Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Diwali in Indonesia

The name Indonesia came from two Greek words: "Indos" meaning Indian and "Nesos" meaning islands. The majority of population in Indonesia follows Islam. Hindus constituent about 2% of Indonesia's total population. However, the Indonesian island of Bali is famous for celebrating the festival of Diwali, as a majority of the population here are Indians. It is one of the most revered festivals of the locals here. The celebration and rituals of the festival is mostly similar to that celebrated by their counterparts in India.

Delicacies are:

Indonesian food reflects the country's diverse cultures and traditions. In general, Indonesian food is rich in spices. The indigenous cooking techniques and ingredients have benefited from trade and influences originating in places as far away as India, China, the Middle East, and Europe.

Different regions in Indonesia offer different dishes. The Minangkabau region for instance, in West Sumatra, is represented all over the world for it's Padang style food (Padang is the capital city of West Sumatra). Padang style food is pretty spicy and in local restaurants it is being served by waiters who will put all of the earlier prepared dishes on your table and you only pay for the ones you have touched.

Indonesia is well known for its cuisine. Especially the rice table, that was actually an invention of the Dutch, back in colonial times, is very well known. It consists of a lot of different dishes, a bit like a buffet. Most of you know fried rice (nasi goreng), satay (or sateh in bahasa Indonesia) and maybe some of the Indonesian soups (soto). But ofcourse there is a lot more to the Indonesian cuisine.

Rice is a staple food for the majority of Indonesians. It holds an important place in the country's culture. It shapes the landscape, is served in most meals, and drives the economy. Plain rice is known as nasi putih. Often, it is accompanied by a few protein and vegetable side dishes. Rice is also served as ketupat (rice steamed in woven packets of coconut leaves), brem (rice wine), and nasi goreng (fried rice).

In the eastern part of Indonesia, however, corn, sago, cassava, and sweet potatoes are more common. Sago is a powdery starch made from processed pith, the soft and spongy cells found inside the trunk of the Sago Palm (Metroxylon sago). Sago is usually cooked as pancake and eaten with fish and vegetable side dishes.

As its endless coastlines are strategically located between two oceans, the country enjoys an abundance of salt-water fish and seafood. Its many lakes and rivers too provide fresh-water fish. Not surprisingly, fish is major source of protein for the people of Indonesia. Fish is usually smoked, grilled, baked, or cooked.

Next to meat and fish, Indonesians' other main source of protein is soy. Soy-based dishes such as tahu (tofu) and tempe are very popular in Indonesia. In fact, tempe is an adaptation of tofu to the tropical climate of Indonesia. It is uniquely Indonesian. Tempe is made through a controlled fermentation process that binds soybean into a cake form. The fermented soybean holds more protein, dietary fiber, and vitamins than regular tofu. Tempe is usually prepared by cutting it into small pieces, soaking it in a salty sauce and then frying it to a golden brown. Cooked tempe can be eaten alone or accompanied with chili.

Perhaps the most famous Indonesian condiment is called sambal. It is made from various spices including chili, shallots, garlic, and trasi (shrimp paste). It can be served either as a side dish or as a substitute for fresh chili. Sambal is often cooked with fish, vegetables, and meat. Some popular Indonesian sambal include sambal bajak, sambal balado, sambal belacan, and sambal tomat.

Fruit is also an important part of the Indonesian diet. Fruit is usually served fresh, made into dessert, jelly, or rujak (fruits mixed with savory sauce). Tropical fruits such as banana, papaya, coconut, pineapple, jackfruit, salak, and others are widely available throughout the islands. Seasonal fruits such as water melon, mangosteen, rambutan and durian are also available. Traditionally, the main meal is served at midday. Food that was cooked in the morning is set out all at once for the rest of the day. Members of the family then help themselves, serving with a spoon and eating with their right hands. Today, meals are eaten using modern utensils, usually a fork and a spoon. A soup or vegetable dish may be included in a meal. Sambal is often served with the food.

And one such recipe of fruit with jelly is Jakarta Delight, the recipe for which you can find on my earlier blogs.

