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he word "Divali" is a variation of the Sanskrit word "Deepavali" - Deepa meaning light and Avali, meaning a row. Deepavali dates back to ancient times in India, as a festival to celebrate the summer harvest in the Hindu calendar month of Kartika. Note of this festival is made in Sanskrit scriptures such as the Padma Purana, the Skanda Purana dating back to the second half of 1st millennium AD. These scriptures are actually expansions from a core


Divali Origins

text from an even earlier era. The holiday is still celebrated in India and across the world on Amaavasya, that is, the fifteenth night of the dark fortnight of the month of Kaartik (October/ November). Nowadays, Divali is known as “The Festival of Lights” around the globe. Hence, the prevalence of rows of lit deyas in homes and public spaces at Diva-

li. After all, the word is a derivative of Deepavali which means “row of lights.” This is fitting as the actual holiday date chosen is the darkest day of the Kaartik period. Apart from the chronological history, there are various legends pointing to the origin of the festival. Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman to Ayodhya from his fourteen year exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. In Bengal, the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali, the dark goddess of strength. Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also wor-

shiped in most Hindu homes on this day. The victory of Krishna over Narakasura is also another legend associated with the celebration. Many historians who seek to separate from the actual acknowledgement of deities themselves, point to yet another story. They posit that Swami Dayananda Saraswati, that leonine sanyasin who was one of the first to light the torch of Hindu Renaissance during the last century, passed into Eternity on this day. The lights kindled on this day also mark the attempt of their followers to immortalize his sacred memories. Whatever the true origin is, the spirit of the festival remains the same. It is the overarching acknowledgement that Divali celebrates the victory of good over evil and knowledge over darkness. Hope we illuminated you a bit.

Celebrating Five Days of the Festival Through Customs


any non-Hindus do not know that Divali is actually a five-day festival. However, there is a lot that goes on for the celebrating community. For instance, the Lakshmi Puja is an important part of the festival. This pujan is carried out by households and especially by the business community in India. It is also considered New Years by business people; so much so that new accounts are opened on this day after the ritual of praying to the Goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. This Hindu deity represents prosperity, wealth and good fortune. Here are some more activities that take place during the five days of the festival. Day 1: The first day of Diwali is known as 'Dhanteras'. People renovate, decorate their houses and workplaces on this day and make traditional 'Rangoli' mo-

ananda Saraswati, the great saint who gave rise to Hindu Renaissance, also left the mortal world on this day. On this day, people wear new clothes and share gifts and sweets with their friends and relatives. Women prepare delicacies and the whole house is illuminated with 'deyas' and candles. Fireworks and crackers are the kids' favorites on this day.

tifs on the entrance, to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. Lamps and candles are lit throughout the night. It is considered auspicious to buy gold and silver on this day. Many people opt for buying new utensils on this day. In Maharashtra, offerings of lightly pounded dry coriander seeds with jaggery are made to the Goddess. Rural people revere their cattle on this day and cows are considered especially auspicious. Day 2: On second day, people take baths before sunrise; anoint themselves with oil and 'Ubtan'

(scrub made up of gram flour and fragrant powders). Bengalis believe that Goddess Kali killed the demon Raktavija on this day. A general custom followed during the second day of Diwali is to burst crackers. People illuminate their homes with deyas to set the mood for celebrations on the following day.

Day 4: On the 4th day is the 'Govardhan-Puja' or 'Annakoot'. In the temples of Mathura and Nathadwara, the deities are bathed with milk and adorned with precious clothes and ornaments. Then offerings of a large variety of delicacies are made to them.

Day 3: The third day is the main day of the Diwali festival. Jains have their own religious significance of the day, because they believe that Lord Mahavir attained 'Nirvana' (or Eternal Bliss) on the day. Swami Day-

Day 5: The 5th day or the last day of this festival is called ' Bhai Duj '. On this day, sisters invite their brothers and their family to their homes and treat them with delicacies. In turn, brothers offer them gifts and sweets. 2015 ABSTRACT DIVALI





ADM: What does Divali represent for you? SM: It’s a celebration of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance. We ask for the grace of God through our female deity Mother Lakshmi. This is our time of renewal of vows and ambitions. It’s a time of reflection or stocktaking in addition to the festivities attached to the day.

