Last Friday was the start of Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, considered to be the most important Hindu holiday. If you didn’t already know, CT is Indian, so we went back out to NJ to celebrate with her parents. We started off with a small ceremony called Diwali Puja with candle lighting and some prayers. At the end, we each had some Halva. It is a sweet dish made with semolina, wheat flour, saffron, raisins, and nuts. It was quite good and not overly sweet, which was good for me.
CT says: You may also have seen or heard of Gajar Halva, made of carrots. I don’t really like that kind, so I was happy mom made this kind!
We then went to a local, makeshift, Hindu temple for a short service. It was my first time at a Hindu service. Very interesting. CT’s Mom gave me my own kurta, so I fit right in. 🙂
CT says: Unfortunately, the area we were in doesn’t have a real temple, so the community puts together a tented area for us to hold our services. It’s a nice idea and completely functional. Also, since we had a few other friends joining that evening, we couldn’t stay for the whole service, and Mom changed her dinner plans to include a few extra (non-vegetarian) dishes, contrary to tradition.
CT’s Mom started off the feast with some shrimp patties. She uses the food processor to grind up the shrimp, eggs, and some other things and then pan fries them. Served with some srichacha ketchup. I could eat a plateload of these. YUMMY! (Note to those food bloggers out there that complain about my vernacular; deal with it, hehe.)
CT says: These are one of my favorite starters. Not too heavy or filling before a large meal and something she just created off the top of her head! I wish I could do that!
Here is the Hari Chutney Cornish Game Hen all marinated and ready for the oven. CT’s parents are having a Tandoor built in their backyard, so I am sure that will be used to cook this in the future.
It was a truly special evening because CT’s parents made fresh poori. Mom made the dough and Dad did the frying. What a cute couple to work together like that! I am not sure my Dad even knows how to turn on the stove? These little dough balls puff up into a tasty bread. They are best eaten as soon as they are taken out of the oil, just be careful to not burn yourself.
CT said: I love pooris! Usually my family have made these as a brunch dish, and my sister and dad had a competition as to who can eat the most! However, I was definitely not complaining about having them for dinner. I love the way these puff up in the hot oil, and then you poke them to let our all the steam before gobbling down half a dozen or more! (Ok, I’ll admit, I had 8 that night and 2 the next morning.) I like to layer a little yogurt and whatever meat or potato dish is on the table, roll it up, and chomp down!
Here is Elsa watching patiently while the cooking is being done.
Onto the main dishes.
Potato with green beans. We have to get our greens somewhere, right?
Aloo Vada (potato with mashed lentils). This was super flavorful and great to eat with the hot poori.
Salad with cucumber, tomato, red onion and mooli (or daikon, a radish-like vegetable). I skipped on this since I needed room for more meat in my belly.
CT’s Mom always serves mirchi(hot peppers) on the side. She actually grew these herself outside in her garden. I skip on these as the dishes are already plenty spicy for me. CT & her Dad put these down like candy.
Why won’t anyone play with me? Because we are all too busy making food babies.
Cranberry Chutney. My aunt makes a similar recipe for Thanksgiving.
Gogni. Ground beef with chickpeas and a ton of spices. So good! Another great use for the poori to sop up all this deliciousness.
Rice with Jeera (cumin seeds). A good alternative to using the poori or if you want to load up on the carbs with both.
Here is a pile of all the fresh poori.
Here is the cooked Hari Chutney Game Hen. The marinade gave the hen a good kick. The meat was nice and tender. A nice spin on traditional roast chicken. Lucky for me I got some leftovers!
CT says: In the end, it was an extremely wonderful meal and evening with our family and friends. We may not always do things the most traditional way, but it’s our way and it brings us all together; and to me, that’s what makes it perfect! Thanks to Mom and Dad for another great home-coming (and the extra 5 pounds I left with!)
All in all, it was another great meal from CT’s Mom and Dad. What is not to like about home cooking? These dishes were the perfect comfort food for a crisp Fall night. Happy Diwali!