Diwali starts tomorrow.
You may not know this, but Diwali is a five day Hindu festival, which celebrates light over darkness, good triumphing over evil, knowledge getting the better of ignorance…. something we could all do with just at the moment….
The ‘light over darkness’ aspect of this festival is manifested by displays of candles and lights in palaces, homes, and shops all over India – the word Diwali itself (or Deepavali or Dipavali, as it is also known) derives from the Sanskrit and means ‘row of lights’.
But this festival is not just about light… it’s also about optimism. Prayers are said to the goddess Lakshmi and the god Ganesha. Ganesha is the remover of obstacles; whilst Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, fortune, and prosperity.
Appropriately then, the first day of the festival is a day of shopping; of buying things to redecorate the house (which is cleaned and tidied in a representation of renewal), and jewellery to redecorate the person; it’s a day of buying gifts.
Shopping continues on the second day, but this time for food. The main purchase is mithai, Diwali sweets. The third day is the main event with light, candles and magnificent firework displays; the fourth celebrates the husband and wife relationship, and the fifth that between sister and brother.
On the last day sisters invite their brothers to a feast, but food features throughout this joyful period.
So to celebrate we, at Tried and Supplied and Saucy Dressings, are giving you a recipe for one kind of Diwali sweet, the rose ball, or more correctly, rose coconut laddoo (or laddu).
Other culinary Diwali treats you might try:
- Too lazy to make our rose balls? Buy your sweets from Barfia – colourful milk-based sweets
- Make our Sweetness and Light Carrot Halwa
- Buy authentic small-batch sauces from Goan Cuisine; or fresh Indian herbs from Veena’s
- Treat yourself – and others – to dinner at Kanishka, in London’s Mayfair, where Atul Kochhar is offering a six-course Diwali menu including three mithai deserts to finish
This recipe for rose balls was given to Tried and Supplied founder, Domini Hogg, by Parag Nair – thank you Parag!
Recipe for rose coconut laddoo
- Half a beetroot
- 200g desiccated coconut
- 240g/1 cup condensed milk
- 2 tbsps of Gulkand (sweet rose petal mixture)
- A few drops of edible food colouring
- A handful of slivered almonds – to top each sweet
- Boil half a beetroot till its soft and then mash it in a blender. Pass it through a strainer to separate the juice and leave it aside.
- In a wide pan , take 200 grms of fine desiccated coconut and warm it on low heat . Add the beetroot juice ( just about 3 teaspoons) and let the moisture evaporate. This process should not take more than 5 mins .
- Remove the mixture from the pan and let it cool. Then add 1 cup of condensed milk and 2 spoons of Gulkand (sweet rose petal mixture).
- Add a few drops of edible red food color.
- Shape into small rounds and roll it on dry desiccated coconut.
- Top it with a piece of almond.