Divali, but it was never recorded as such. However, in 1966 it became a public holiday. All religions participate. NonHindus participate as well and even stop eating meats prior to the day in solidarity. The price of vegetables goes up as well. This means that we are all one people and as such we share in each other’s joy, sorrow and achievements. I even celebrate Christmas. We are a unique society. I spent 14 years in London, but Trinidad and Tobago is my home. I want to spend my last day at the bank of the Caroni river.

atnarayan ‘Sat’ Maharaj C.M. is without doubt one of the most popular religious leaders in Trinidad and Tobago. He is arguably the most famous Hindu religious leader in the Caribbean and his impact on local culture and education is also immense. He is the Secretary General of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha, the major Hindu organization in our twin island. As such, he heads an organization that runs over 200 institutions across the country including scores of mandirs and schools. Among his many achievements is the revival of the observance of Phagwa in T&T, the formation of Radio Jaagriti 102.7FM and the championing of the creation of Indian Arrival Day celebrations locally. Mr. Maharaj was awarded the Chaconia Medal (Gold) – The country’s 2nd highest awardfor long and meritorious service to promote national welfare or community spirit. Abstract Divali Magazine had the privilege of catching up with him for a brief interview detailing his plans for this year’s festival and wishes for the Hindu community and country at large.

ADM: What makes Divali special to you? SM: When my ancestors arrived in 1845 that would have been our first celebration of 2


ADM: How do you celebrate Divali? SM: This is a day for family. It’s spent at home soaking deyas. We invite the Gods to come into our homes. Mother Lakshmi would visit and bless our households. This year Radio Jaagriti would host a live programme at 5:00pm with a Pundit showing persons how to perform the Puja, prepare the altar and also instructions on how to offer as offerings. ADM: What is your wish for your fellow Hindus this year?

SM: I want to wish them all the best from Mother Lakshmi, happiness in life and excellence for your children in their exams. All the best wishes that one would want for themselves, I want that for them also. ADM: How do you want the wider nation to celebrate Divali? SM: Respect the occasion of joy and continued participation from non-Hindus. I appreciate that they invade the roti shops and wear traditional eastern garments. It’s their way of identifying.




his is undoubtedly the biggest occasion of the Hindu calendar in Trinbago, but despite all the press, sales and more that are affiliated with the event, not too many people know the full history of Divali celebrations. Do you really pay attention to your pundit? Also, do you take time to study the history of this special occurrence? This quick quiz will test your knowledge. It is especially good for the kids to try.

1. For how many days is Divali celebrated according to the lunar Hindu Calendar? A. 3 days B. 4 days C. 5 days D. 6 days 2. In Divali celebration what is celebrated on the first day? A. Govardhan B. Dhan Teras C. Yama Dvitiya. D. Narak Chaturdashi 4

mous saints? A. Buddha & Jesus B. Guru Nanak & Prophet C. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu & Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa D. Vardhamana Mahavira & Swami Dayananda Saraswati

3. In Divali celebration what is celebrated on the last day? A. Dhan Teras B. Narak Chaturdashi C. Govardhan D. Yama Dvitiya 4. What type of oil is traditionally used in oil lamps lit during Deepavali? A. Olive Oil B. Vegetable Oil C. Corn Oil D. Mustard Oil 5. Which Hindu month is


Divali observed in? A. Ashvin B. Kartik C. Sravana D. Chaitra

8. Who is supposed to be the husband of Goddess Lakshmi? A. Lord Shiva B. Lord Vishnu C. Lord Brahma D. Lord Indra

6. What is Divali also known as? A. Festival of Gifts B. Festival of Sweets C. Festival of Lights D. Festival of Fireworks

Answers 1 = C. 5 days 2 = B. Dhan Teras 3 = D. Yama Dvitiya 4 = D. Mustard Oil 5 = A. Ashvin 6 = C. Festival of Lights 7 = D. Vardhamana Mahavira & Swami Dayananda Saraswati 8 = B. Lord Vishnu

7. Divali commemorates the spiritual enlightenment of which two fa-

We hope you enjoyed this quiz and you didn’t get too many incorrect. Have a blessed Divali.


