Thursday, October 22, 2009

Diwali in Singapore

One of the festivals that unite the people irrespective of their religion and nationality is Diwali in Singapore. Hindus celebrate the annual Festival of Lights - Diwali - with elaborate light and candle decorations, creating a beautiful spectacle as the night draws in. The festive atmosphere generates a feeling of joy and happiness and is to be felt and shared in Singapore. As a policy, crackers are not sold to avoid noise pollution and only sparklers can be bought.

To mark Deepavali- the Hindu festival of lights, "Little India" on Serangoon Road is decorated with lights, garlands and colorful arches. Today, Little India is the emotional and commercial center of the local Indian community. On Diwali day, children accompanied by parents will go to open area to light the sparklers since most of the people live in high-rise apartments.

There are more than 18 temples in Singapore and it is customary to offer prayers at the temples. The whole atmosphere provides a feeling of being at home and enables newcomers to easily integrate with the rest of the society. This reminds us of the Tamil proverb "Yaadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir" which means, 'every country is my own and all the people are my kinsmen.'

Delicacies are:
The ethnic diversity of the nation imparts a strong influence on the cuisines of Singapore. The cuisines of Singapore bear strong influence of the Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, and Indonesian delicacies. The western traditions can also be reflected in the Singaporean cuisines. In Singaporean hawker stores one can come across a Chinese chef experimenting with tamarind, turmeric and ghee, which bear strong influence with the Indian style of cooking.

Char Kway Teow - stir-fried rice noodles with shrimp

Oil -- 1/4 cup

Garlic, minced -- 2-3 cloves

Sambal oelek (chile paste) -- 1-2 tablespoons

Chinese sausages, sliced into rounds -- 1-2

Shrimp, peeled and deveined -- 1/2 bowl

Fresh rice noodles -- 1 bowl

Soy sauce -- 1/4 cup

Brown sugar -- 1 tablespoon

Eggs, beaten -- 2

Mung bean sprouts -- 1 cup

Scallions, chopped -- 3-4 each


Heat the oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed pot over high flame. Add the garlic and sambal oelek and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add the Chinese sausage and shrimp and stir fry until shrimp is almost cooked through.

Reduce heat to medium and stir in the rice noodles, tossing them to heat through. Scrape the bottom of wok or pot frequently to minimize sticking. Then stir in the soy sauce and brown sugar and stir in to season the noodles.

Scoop the noodles away from the center of the wok or pot and pour the beaten egg into the cleared space. Let the egg cook until just set, and then stir into the noodles.

Add the sprouts and scallions and continue to cook, tossing frequently, until the sprouts are just cooked through. Adjust seasoning and serve hot.

Khate Raho
Amrutha Langs

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