Another recipe is:

Kroket Kentang - Potato Croquettes


2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 teaspoons water
2 cups breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons oil
2 bowls peeled potatoes, cooked and mashed
4 tablespoons powdered milk
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
4 chopped garlic cloves
10 shallots
2 stalk sliced celery
1 bowl cooked ground meat
2 diced carrots
water as needed
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons sweet soy sauce
4 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed with
2 teaspoons water


For Fillng:
Stir-fry garlic and shallots with a little butter or margarine.
Stir in meat, carrot and celery.
Then add water and the rest of the spices.
Mix in cornstarch and stir until mixture thickens.
Add a little bit of the above mixture to the center of a small round ball of mashed potato.
Cover the mixture and shape into a round ball.
Roll the finished ball into lightly whisked egg mixture and then roll onto the bread crumbs.
Deep fry in hot oil until lightly browned.

Khate raho!!!

Diwali in Malaysia...

In Malaysia...
Malaysia as a country is well known for its diversity. Among diverse culture of Malaysia, Diwali is celebrated in Malaysia by people of all races inhabiting there. Far away in another part of the world, even though Diwali Festival is not celebrated with all that pomp and gaiety, for Indians it is still a time to take a trip back the memory lane and enjoy the festival days spent back home in India celebrating the grand occasion. It is time to invite the Malays and Chinese to their houses. Its a public holiday in Malaysia and time to visit and pay homage to the elders. However crackers are banned in Malaysia.
The Hindu community of Malaysia constitutes about 8% of its total population. The community celebrates Diwali festival as a symbol of triumph of good over evil. The Malaysian people call Diwali as Hari Diwali. The south Indian tradition of oil bath precedes all the rituals of Diwali Festival. The Diwali celebration includes visits to temples and prayers at household altars. Diwali is celebrated almost all over the Malaysia except in Sarawak & Federal Territory of Labuan.
Delicacies are:

A meeting of cultures, a wealth of culinary delights... this is Malaysian Cuisine.

Cabbage in Coconut Gravy (Kubis Masak Lemak)

2 red chillies
4 shallots
2 cups water
1 cup shelled prawns
300 gms cabbage
2 cups thick coconut milk from 1 coconut
4 cups thin coconut milk from 1 coconut
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

Pound the red chillies and shallots. Place in a pan with thin coconut milk and bring to boil.

Add prawns and sliced cabbage. When the cabbage is tender, addd in the thick coconut milk.
Let the gravy boil once and lift from flame.
Serve hot with rice.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

The all time fav and very popular in India

Ingredients for  SATAY:

4 chicken breast fillets, cut into long thin strips

1 tbsp coriander seed and 2 tsp fennel seed (dry-fried and ground well)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 oiece lemongrass (two inches long), shredded

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Ingredients for PEANUT SAUCE

150g peanuts, fried/grilled and blended coarsely

1 tsp vegetable oil

2 shallots finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 or 2 chillies, seeded and finely chopped

1 piece shrimp paste (belacan) or 1 tbsp fish sauce

2 tbsp tamarind sauce

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tbsp honey

Prepare the marination. Add ground fennel and coriander to garlic, soy sauce, sugar, salt, turmeric, lemon grass, sesame oil and lemon juice in a wok. Heat up, slowly stir over the fire till it boils. Allow the mixture to cool, spread it over the chicken and leave in fridge for 8 hours.

Thread each chicken strip onto bamboo skewers. Arrange on a flat plate.
Prepare the peanut sauce. Fry onion, garlic and chillies in a wok. Add shrimp paste or fish sauce, coconut milk and honey. Simmer briefly. Add the peanuts.
Grill or barbecue the satay. Brush the chicken with a piece of lemon dipped in a mixture of oil and water.

Diwali in Nepal...

In Nepal...

Surrounded by majestic Himalayas, Nepal, is a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society and the only Hindu Kingdom of the world. Hindus in Nepal celebrate the Diwali festival with bright lights, gift exchanges, fireworks, and elaborate feasts to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of light and wealth. Various houses and shop front in Katmandu, Nepal, displays the bright lights typical of Hindu communities during Diwali.

