Deepavali – The name itself conjures up memories of early morning oil baths, new clothes, sweets and savouries, families getting together to celebrate the occasion of the vanquishing of good over evil.Deepavali as a festival signifies, the conquest of light over darkness.To Hindus, darkness represents ignorance, and light is a metaphor for knowledge. Therefore, lighting a lamp symbolizes the destruction, through knowledge, of all negative forces- wickedness, violence, lust, anger, envy, greed, bigotry, fear, injustice, oppression and suffering.
Most of the best clothes that I have had all through my childhood would be bought for Deepavali. Many times, we would buy this over the Navarathri holidays and get it stiched and it would be most exciting to feel the fabric of silk through my fingers and wait for the big day with anticipation and longing!!! My grandmother would get up very early and have her oil bath and apply oil for all of us grandkids. This practise signifies “Ganga Snan” or a holy dip in the Ganges. She would then give us the new clothes which we would gleefully adorn after getting her blessings. The kids would run outside to burst crackers. New clothes would be worn and Deepavali Sweets would be eaten by one and all.Some of the sweets and savouries that we make at home for Deepavali are listed here.
Gulab Jamuns should probably be one of the most popular and easy to make sweets with the current variety of mixes and fast fix instructions. There are a myraid of brands which offer the Gulab Jamun mixes, like Orkay, MTR, Gits, Ashirwaad etc. Some how my favourite has always been Orkay and Gits. Since Gits is more easily available in the U.S, its a sweet I make in a jiffy.
Diwali during my student days was always a flurry of activities like making Mixture, Ribbon Pakoda, Laddoo, Badam Halwa, and Gulab Jamuns amoung other things. Making the jamuns was some thing that amma would leave entirely to me….At that time Archana Sweets in T.Nagar, became very popular and introduced the Kala Jamun. I guess it was a variant of the regular jamuns, only denser in taste and not dripping in sugar syrup. Mom would buy it for us and we would enjoy it at home, nevertheless, there is a particular joy in partaking of sweets borne of out one`s one labour and preparation.
This week was my husband`s birthday and my daughter wanted me to make it for him. ….Secretly I knew, she wanted to have it so I immediately indulged her in this sweet temptation. This goes to those novices who are out there, trying this for the first time….Enjoy!!!
Gits Gulab Jamun Mix.
1 spoon sour cream.
3 spoons of water.
1 1/2 cup of sugar dissolved in 2 cups of water.
Pinch of Rose Essence.
Pinch of Cardamom Powder.
The secret of this sweet is in the mixing of the dough. Empty contents of packet in to a bowl. Mostly the instructions are to measure out the amount of powder and use 1/4`th of that quantity of water. In this case, all you need to use is a spoon of sour cream or thick yoghurt and then 2-3 spoons of water.
Make the dough in to a thick ball and keep covered for 10 minutes.
Now grease your palm and make little balls and set aside covered.
Meanwhile dissolve the sugar in the water and place it on the stove .
Add rose water, cardamom powder and allow to boil for about ten minutes and switch off.
Meanwhile add sufficient oil in a kadai and allow to the oil to heat well.
Slowly roll in the gulab jamun balls and aloow to fry the balls in oil.
Now set the fried jamuns in a little bowl for them to cool off for a few seconds.
Slowly add the fried jamuns in to the rose syrup and allow it to soak before serving it to your guests.
Makes 20 gulab jamuns.
Serving Suggestion based on popular demand!!! – Hot Jamuns with Vanilla Ice Cream….Oh yes! and let the fun times begin!!!