Four Fine Places To Experience Divali Locally


ast approaching is the festival of lights, otherwise known as Divali. This auspicious holiday signifies the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, justice over injustice and intelligence over ignorance. Although it is a Hindu festival, with Trinidad and Tobago being a multicultural and multi-religious society, people of all denominations observe it. Therefore if you’re looking to experience the festival of lights this year, we suggest you visit any of these locations listed below. The Divali Nagar –This can be described as the hub of the Divali celebrations. It attracts many people from across the country and hosts a yagna, which is a formal event two weeks before Divali. This is followed one week later by a thematic exhibition on Hindu religious and cultural traditions, staged cultural programs 6

first district that pioneered the large-scale communal celebrations of the festival of lights, as was noted by Morton Klass, an anthropologist who lived in the area in the 1950s. Today, the Felicity celebrations are heavily electrified as powerful fireworks light the sky and bamboo frames with lit deyas are on display.

and a commercial section that caters mainly to shopping. It was held for the first time at the present site in Chaguanas in 1991 and since then, the Nagar has gathered widespread interest throughout Trinidad, the Caribbean and North America. This is according to the National Council of Indian Culture official Mr. Deokinanan Sharma. Felicity – Located in the Caroni Plain which borders the Gulf of Paria in Central Trinidad, Felicity is said to be the


Patna Village – The annual celebration often consists of bamboo frames of all shapes and designs for the lit deyas as well as various cultural acts. The village is known to have some of the most creative bamboo bending in the country. Thousands of people flock to the village to participate in the celebration. Some opt for lighting of the deyas while others choose to look on. Either way it provides the perfect opportunity for a family outing. Dow Village – This village is famous for its annual play, which takes place several weeks

before the festival and which is based on a portion of the Ramayan - a Hindu text - called Ramleela. This live play chronicles the activity of Lord Ram (an incarnation of the Hindu God - Vishnu) as he rescues his wife, Sita, from the clutches of Ravana. On the day of the festival, deyas are lit along the street in bamboo arches. Similar to the locations mentioned above, Dow Village’s celebration also draws crowds from well beyond the village. Each location, though unique in its celebrations, delivers an enchanting and cultural experience each year as they celebrate the festival of lights. One can expect to see exquisite bamboo art and sample the tasty food and sweets that are often provided at these villages. For those who have never experienced the festival of lights, visiting any one of the locations mentioned above guarantees a true cultural experience.


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Decorating Ideas To Sharpen Up Your Shack


he festival is upon us so lots of us will be in decorating or at least planning mode. If you need some help with your décor, these tips should help you conquer your qualms. Divali is the festival of light so brightening your house and making it feel lighter should be a major priority. We know actual lights will achieve this, but it can also be done by creatively using paint. We know some people who paint their entire houses for the occasion, but you can save big bucks by choosing to paint a single wall in each room or even paint selected rooms in different colours. Target specific areas to be painted and strategically brighten up the dark corners of your room with a fresh new color. Try festive reds, oranges and maroons or go wild with your own palettes. Stencil paint on a focal wall to add great texture and give your room a makeover without bursting your pocket seams. Like we said previously, it’s all about light. However, this 8

does not mean just putting on every light in the house. There are clever ways to illuminate your abode with lights. The use of deyas is the most common. The way you set up the deyas in patterns on the floor or along walls and bannisters is itself a decorating tool. However, you can boost the effect of decorating with deyas by actually adorning the deyas themselves. Paint, glitter or stickers can be used on the outside of your deyas to spruce them up. You can even use decorative candles. There are a lot of materials you can use to make your own candles, from orange peels and salt dough to even egg shells. Be creative with your candle design. For example you can melt the wax, pour it into seashell, replace the wick and let it cool for an innovative and interesting décor trick. If you want to, you can go the more modern route and use electric lights for a similar effect. A Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Toran is another great decorating option. Torans, also known


