Diwali is the festival of lights which marks the victory of good over evil. This festival is celebrated by families in India and across the world alike. The festival has always held a special place in the hearts of Singaporeans and is still celebrated year after year with great enthusiasm. People transform their house into beacons of light and it is yet another reason for families to get together and celebrate. It is especially known for the fireworks, grand attire and the food.
The food associated with this festival mainly include Indian sweets which come in a variety of colours and flavours. Not to miss out, rich and savoury dishes are popular too! Although eating out is popular, most families prefer cooking and eating at home. Unlike the roast turkey which is made for the Christmas celebration, there is no particular traditional dish like that which is made by all families. Each family has their own favourite dish to make or one which has been passed down through generations.
Diwali celebrations are done in a grand scale in Singapore every year. It is about bright lights and great food. Little India is of course an Indian food haven and will be buzzing with people on that day. From chicken tikka to vegetarian fares, lots of Indian sweets and foods are for you to relish!
But of course, the festive Singaporean staple of pineapple tarts are a fixture in most households during Deepavali. Other than sweets, many other dishes are also made to celebrate the festival. Are you wondering what to make this year? Want some inspiration to create your family’s favourite dish with a little twist? Look out for the recipes below and start your planning to celebrate this auspicious day.
1. Chickpea Curry
Eat this for a starter! Packed with proteins and good taste, it is sure to make your family and guests mouth water and crave for more! It is really easy to make and can be tweaked to your preference. So, go ahead and try it out. It goes well on its own or it can be had as shown below if you are serving it for main course!
Chickpea Curry (Chana Masala)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic grated
- 1 tablespoon ginger grated
- 2 green chilies such as birds eye or chilies de arbol chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin toasted and ground
- 2 teaspoons coriander toasted and ground
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon amchoor powder optional
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 cups tomato diced or 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 19 ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- cilantro optional for garnish, chopped
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, chilies, cumin, coriander, cayenne, turmeric, amchoor, paprika and garam masala and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add the tomatoes, water and chickpeas and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
- Add the salt, garam masala and lemon juice and remove from heat.
2. Curried butternut squash samosas with tamarind chutney
It is a delicious small triangular fried Diwali snack which is loved by all! It is made during Diwali and served to guests (and enjoyed by all at home!) Add this to your menu to spice up the day and celebrate!
Curried butternut squash samosas with tamarind chutney
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. garam masala
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 cup seedless tamarind paste
- Sea salt to taste
- Sugar to taste
- 1 butternut squash about 1 1/2 lb.
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 Tbs. chopped white onion
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 Tbs. Madras curry powder
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 package 1 lb. square wonton wrappers
- Canola or rice bran oil for deep-frying
- To make the chutney, in a small, dry saucepan over medium heat, toast the cumin, garam masala and ginger, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 2 minutes.
- Break up the tamarind paste with your fingers and remove any extraneous seeds. Add the tamarind and 2 cups water to the pan and return to medium heat. Simmer the mixture, stirring and mashing the tamarind constantly, until reduced by one-half, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and sugar. Pour the chutney into a small bowl, let cool, cover and set aside at room temperature.
- To make the samosas, preheat an oven to 400°F.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. Place the halves, cut sides up, on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil. Bake the squash until tender when pierced with a knife, about 40 minutes. Let cool until easy to handle. Scoop the cooled squash flesh into a bowl and discard the shells.
- In a saucepan over medium-low heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the curry powder. Add the squash flesh and mash with a potato masher until almost smooth.
- Stir in the salt and sugar, then taste and adjust the seasonings.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork until blended. Lay about 5 wonton wrappers on a work surface; keep the remaining wrappers covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel. Spoon 1 scant Tbs. of the squash filling in the center of each wrapper and flatten with the bottom of the spoon.
- Brush the edges of the wrapper with the beaten egg. Fold each wrapper in half on the diagonal, forming a triangle, then press the edges together to seal the filling inside; set aside. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.
- Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels and place a wire rack on top. Pour canola oil into a heavy, high-sided skillet to a depth of 3 inches and warm over medium-high heat until very hot. Working in batches, add the samosas to the oil and fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 2 minutes on each side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the samosas to the rack to drain and keep warm in the oven.
- Cook the remaining samosas in the same way, adding oil to the pan as needed.
3. Besan Laddoo
This version here just needs your ingredients and a microwave! Doesn’t that sound really simple? Yes, of course! Laddoo is the most popular sweet amongst all Indians! Want to have laddoo made at home with the same great taste? Go ahead and try this out! Also, its gluten free! #mithai
Find the recipe on https://www.easycookingwithmolly.com/2016/04/microwave-besan-ladoo/
4. Indian Style Rice
Want to eat a different kind of rice? Bored of the same ones you have had so far? Then this one is just the one for you! So simple and healthy that you and your family will love it! Aromatic basmati rice. Cooked with onions, cinnamon, cardommom, chilli and turmeric, this dish will surely melt your heart!
Indian Style Rice
- 2 cups long-grain basmati rice
- 8 cups water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cloves
- 2 cardamom pods
- One 2-inch piece of cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil or ghee if you have it
- 1/2 teaspoon dark mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 3 chopped garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- Rinse and soak rice: Place rice in a sieve and run cool water through it to rinse it until the water runs clear. Soak the rice in cool water for 30 minutes. Drain.
- Boil rice with cloves, cardamom, cinnamon: Bring 8 cups of water and the salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the rice and stir. Add the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Taste the rice, and test if it is done to your taste; rice can take more or less time to cook depending on how old it is. If still too firm, cook a few minutes longer.
- Drain rice and rinse with cold water, remove spices: When the rice is cooked to your liking, drain the rice into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop if from cooking.
- Remove the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and discard. Set the rice aside to drain.
- Sauté mustard seeds, cumin, chili flakes, then onion: In a pan large enough to hold the rice, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and the chili flakes. Cook until the mustard seeds start popping, then add the onion. Sauté until the onion begins to brown, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add garlic, then rice and turmeric: Add the garlic and sauté another 2-3 minutes. Add the rice and mix well. Sprinkle the turmeric over the rice and mix well. Cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
Today, amidst our busy lives, we want to celebrate Deepavali but at the same time keep the preparations simple and spend more time relaxing and bonding. Gone are the days when we are willing to sacrifice the whole day in cooking. Here we have put together an idea of four simple items you can make this Deepavali: a starter, main course, snack and a sweet. Look through YoRipe’s app for more inspiration.
We wish you and your family a happy Deepavali!