Diwali is celebrated here with the usual Hindu festivities and rituals. Diwali in Nepal is known as Tihar. Just like most places in India Diwali is celebrated here to honor the goddess of wealth and god of prosperity-Lakshmi and Ganesh respectively. The festival here continues for five days. Every day has its special significance. The first day is dedicated to cows as they cook rice and feed the cows believing that goddess Lakshmi comes on cows. The second day is for Dogs as the Vahana of Bhairava. Preparation of delicious food especially meant for the dog is a typical characteristic of the day. Lights and lamps are lit to illuminate the entire surrounding and some of the specialty items are prepared to mark the third day of the festival. Fireworks, Lamps and crackers are widely used. The fourth day is dedicated to Yama, the Hindu God of Death. He is prayed for long life. The fifth final day is Bhhaya Dooj dedicated for the brothers who are wished long life and prosperity by their sisters.
Delicacies are:

Shikarni (Shrikhand in maharashtra)


200 gm of Yogurt

1 gm Saffron

5 gm Cinnamon

40 gm Sugar

5 gm Cardamom

5 gm Almond

3 gm Black Pepper


Tie yogurt in a muslin cloth and let all the water content drain off.

Mix the yogurt with sugar, powdered cinnamon, cardamom, cardamom, black pepper saffron and whip.

Strain the remaining moisture content with the muslin cloth and serve chilled topped with Almond or any other dry fruits.
Nepali Vegetable Momo


Dough for wrappers:
3 cup All-purpose flour
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
Pinch of salt

3 cups assorted vegetables (spinach, cauliflower, carrot, green peas, red pepper, green pepper), finely chopped
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup green onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon timur
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh red chilies, minced
1 cup cottage cheese (paneer), roughly crushed
2 tablespoon clarified butter
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1 tablespoon water-flour mixture (thickening agent)
Salt to taste

For Dough:
In a large bowl combine flour, oil, salt and water. Mix well, knead until the dough becomes homogeneous in texture, about 8-10 min. Cover and let stand for at least 30 min. Knead well again before staging the wrappers.

For Filling:
In a non-stick pan heat clarified butter, splitter fenugreek until it turns dark. Add chopped onions and sautee until just slightly light brown. Add turmeric, garlic, ginger, and chilies. Fry for 30 sec. Put vegetables and stir-fry until slightly soft. Do NOT over stir-fry the vegetables. Salt and pepper the vegetable mixture. Add cheese, green onions and cilantro, mix well. To solidify the vegetable mixture, add one tablespoon of flour-water mixture. Mix the mass over until thickened. Transfer the vegetable filling into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow cooling.

Put it together:
Give the dough a final knead. Prepare 1-in. dough balls. Take a ball, roll between your palms to spherical shape. Dust working board with dry flour. On the board gently flatten the ball with your palm to about 2-in circle. Make a few semi-flattened circles, cover with a bowl. Use a rolling pin to roll out each flattened circle into a wrapper.
For well excecuted MOMOs, it is essential that the middle portion of the wrapper be slightly thicker than the edges to ensure the structural integrity of dumplings during packing and steaming. Hold the edges of the semi-flattened dough with one hand and with the other hand begin rolling the edges of the dough out, swirling a bit at a time. Continue until the wrapper attains 3-in diameter circular shape. Repeat with the remaining few semi-flattened dough. Cover with bowl to prevent from drying.
For packing hold wrapper on one palm, put one tablespoon of the filling mixture and with the other hand bring all edges together to the center, making the pleats. Pinch and twist the pleats to ensure the absolute closure of the stuffed dumpling. This holds the key to good tasting, juicy dumplings.
Heat up a steamer, oil the steamer rack well. This is critical because it will prevent dumplings from sticking. Arrange uncooked MOMOs in the steamer. Close the lid, and allow steaming until the dumplings are cooked through, about 8-10 min. Take the dumplings off the steamer, and immediately serve.
To serve, arrange the cooked MOMOs on a plate dressed with an ample amount of hot tomato achar.

