Diwali or the Indian festival of lights is on October 26th. Many temples in Phoenix are celebrating this festival with prayers, lighting of candles and oil lamps and serving traditional sweets. Here are some places to go for Diwali celebrations. Also included are two recipes for traditional Diwali sweets that you can enjoy with family and friends. So Happy Diwali to all my readers!!!!
Places to go for Diwali:
1. Bharatiya Ekta Mandir: Ekta Mandir is having Diwali celebrations starting today October 25th till October 29th which includes Gowardhan puja and Bhaiya duj. They are also selling traditional sweets, coins etc for Diwali. For details visit the website http://www.ektamandirarizona.org/
2. Hindu Temple of Arizona: Hindu temple of Arizona is celebrating Diwali on October 26th. Apart from the traditional Laxmi puja during Diwali, they are also having Kali puja this year which is a Bengali tradition. Get more details from their flyer http://www.hindutempleaz.org/docs2011/october2011.pdf
3. Hare Krishna Temple: ISKCON of Phoenix is organizing their Diwali puja on October 26th from 6.30-9.30 PM. After the puja, mahaprasadam would be served to all. They would also have Gowardhan Puja on October 27th. See the flyer at for details http://www.azindia.com/UserFiles/Image/images/Oct11/ISK_Oct_2011.jpg
4. BAPS Swaminarayan Temple: BAPS temple in Mesa is also celebrating Diwali on October 26th followed by Annakut utsav on October 29th. The puja would be followed by dinner and fireworks. Special events are there for kids. See the flyer at http://www.azindia.com/display_events.aspx?ae_id=8722
Traditional sweets during Diwali:
Here are quick and easy recipes for two traditional Diwali sweets; coconut barfi and gujiya. The coconut barfi can be made in the microwave in less than 10 minutes. For the gujiya, I have used uncooked tortillas (from Costco) to make the wrapping so no need to knead flour.
Coconut Barfi (with nuts)
- ½ cup grated coconut
- ½ cup cashews or almonds
- 2½ tbsp milk powder
- 2 tbsp butter
- A few drops rose essence (gulab jal)
Grind the nuts along with the coconut with 1 tbsp water. Mix all the ingredients (except gulab jal) in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir and then microwave for five more minutes, stirring after every two minutes. Line a square pan with tin foil. Pour the hot mixture in the square pan and let it cool. When the sweet hardens a bit, cut into squares or diamonds. Serve after sprinkling dry coconut powder, pista powder and gulab jal on the top.
To make a traditional gujiya from scratch see the recipe at http://knotmove.com/indian-food-in-phoenix/gujiyas-half-moon-pies-for-festivals
- ½ cup semolina (sooji)
- ½ cup grated coconut or khoya
- 1 tbsp ghee
- 1 tbsp milk powder
- ¼ cup chopped almonds
- ¼ cup raisins
- 1 cup sugar
- 4-6 uncooked flour tortillas (from Costco)
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 cup dense sugar syrup
Heat ghee in a karai and fry the sooji till light brown. Next add the coconut or khoya, milk powder, almonds, raisins and sugar and stir till the mixture is stickly. Form oblong shaped balls and keep aside. Use a medium bowl to cut circles from the tortillas (you would get about 3 circles per tortilla). Now put one oblong sweet ball in the centre of a circle. Fold it to form a half moon (like an empanada). Use a little wet flour to seal the edges. Crimp the edges with a fork so that the seal does not open while frying. Now heat the cooking oil in a wok and fry each gujiya on a low heat till it is golden in color. Drain on paper towels. When all the gujiyas have been fried, heat the sugar syrup in a pan till it is almost evaporating. Toss the gujiyas in this syrup so that it forms a sugar coating on the top. Dry on a wire rack and store in airtight containers.