as buntings, are usually placed at the entrance of a house to welcome the guests and set the festive tone. These can be made in the traditional way with coconut or mango leaves, but there is no shortage of alternatives to be had in today’s market. Plastic, cardboard, paper and more can be shaped, painted and modified in sundry ways to achieve the desired effect. While houses are left spic and span and are decorated inside, outdoor decorating is given just as much attention at Divali. One great way of decorating your driveway or courtyard is to use ornate rangoli designs. These are normally placed at the front of the house to welcome Lakshmi Mata (the Goddess of Wealth) to homes. If you aren’t familiar with what rangoli is, it is those pretty geometric patterns prepared on the floor with colored sawdust, chalk, flour or rice. This type of decoration really allows for creativity and you can do elaborate designs or simple ones which do just as well, to enhance your

home. A simple way to employ the use of rangoli is to soak rice in different colors overnight and sun dry them the next morning. Then trace a design with wet chalk and simply fill in the colored rice. Whether it is for weddings, religious ceremonies or graduations, no one can deny the potential of decorating using flowers. They add life and vibrancy to any surroundings and some even add a wonderful, welcome fragrance. We live in a tropical country, so gathering flowers should not be that difficult. However, if you can’t pick them yourself, flower shops aren’t far in any direction. Purchase flowers in dozens- the choicest being roses, lilies or jasmines and string them into garlands. It will lend a spiritual enchantment to the puja. There are also fake flowers being sold in ready-made garlands as well. You can also place them in more traditional formats such as vases, pen-stands, glasses or almost anything that would enhance the beauty of your house.




hristmas isn’t the only holiday that has us hassled over a house cleaning. Divali is also traditionally a big time for putting your place in order. After all, you cannot welcome the Goddess into an abode that isn’t worthy. Here are some quick holiday house-cleaning tips. Clutter and cleaning go hand in hand. However, they aren’t bosom buddies. Clutter is the cause for lots of cleaning issues. To avoid clutter and make cleaning easier follow the six-month rule. The rule of the game is to keep only what you have used in the past six months. What you have not touched in the last six months just goes out of the window. You could use them as a donation, give them to the needy or sell them online. Keep the formal outfits, old saris, shoes etcetera in a proper place in a proper manner. Clean ceiling fans every 2-3 months so that the speed of the fan doesn't reduce and the brightness of the lights is not di-

minished. Standing fans should be cleaned every month especially if you leave your windows open a lot. (Speaking of windows, before Lakshmi Puja, you have to clean the windows and doors of the house.) Make sure to clean the lights and fans with a dry piece of cloth to prevent getting an electric shock. We briefly spoke about windows before, but it is important to never clean windows and fans first. The dirt and dust raised when sweeping and dusting rests on the windows and grills very easily. Clean the rest of the house first and when you are done clean grills with soapy solution and wipe with a dry cloth to finish the cleaning task. A lot of people opt for new curtains and even new furniture at festive occasions in Trinidad and Tobago. However, it is more frugal to clean what you already own and reuse them for certain occasions. Your linens, curtains and sofa covers should be washed with very mild detergent, dried and ironed (if necessary).

Kitchen cleaning is going to be one of the most important cleaning processes at Divali. Everyone knows how big food is at Divali so a super clean kitchen is a must. These processes need not be too hard because most of the stuff in your kitchen can be cleaned using basic detergents and cleansers. Start by cleaning the racks and boxes in the kitchen, followed by kitchenware, dishes, bowls and everything else. You can even make your own cleaner to aid in the process. Mix equal parts vinegar and soap water to make your own cleanser that is especially good for use on kitchen tiles. Use it to rub stains off of walls as well. Similarly, you may use it to clean the cabinets, exhaust fans, floors etc. Look out for evidence of pest eggs and nests and treat with it either professionally or on your own before the problem escalates. While kitchen cleaning is indeed important, the most pristine area of your home is the pooja room. Make sure the ‘Mandir’ is free of oil stains, as

