warm naans or some plain Basmati rice.

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 tbsp (30 mL) butter

1 tbsp (15 mL) vegetable oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) ground coriander

½ tsp (2 mL) chili powder

½ tsp (2 mL) ground cumin

1 package (300 g) frozen spinach, thawed and pureed

½ cup (125 mL) plain yogurt whisked until smooth

Salt to taste

12 oz (350 g) paneer, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 2 cups/500 mL)

Steps

  1. In a large, deep non-stick skillet, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat until butter melts. Add onions and garlic; sauté about 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in coriander, chili powder and cumin; sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant; stirring well to prevent the spices from burning.
  2. Stir in pureed spinach, yogurt and salt; reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 8 to12 minutes or until it starts to bubble. Stir in paneer; cook covered for 5 to 6 minutes or until paneer softens and is cooked through. Give it a final stir and serve warm.

 

 

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