Colorful sweets, savory snacks and spicy foods are sizzling in the kitchen on the occasion of the upcoming Diwali festival.
Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali marks the triumph of light over darkness, or good over evil, and is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. Diwali is also a time to gather with loved ones in the kitchen, where friends and family cook, gossip and try delicious recipes together.
London, Ontario 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 spend time in the kitchen preparing their favorite snacks like pink coconut laddus, sweet barfis and crispy chakri swirls.
In Indian cuisine, recipes are more of a guide than a rule, as you learn to cook using “andaaz”: how to measure by eye and create dishes based on texture, aroma and flavor.
“We can tell you the ingredients, but we can’t tell you ‘one teaspoon of this’ and ‘two teaspoons of that,'” Patel said. “It’s always like everyone is making rough estimates.”
Soni’s kitchen counter is already filled with more than a dozen homemade Gujarati snacks that the three of them made together. They still have to start preparing the appetizers and main dishes.
“We cook together, we have fun together, we make memories, we share recipes,” Patel said.