oil tends to spill when lighting the lamp. Also remove dried out flowers or remains of incense sticks from the Mandir. For a finishing touch, clean all the silverware to keep a shiny and sparkly appearance. To clean silverware, boil some water. Add half a meter of aluminum foil, some soda and washing powder. Immerse the utensils and allow the water to simmer for a while. Remove from the container and wash. Bonus Tip If you use cakes of soap to take a bath / shower, there comes a time when they become very small and you might not want to use it anymore. Keep storing those soap bits and put them into old socks and tie with a fancy ribbon. You could use this by dipping the sock into water and rubbing on dirty areas. They are especially effective if you want to clean some stubborn dirty places like kitchen shelves or fans. These are very effective and they are soft on your skin. 2015 ABSTRACT DIVALI


Sensational Saree Styles A simple saree is enhanced with the use of basic floral print.


This stylish saree speaks of sophistication and class. 2015 ABSTRACT DIVALI



This beautiful blue saree stands out because of its simplicity and unique texture.



A cornucopia of colours makes this saree stand out.


Add some glamour to your festival couture with this purpletinged piece. 2015 ABSTRACT DIVALI


This bellybaring number is an attractive piece favoured by active wearers.


Even the most demure woman can look ravishing in red.




The intricacies in pattern and colour make this saree special. 2015 ABSTRACT DIVALI


Shubh Divali to

The deyas lit each year are symbols of a guiding light in our lives; a light that purifies, strengthens and forever triumphs over darkness. Today, RBC celebrates the glory of these victories, especially with the Hindu community of Trinidad and Tobago. Shubh Divali to YOU from RBC Royal Bank™

It’s All About You


Make Your Divali Decor Dainty

Use lights to make the landscape lavish. Create entryway bling for your visitors. 2015 ABSTRACT DIVALI



Decorate and re-sculpt your diyas for a fine finishing touch.




Artfully infuse light using colour instead of lights. 2015 ABSTRACT DIVALI



Enhance your interior with exotic Indian rugs, drapes and accessories.





Delightful Divali Dishes

or Hindus, Divali is undoubtedly a spiritual celebration. However, the rest of Trinidad and Tobago generally acknowledges the festival for the amazing decorative lighting displays and of course the FOOD. Cuisine is a big part of the celebration here and loads of vegetarian delicacies - both savoury and sweet - are made available to friends, family and visitors to Hindu homes on the day. Here are some recipes you may have the privilege to enjoy or even make yourself in time for the Divali period.


Ingredients 1/2 cup dry split peas 4-5 garlic cloves 2 wiri wiri pepper or 1/2 red scotch bonnet (I didn't have either so I used a tbsp of hot pepper sauce) 22

1/4 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp curry powder 1/2 tsp garam masala 1/2 tsp geera (ground cumin) 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp yeast 1 tsp baking powder 3/4 cup flour Oil for frying Directions In a bowl soak dry split peas with about 1 1/2 cups of water. Leave this overnight. By morning the peas will double in size. The next morning, drain the water from the peas. In a blender, put peas, garlic and pepper or pepper sauce, and enough water to cover the peas and blend on high till smooth. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. Now add all of the dry spices and mix till they are incorporated. Add baking powder, yeast, and flour. Mix thoroughly.


Cover the batter and let it sit for 1-2 hours. Heat oil in frying pan, Dropping the batter into the oil: This is tricky, you can do this with two spoons, but your pholourie balls will not come out as round as you would like. Grab some batter in your hand and turn your fist upside down so that the batter falls through your thumb and pointer finger. When you drop the batter into the oil, it should immediately pop up, if it doesn't then your oil is not hot enough. Turn the pholourie balls while they are frying so that they can brown evenly. Continue this process until all your batter is used up.


