Diwali- Festival of Lights or sweets

Diwali- Festival of Lights or sweets

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When there are celebrations, what we Indians typically do?  We make and gift sweets. Diwali is the festival of lights, crackers and sweets. Diwali is synonyms with mithai or sweets.Days before the festival, the women in the family used to start preparing traditional sweets and savories. It is a custom to exchange sweets with friends and neighbors on Diwali.  Very few women go to all that trouble these days. When I was in a joint family, I used to make a lot of sweets, but now the interest has waned as there is no one to eat.But now my daughter is here and I made Gulab Jamun and her favorite snacks.

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I like Gulab Jamun (fried balls in sugar syrup) and I usually buy a ready-to-make mix from the store and then make them. Only the flour is available and making the dough, then balls and then frying them is not that easy. The syrup too has to be the right consistency.

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Diwali means festival of lights and is observed all over India on Amavasya, the last day of the dark half of the lunar month of Kartika (October-November). Like other festivals in India, Diwali has been celebrated since time immemorial. For the Hindus, it is also an occasion for the worship of Laksmi, the goddess of good fortune, beauty and wealth. Among the Sikhs, Diwali came to have special significance from the day the town of Amritsar was illuminated on the return to it of Guru Hargobind (1595-1644) who had been held captive in the Fort at Gwalior under the orders of the Mughal emperor, Jahangir (1570-1627) Amritsar still attracts vast numbers of Sikhs for the festival and all Gurdwaras and Sikh homes are generally illuminated on Diwali night, but the best and the most expensive display of lights and fireworks takes place at the Golden Temple, Amritsar.

It is hard to imagine celebrating Diwali without sweets, so I made Gulab Jamun and got some Besan Ladoo for the prasad (.religious offering to God)

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Gulab Jamun Recipe

Gits ready Mix

1 cup water

1 tbsp flour

For the syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

2 cardamoms crushed

Oil for frying

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Method

Buy a ready mix Gulab Jamun. Open the packet and put the contents through a sieve. Add 1 tbsp of flour to the powder so that the Gulab Jamuns do not become overly soft. Knead the flour lightly till it’s pliant and soft. Cover with a wet muslin cloth and keep aside for five minutes. Make sugar syrup with 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and once the water starts boiling, add a spoon of milk. This makes all the scum float on top. Remove the scum. Now make small smooth balls with the dough and deep fry till they are golden brown. Remove the balls from the fire and drop them into the golden syrup.

Keep aside for some time and see the Gulab Jamuns swell with the syrup.

I usually decorate one corner with flowers and oil lamps and then I offer prasad to God.  I soak all my silver coins in milk and put a saffron mark on them. I have silver coins which are more than a century old.After the prayers. I light the lamps and distribute the Prasad. The big lamp in the picture will be lighted till morning, which is a good sign.I did the same today but didn’t go for an elaborate design.I just made an Ek Onkar symbol with flowers.It means there is only one god!Diwali is said to be the victory of good over evil and the lights denote the end of darkness and the gaining of knowledge.

These drool-worthy, easy to make, Gulab Jamuns soaked in sugar syrup are alluring, soft and sweetly luscious.

Happy Diwali !

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