I am not sure how many of you had the same feelings, but even though I tried my best, I could not get into a Diwali mood this year. For me, Diwali means my dad bring out his colored light bulbs & akashgud/akash butti and tie them neatly on our front porch. Then in the evenings, we would light up small candles or oil lamps on the porch- ‘jaglee‘. Dad also bought us many crackers which we would burn after sunset. It used to be so much fun. For my brother and me, Diwali always signified this fun more than any special kind of food. Yes, we had followed many rituals like udak bharche, abhyanjana snana, gopooja, lakshmi pooja etc – but these were all moderately celebrated so that we loved being part of these.
When I was in India, even though I could not visit my parents every year during my college days, I got into Diwali mood around this time because of all the festivities going around. I still remember one year when I was alone in Bangalore and feeling bored. I sat in our apartment balcony watching all the fireworks and kids burning small crackers. The only horror was some people throwing crackers on the roads when I was driving my two wheeler :(. But apart from that, I loved everything, I even loved the smell of crackers.
In 2005, just before we came to US, I pestered my brother and hubby for crackers. Even though both of them were not interested, they went to the shop and came back with a big box of crackers which was more than what I had expected. Since we were burning crackers almost after 7-8 years, we enjoyed every bit of it.
This year, first of all we had to cancel our India trip which was supposed to be in December, due to various reasons. We were already in not-so-happy mood because of that and then all the missing lights and crackers really got to my nerve. It wont be completely wrong if I said I cooked those Diwali dishes just so that I could post them here. I had to get out of this mood somehow, so I thought of cooking a sweet dish today to cheer both of us.
Dudh paank or dudh pak– pudding is prepared in many Konkani homes during Diwali. Long grained aromatic basmati rice is cooked in milk and then cardamom and/or saffron are added for extra aroma. This comes out to be a lip smacking tasty dish. I think this is also called Pal Payasam.
I am sending this to Vee’s Diwali special JFI.
1/2 cup basmati rice
4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 tea spn cardamom powder
6-7 strands saffron(optional)
1 tbl spn cashews
1 tbl spn raisins(dry grapes)
Adjust milk and sugar according to taste.
Wash rice in water and cook it along with cashews in milk on a medium flame mixing occasionally. When the rice is cooked completely (rice should not get mushy), add sugar, raisins. Cook for about 4-5mins and then add saffron. Cook for about 1min and then take off the heat. Add cardamom powder. Serve hot or cold.
Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 30mins