Diwali in Mauritius

In Mauritius...

Diwali is celebrated with great enthusiasm at Mauritius as this country have great Indian crowd. The Diwali celebrations at Mauritius is as good as in India. The festival of lights- Diwali is celebrated in October/November. Diwali marks the victory of Rama over Ravana and also commemorates Krishna's destruction of the demon Narakasuran. Earthen oil lamps are placed in front of every home turning the island into a fairyland of flickering lights.

Mauritius is a beautiful landmass full of picturesque landscapes and enchanting spots. Mauritius accounts a 63% of Indian majority of which 80% follow Hinduism. Hence, celebration of almost all the Hindu festivals in this island is a common phenomenon. In Mauritius, Diwali celebration is an age-old tradition. Beautiful rows of twinkling candles and lamps of all sorts are lit all over the island to celebrate the return of the hero of the Ramayana, Rama, from his 14 years of exile.

Besides celebrating the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, the little flickering lights also symbolize the beginning of summer. The main day of the festivities is seen as a particularly auspicious day for merchants to make up their accounts and balances for the previous year, to go unburdened into the next. After the morning prayers, Hindus share sweets prepared specially for the occasion with family members, neighbors and friends of any faith, in accordance with the multicultural spirit of Mauritius.

Delicacies prepared in Mauritus are:

The eating habits of the Mauritians inevitably reflect the ethnic diversity of its people: Creole rougailles, Indian curries, Muslim bryanis, Chinese sweet-and-sour pork, French delicate dishes, English bacon and eggs, ...... you name it, you'll get it there.

Basic ingredients of the Creole cuisine are the tomatoes (known as pommes d'amour), onions, ginger, garlic and chillies. Palm heart and Camarons (giant prawns), venison and wild boar are favourite items of French cuisine. Fresh fish and seafood set the keynote for Chinese cooking.

A yummy spicy tangy mango pickle

2 green mangoes
4 red chillies (sliced)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tea spoon white vinegar
1 small bowl of onion finely chopped
1 tea spoon mustard oil
1 tea spoon mustard seeds (for tadka)
1 tablespoon ginger garlic each of it crushed
and salt to taste

Grate the Mangoes and keep aside.
Mix turmeric powder with the vinegar and form a paste.
Heat the mustard oil in a pan (preferably kadhai), stir fry the red chillies, Mustard seeds, ginger, garlic and stir in the turmeric powder and vinegar paste.
Add onions and fry till golden brown.
Then add the grated mangoes and serve hot with parathas or nan or as a dip with samosas, etc.
You can cool and store this in fridge as well. Stays best for 7 days.

Gateau gigli rier is another nice recipe which you can read on my previous blogs.

Khate raho!!!

DIWALI - all over the WORLD!!!

India is a land of festivals and the country celebrates the maximum number of religious festivals in the world. This is primarily because of the presence of different religions and communities in the country. Every festival celebrated in India has a specific significance and is celebrated with great pomp and gaiety. India is pre-dominantly a Hindu country and a large number of Hindu festivals are celebrated across the nation. The largest Hindu festival is Diwali - the festival of lights.

The Sparkle of Diwali

Diwali festival in India is celebrated throughout the nation in different ways and patterns. However, there are certain rituals and traditions associated with Diwali that are commonly followed throughout the country. The festival is celebrated in the months of October or November and marks the defeat of evil Ravana at the hands of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The festival is celebrated for five consecutive days and also marks the end of Narkasura at the hands Lord Krishna. The festival is mainly celebrated to mark the end of the evil and disperse darkness and spread the light of peace, goodwill and knowledge. Diwali also consists of Lakshmi Puja, wherein Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of power, prosperity and wealth is worshipped. In most parts of the country, the five days of Diwali begin with Dhanatrayodashi or Dhanteras on the first day (auspicious for making purchases), Narkachaturdashi (when Lord Krishna killed the demon Narkasura), Lakshmi Puja, Varsha Pratipada or Padwa (beginning of a new year for the traders and businessmen) and Bhaiyyadooj (celebrates the brother-sister affection).
The growing ethnic and cultural diversity of Hindu religion throughout the world provides the opportunity to participate in the celebrations and rituals of Diwali festival that enhances the feelings of being part of a close-knit group of Indians. Most Diwali celebrations around the world focus on family and friends and it is a time to reflect on the past and envision for a future, perhaps, in a world where people live together in harmony.