Ingredients 12-15 baby potatoes ¾ cup or 1 cup hung yogurt ½ tsp garam masala powder

½ tbsp garlic ginger paste ½ tsp red chili powder ½ tsp coriander powder 1 tsp kasuri methi leaves/dry fenugreek leaves 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional) Salt as required Oil as required Directions Rinse the baby potatoes well. Do not peel them. Parboil these in a pan or pressure cooker for 1-2 whistles and halve them. Mix everything with the yogurt except oil. Marinate the baby potatoes with the yogurt mixture and keep for 1 hour in the fridge. Grease a pan or tray and bake the potatoes with some oil drizzled for 25-30 minutes for 180 degrees C. Sprinkle some salt, masala and lemon juice or lemon slices on the potatoes. Serve tandoori aloo hot with some mint chutney.



Ingredients 1 cup uncooked wild rice 1/4 cup butter 1 onion, chopped 2 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms 1/2 cup chopped celery 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 6 cups vegetable broth 2 cups half-and-half 2/3 cup dry sherry 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp white pepper 1/2 tsp curry powder 1/2 tsp dry mustard 1/2 tsp paprika 1/2 tsp dried chervil 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, for garnish Directions In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes. Heat butter in a large saucepan


over medium heat. Saute onion until golden brown; add mushrooms and celery. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly. Gradually add broth; increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and add cooked rice, half and half, sherry, salt, white pepper, curry powder, dry mustard, paprika and chervil. Simmer until heated through. Serve hot and garnish with parsley.


Ingredients 4 mangos - peeled, seeded and diced 4 avocados - peeled, pitted and diced 2 tbsp. minced red onion 2 tbsp. spoons fresh lime juice 1 tsp curry powder


Directions Toss together the mango, avocado, onion, lime juice, and curry powder in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.


Ingredients 4 large red bell peppers, halved 2 tbsp. vegetable oil 1 large onion, chopped (2 cups) 4 tsp. curry powder 1 tbsp. garam masala 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger 1 cup basmati rice ¼ cup red lentils, rinsed and drained ½ tsp. salt 1½ cups cooked chickpeas or 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 2 large carrots, finely diced (1 cup) 1 cup green beans, coarsely chopped ½ cup raisins or dried currants,

optional ½ cup unsalted peanuts or cashews, coarsely chopped Directions Preheat oven to 350°F. Place halved bell peppers cut side down in two large baking dishes. Cover with foil, and bake 25 minutes, or until peppers begin to soften. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Add curry powder, garam masala, and ginger, and cook 1 minute. Stir in rice, lentils, salt, and 4 cups water. Add chickpeas, carrots, green beans, and raisins (if using). Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed, stirring once or twice. Remove rice mixture from heat, stir in peanuts, and season with salt, if desired.

DIVALI DELIGHTS Flip bell pepper halves. Fill each with 3/4 cup rice mixture. Recover baking dishes, and bake 15 minutes. Uncover, and bake 5 to 10 minutes more.

1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 4 cups chopped patchoi


Directions Remove white parts of green onions, and finely chop. Chop greens into 2 inch pieces. In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, mix coconut milk, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, brown sugar, curry powder, ginger, and chile paste. Bring to a boil. Stir tofu, tomatoes, yellow pepper, mushrooms, and finely chopped green onions into the skillet. Cover, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in basil and bok choy. Season with salt and remaining soy sauce. Continue cooking 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender but crisp. Garnish with remaining green onion.

Ingredients 1 cup long-grain rice 2 1/2 cups water Salt to taste 2 tbsps vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped 1 tbsp cumin seeds 5 black peppercorns 1 bay leaf 1 tsp white sugar 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 1 pinch ground cloves

Directions Wash rice well and soak in 2 1/2 cups salted water for 30 min. Heat oil in a heavy or nonstick pan. Add onions and fry till dark brown. Drain onions and set aside, but reserve the oil. In the same oil, stir fry cumin, peppercorns, and bay leaf for a few seconds. Drain rice reserving the water and add the rice to the frying pan. Add sugar, stir gently, fry till rice is light brown. Add clove-cinnamon powder, stir. Add salt water (previously drained) and bring to a boil. Simmer covered until rice is the cooked and the water evaporates. Rice should not be sticky when finished. Spoon the onions on top to serve.


