Neeta's blog - Happy Diwali
Diwali is known as the festival of light. It is a time where Hindu, Sikhs, and other religions celebrate light overcoming darkness. It is celebrated over five days, although the preparation usually starts a couple of weeks before. It is the only time of the year, in our house where homemade biscuits are an acceptable breakfast!
This year Diwali was very different from previous years. A 'normal' Diwali would be a packed few days, including visiting the temple, seeing a firework display, making enough food to feed a small army, dressing up in a new sari or outfit for the ladies, and a day of people visiting our home and us visiting our family's houses. I come from a large family, with my dad being one of eight children, so it would be an all-day affair. By the end of the day, we are normally exhausted and overfed but would go home feeling content and, in my little girl's case, with some extra pennies for the money box.
This year we still made Diwali food, including biscuits, Chakri (savoury wheels), and Indian sweets; however, instead of house calls, we did a Zoom call so we could still 'see' the family. We still lit our divas and created our rangoli patterns. We still ate too much, and my little girl still managed to convince her grandad that she needed some coins for her moneybox.
Diwali is about family and celebrating togetherness, so whilst it was harder this year, and we could not meet our families like we would have done in previous years, we still managed to virtually celebrate and welcome the light into our homes.
Below is one of my favourite recipes that we make and enjoy eating whilst celebrating Diwali.
Spiced Chocolate Barfi
200mls double cream
200gms milk powder
50gms unsalted butter
20gms crystallised ginger roughly chopped
1 ½ tsp ground cardamom powder
400gms condensed milk
120gms cocoa powder
2 tbsp chopped pistachios
Line a flat dish with parchment paper. In a bowl, mix together the cream and milk powder to a thick lumpy dough-like consistency and set aside. Heat the butter in a non-stick saucepan. Add the ginger pieces and sauté for 30 seconds, followed by the cardamom powder. Stir, keeping the heat on low, and add the condensed milk along with the cocoa powder. Mix them well until the cocoa powder has dissolved to make a runny chocolatey liquid.
At this stage, add the cream and milk powder mixture. Stir to make sure there are no lumps. It will look like a solid mass, but as you keep stirring, it will smoothen up and start to leave the sides of the pan. Once it starts to leave the sides of the pan, pour it into a flat dish.
With your fingers, lightly spread out the Barfi mix evenly into the dish and top with the chopped pistachios pressing into the Barfi. Cool and set in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares and serve.