Outside India also, as Diwali approaches, people clean their home to escape bad luck in the upcoming year and families gather for a feast and stay up late, celebrating with the help of crackers and sweets. They believe that the Hindu goddess of good luck visits homes that are brightly lit. Children make "diyas" which are small clay lamps to light and bring the good luck goddess to their home so they can receive new clothes and toys. One family may have many thousand of these little diyas decorating their home.

In my next blogs I will take you across those 17 countries wherein they celebrate DIWALI...
Happy Diwali

World Classics : JAKARTA DELIGHT



• Bananas

• Bread crumbs

• Sugar

• Coconut grated

• Nutmeg powder

• Cinnamon powder

• Orange jam syrup


• Cook bananas, sugar, coconut and bread crumbs till it gets just mixed.

• Add nutmeg powder and cinnamon powder.

• For serving put this mixture in a bowl and put orange syrup over it and serve hot!

Diwali in Guyana

Guyana, formerly known as British Guiana, is located on the northeast coast of South America. Guyana is 82,978 square miles in area and has a population of about 7,70,000. Hindus constitute 33% of Guyana's total population. The Co-operative Republic of Guyana in Southern America celebrates Diwali according to the Hindu Solar calendar. The day of the Diwali festival is declared as a national holiday in the official calendar of Guyana.

The tradition of celebrating the Diwali festival is believed to have been brought to Guyana in the year 1853 by the first indentured people from India. The legends related to the festival are similar to that of India. The celebration of the festival includes, distribution of sweets, illuminating the inside and out side of the house, exchange of greetings, cleaning of houses and wearing of new clothes. The celebrations hold special significance for the people of Guyana. The distribution of sweet signifies the importance of serving and sharing whereas exchange of greeting cards denotes the goodwill of each other. The sweets distributed mainly consist of mithai, pera, barfi, and kheer.

The tradition of wearing new cloth for the people of Guyana is significant especially in Diwali festival. They believe that wearing new cloth is the symbol of healthy souls in healthy bodies. Cleaning of their homes and keeping them well illuminated in and outside is a practice meant to illuminate the road for Goddess Lakshmi so that while goddess Lakshmi visits their home she faces no problem of light as the Diwali night is regarded as the darkest night of the year.

Delicacies are:



• 1 big bowl of sweet corn

• 2 strips of spring onion

• 1 big bowl of diced carrots, capsicum, potato, cabbage

• 2 cloves of Garlic

• 1 small bowl of vegetable stock

• Salt and pepper/ oregano to taste.

• Tortilla chips

• Cheese


• Blend in together the corn, and garlic together.

• Meanwhile make vegetable stock and while boiling the stock add the spring onion for flavor. (Remove before mixing it with the corn)

• Now mix the stalk with the corn chowder, and form a thick chowder.

• Saute the veggies and pour the stalk and corn chowder over it and let it cook for a while.

• Add salt and pepper / oregano to taste.

• Meanwhile bake the tortilla chips with cheese.

• While serving - pour this chowder in a flat soup dish and serve with tortilla and cheese.

Vermicelli Cake:
2 tbsp margarine or butter

1 pk vermicelli (280 g/ 10.oz)
5 cups milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup condensed milk
some crushed almonds (optional)

In a large pot, melt the margarine or butter over med heat

Add the vermicelli noodle and fry it until the majority of the noodles are light brown
Add the milk, vanilla extract and condensed milk to the noodles and bring to a boil over med heat
Once boiling, lower to low-med heat
Stir frequently, until it becomes a thick consistency
Once thickened, stir in almonds
Pour into a pan and let it sit for 1 hour to set
Cut into squares and serve