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Diwali

Happy Diwali! For those of you that don’t know what Diwali is- it’s the Indian Festival of light.

Every year round about Diwali time, in primary school, my teacher- Mrs Raj would read us the story of Rama and Sita.sita-ram-lakshaman

 

Once upon a time there was a great warrior, Prince Rama, who had a beautiful wife named Sita.

There was also a terrible demon king, Ravana. He had twenty arms and ten heads, and was feared throughout the land. He wanted to make Sita his wife, and one day he kidnapped her and took her away in his chariot. Clever Sita left a trail of her jewellery for Rama to follow.

Rama followed the trail of glittering jewellery until he met the monkey king, Hanuman, who became his friend and agreed to help find Sita. Messages were sent to all the monkeys in the world, and through them to all the bears, who set out to find Sita.

After a very long search, Hanuman found Sita imprisoned on an island. Rama’s army of monkeys and bears couldn’t reach the island, so they began to build a bridge. Soon all the animals of the world, large and small, came to help. When the bridge was built, they rushed across it and fought a mighty battle.

When Rama killed the evil Ravana with a magic arrow, the whole world rejoiced. Rama and Sita began their long journey back to their land, and everybody lit oil lamps to guide them on their way and welcome them back.

Ever since, people light lamps at Diwali to remember that light triumphs over dark and good triumphs over evil.

 

I get soooooooo happy hearing this story again. Makes me remember those days of sitting on the dusty parkay flooring in my Assembly Hall, cross legged on the floor. Ajay giving me the death stare warning me not to say a single word to him, as if we were strangers; even to this day he’s still like that!

I do get happy round about Diwali time as its pretty much about food. Dinnertime, we’d sit as a family on the dining table (where we only have Christmas dinner at). Mum will always make her speciality of chicken tikka, Kebabs and Chilli Paneer. And I would make my famous butter chicken and if I’m feeling adventurous I’d go all out with a few naans. As it is the festival of light its tradition to light candles around the house and leaving lights on, like the story mentions tea lights. And as soon as we’d get to my Gran’s after lighting a candle at the Guduwara (temple) we’d light fireworks and sparklers with my uncles and cousins. All of us kids running around the firecraker screaming like red Indians. Playing cards is a must in our house. The only rule is you have to play with pennies. Trust me, you feel like you’re balling when you put a few 50p coins on the table!

Every year the day after Diwali you’d come home realising you have 4 boxes of mithai from relatives. Mum will always be the first to open them up and pick out the best of them all, personally-Besan Laddhu. You know when you’re just about to sit down with a cup of tea and a few chocolate digestives- trust me sitting down with tea and mithai is like that and more!

Unfortunately I haven’t got around to making some treats to celebrate Diwali. But I guess that’s what Ambala is there for!

Again Happy Diwali everyone! xx

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Potato Croquets – Indian Style

I felt quite proud of myself for this little creation. So this is one of my “in the moment” recipes I made up as I went along on a Sunday after being asked to make dinner. Why I found this a struggle is because my Sundays have become ‘veggie Sunday’s’ for over 10 years in my house. We’re like vegans who can eat dairy products – only on Sunday’s! If it were more than once a week I think I would have died by now. Not like I’m a meat eating monster just that I love my sausages! This started as a religious thing, which everyone started getting tired of since we couldn’t understand how it was religious to not eat meat once a week. But now we’ve gone so used to it, we refuse to rebel against.

So Originally I made a plain butter sauce (which I keep meaning to share with you guys) with paneer but it looked a bit boring, so made a side accompaniment for the sauce. This is basically a citrusy mildly spicy mash in a crunchy/crispy batter. The idea came from my odd crave over mums crunchy pakoras and decided to try them my way!

fried croquets 2

Recipe:

Filling

2 Potatoes (cooked in the microwave like you would a jacket potato, 10 mins turnover, 10 mins again)
Juice of 1/4 lemon (fresh is best)
1/4 tsp of salt, or preferred taste
1/3 tsp Garam Masala
1 tbsp Dried Fenugreek

pinch of chilli powder

Pakora Batter

4 heaped tbsp of gram flour (chickpea flour)
1 heaped tbsp cornflour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds
pinch of chilli powder
enough water to make thick paste, 6 tbsp or more.

Instruction

  1. Place the Potatoes in the microwave for 10 mins. Once the microwave pings turn the potatoes and redo the process and then a further 2 mins. Leave to cool on the side.
  2. Once cooled down scoop out the potato and mash with a fork.
  3. add the lemon juice, salt and masala and mix
  4. Form 12 balls the size of a ping pong ball. Or just use a teaspoon to scoop.
  5. Leave in the fridge and put the oil on the hob. That probably doesn’t make sense so-pour enough sunflower/vegetable oil to make 1/4 to 1/3 of a small saucepan. Now leave that on medium heat. Definitely not high!
  6. Crack on with the batter meaning chuck all the dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly add enough water to make a thick batter (pancake batter consistency).
  7. Dunk a ball at time in the batter and use a clean tsp and place in the hot oil.
  8. Fry 3 at a time for 2-3 mins on each side or until really golden. Once finished all 12 leave in the oven on 150c until ready to eat, or just eat straight away.
  9. Serve with a raita (cucumber, red onion and yoghurt), chutney or like I did with a curry sauce.

The filling

Excuse the dirt on the plate. At least you know I made them!

fried croquets-square

Don’t judge the perfectly placed potatoes. I’m experimenting with the camera!

the butter sauce

And this is my Famous Butter Sauce. I will give you guys the recipe – Don’t worry I’m just still trying to perfect it, well note down exactly what I put in!

PS garam masala- you can find at supermarkets (surprisingly) BUT I will share with you guys our house recipe. Damn I got a lot to share with you!

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