Ingredients 2 bunches green onions 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk 1/4 cup soy sauce, divided 1/2 tsp. brown sugar 1 1/2 tsps. curry powder 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger 2 tsps. chile paste 1 lb firm tofu, cut into 3/4 inch cubes 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped


Stir peas, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and cream into the skillet. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro to serve.

stir onion until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add ginger paste and garlic paste. Continue to cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Stir cashews, ground red chilies, cumin, coriander, and garam masala into onion mixture. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir tomato sauce, half-andhalf, milk, sugar, and salt into spice mixture; simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add fried paneer and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes more.



Ingredients 1 1/2 tbsps vegetable oil 1 small onion, diced 1 tsp minced fresh ginger root 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 potatoes, cubed 4 carrots, cubed 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced 3 tbsps ground unsalted cashews 1 (4 ounce) can tomato sauce 2 tsps salt 1 1/2 tbsps curry powder 1 cup frozen green peas 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped 1 cup heavy cream

Ingredients 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 lb paneer (Cottage Cheese), cut into 1/2-inch cubes 2 tbsps butter 2 onions, finely chopped 1 tsp ginger paste 1 tsp garlic paste 1 tbsp ground cashews 1 tsp ground red chilies 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp ground coriander 1/2 tsp garam masala 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce 1/2 cup half-and-half 1/2 cup milk 1/2 tsp white sugar ½ tsp salt

Directions Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, and cook until tender. Mix in ginger and garlic, and continue cooking 1 minute. Mix potatoes, carrots, jalapeno, cashews, and tomato sauce. Season with salt and curry powder. Cook and stir 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

Directions Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; fry paneer in 2 batches until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer fried paneer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, retaining vegetable oil in skillet. Melt butter in the same skillet over medium heat; cook and

Ingredients 1 eggplant 2 tbsps vegetable oil 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 1 medium onion, sliced 1 tsp chopped fresh ginger 1 large tomato - peeled, seeded and diced 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 tsp ground turmeric 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1/2 tsp ground coriander 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste ground black pepper to taste 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro Directions Preheat the oven's broiler. Rub oil on the outside of the eggplant, or coat with cooking spray. Place under the broiler, and cook until the flesh is soft and the skin is blistering off, about 30 minutes. Turn as needed for even cooking. Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise, and scoop the flesh out of the skin. Discard the skin; chop up the flesh, and set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the cumin seeds, and let them crackle for a few seconds and turn golden brown. Be careful not to burn them. Add the onion, ginger and garlic; cook 2015 ABSTRACT DIVALI



and stir until tender. Don't let the onions get very brown. Stir in the tomato, and season with turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Cook and stir for a few minutes. Place the eggplant pieces in the skillet, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes so some of the moisture evaporates. Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired. Garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve.

CURRIED POPCORN Ingredients 3 tbsp coconut oil 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1/4 tsp ground turmeric 1/4 tsp curry powder 1/4 tsp cumin 2 dashes hot sauce 1 gallon popped popcorn

Directions Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir in the garlic, turmeric, curry powder, and cumin; keep over heat 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 minute more. Add the hot sauce and pour over the popcorn. Serve immediately.

COCONUT BURFI Ingredients 1 cup grated coconut 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar 2 tsp ghee 1/4 tsp Cardamom

Directions In a non-stick pan, add sugar and just enough water (approximately 1/2 cup) to cover the sugar and boil it. When the sugar water starts boiling, add cardamom powder, ghee and the grated coconut. Simmer and cook stirring often, till the coconut mixture starts foaming and leaves the sides of the pan. Take a small mixture and if you are able to make a ball out of it, switch off the flames. Pour it on the greased tray or plate. After it cools a little, cut it into desired shapes. Leave it to cool completely. After that take the pieces gently and store them in an air tight container.


