Colourful sweets, savoury snacks and spicy foods are sizzling in the kitchen for the upcoming Diwali festival.
Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali marks the triumph of light over darkness, or goodness over evil, and is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Diwali is also a time to get together with loved ones in the kitchen, where friends and families cook, gossip and taste-test delicious recipes together.
London, Ont., women Paloumi Patel, Mayuri Gangdev and Meena Soni are refined cooks in their families who began learning traditional Gujarati recipes in their pre-teens.
With Diwali less than a week away, they are spending time in the kitchen cooking favourite snacks like pink coconut laddus, sweet barfis and crunchy chakri swirls.
In Indian cuisine, recipes are more of a guide than a rule as cooking is learned using “andaaz” — how to eyeball measurements and create dishes based on texture, scent and taste.
“We can tell you the ingredients but we cannot tell you ‘one teaspoon full of this’ and ‘two teaspoons full of that’,” said Patel. “It’s always like everyone just throws in approximates.”
Soni’s kitchen counter is already laden with over a dozen homemade Gujarati snacks the three made together. They have yet to start preparing the appetizers and main dishes.
“We cook together, we have fun together, we create memories, we share recipes with each other,” said Patel.