Ingredients 2 heaping cups grated beetroot ¾ cup sugar 2 cups milk ¼ tsp cardamom powder 10 Almonds 7-10 Cashew nuts 1/4 cup ghee Unsweetened Khoa - 100 grams (optional) Directions In the same pan, heat a tbsp of ghee, add grated beetroot and fry on low heat until the raw smell goes.

Then add 2 cups of milk and cook the beetroot on low flame, stirring in between. Cook till the beetroot becomes soft and all the milk evaporates. Then add sugar, khoa and cook till sugar dissolves and gets mixed well with the beetroot. Add cardamom powder, remaining ghee and cook stirring for a few more seconds on low heat. Garnish with cashew nuts, almonds and mix well. Serve hot or warm. Note -Khoa is prepared by boiling milk in a heavy bottomed pan on low flames until it is thickened. Boil 2 cups of milk on low flames until it thickened. Khoa is also available ready made. Khoa is added just to give richness to the halwa and it is totally optional.


Ingredients 1 lb. flour 1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup shortening 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder 1 tsp ginger powder 1 tsp ginger 1/2 cup water 1 cup sugar Directions Sift the flour, then add the cinnamon powder and ginger powder. Add the shortening and

butter in cubes. Gradually add water and mix to form a firm dough. Cut the dough evenly and roll into balls. Dust a surface with flour and roll out each ball until the dough is about 1/4″ thick. Then Cut the rolled dough into 3″ long strips. Fry strips in oil first on a low flame until crispy. Then raise the fire. Fry until golden brown and remove. Place on napkins or brown paper to drain excess oil. Drop the grated ginger in 1/2 cup of boiled water. Add the sugar and stir occasionally until a thick syrup is made. Pour syrup over kurma and mix quickly to glaze the kurma. Set aside to cool before serving. 2015 ABSTRACT DIVALI




Ingredients 2 cups channa flour (besan) 1 cup clarified butter (ghee) 1 cup white sugar, or to taste 2 tsps finely chopped pistachio nuts 1 tsp finely chopped cashews Directions Stir the channa flour and clarified butter together in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the mixture smells toasty, about 10 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Stir in the sugar, pistachios, and cashews until evenly mixed. Form the mixture into small balls the size of large cherries.


Use some pressure when forming the balls so they don't come apart.


Ingredients 1 cup dry milk powder 3 tbsps all-purpose flour 2 tbsps ghee (clarified butter), melted 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 cup warm milk 1 tbsp chopped almonds (optional) 1 tbsp chopped pistachio nuts (optional) 1 tbsp golden raisins (optional) 1 pinch ground cardamom 1 quart vegetable oil for deep frying 1 1/4 cups white sugar


7 fluid ounces water 1 tsp rose water Directions In a large bowl, stir together the milk powder, flour, baking powder, and cardamom. Stir in the almonds, pistachios and golden raisins. Mix in the melted ghee, then pour in the milk, and continue to mix until well blended. Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. In a large skillet, stir together the sugar, water, rose water and a pinch of cardamom. Bring to a boil, and simmer for just a minute. Set aside. Fill a large heavy skillet halfway with oil. Heat over medium heat for at least 5 minutes. Knead the

dough, and form into about 20 small balls. Reduce the heat of the oil to low, and fry the balls in one or two batches. After about 5 minutes, they will start to float, and expand to twice their original size, but the color will not change much. After the jamun float, increase the heat to medium, and turn them frequently until light golden. Remove from the oil to paper towels using a slotted spoon, and allow to cool. Drain on paper towels and allow to cool slightly. Place the balls into the skillet with the syrup. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, squeezing them gently to soak up the syrup. Serve immediately, or chill.

Abstract Divali Is Published By Abstract Media Group, Premium Commercial Complex, San Juan, Trinidad, W.I. • Tel: (868) 638 1156/9 • Fax: (868) 638 1160. Printed By The Office Authority - Printing Division And Distributed By AMG

Abstract Divali Volume 1Issue 1  
Abstract Divali Volume 1Issue 1  

In this issue: Drum up your Deepavali decor Delightful Divali Recipes An Interview with Sat Maharaj Explore Festival Origins