Diwali: The Festival of Lights

28Nov07

lentil soup

Thanks to Michael Scott, everyone knows that Diwali is not the Indian version of Halloween. The brightly colored attire is donned and sweet goods are handed out not for neighborhood princesses and goblins but for King Rama of Ayodhya and Lord Mahavira of 527 B.C.

It is an Indian holiday celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains, where lights symbolize the victory of good over evil in a person. The dates of the festival differ every year and depending on the community, but it usually falls somewhere in October and November.

What better way to celebrate Diwali than by seeing a Bollywood film! What’s not to like? High pitched singing, choreographed dance sequences, a heart wrenching love story, comedic relief and Jujubes all in one sitting. It’s a whirlwind of emotions. Sony Pictures, FINALLY realizing the excitement surrounding this film industry phenomenon decided to be the first Hollywood production house to produce and distribute a Bollywood film. Now us Americans can enjoy what Indians have been keeping secret for so long. Thanks to Tiffany, Michelle and I got a sneak peak of Saawariya at the Sony Studios. We were nervous at first, entering a dimly lit theater with no one in the projection room. But we were quickly relieved once a hoard of Indian families came in with their babies and grandparents. Clearly, we were a part of a cultural phenomenon unbeknownst to the general public. All in all it was an enjoyable first experience and would recommend watching it in an altered state of mind.

Here is a clip to my favorite Bollywood song. Please enjoy while you read the rest of the blog.

Not to be outdone by Sony, I decided to make some Indian food this month. I’m also supplementing my Indian food with some good Indian reading Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Red Lentil Soup
Lentil soup is a common Indian dish made with familiar Indian ingredients such as cumin, turmeric, garlic, and coriander. If you don’t have these ingredients on hand or don’t feel like spending money on spices you’ll hardly ever use, you can buy an instant soup powder at a local Indian market and follow the recipe on the back of the bag . This is a quick and easy dish to make during the week. It should take you no longer than 30 minutes and you can always make more and freeze for later. The lentils make the soup very hearty and full of protein so you feel satisfied after your meal. Enjoy!

Red Lentil Soup (adapted from epicurious.com)

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped fresh or canned tomato
1 celery rib, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried red lentils
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

preparing red lentil soup

Preparation:

Heat oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté onion, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, tomato, celery, cumin, and salt and sauté, stirring, 2 minutes. Add lentils, water, and broth and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in parsley, then season with salt and pepper.

preparing red lentil soup 2

Servings: 7 cups

lentil soup

 

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One Response to “Diwali: The Festival of Lights”

  1. 1 Shanna

    yumm Ames, looks delicious.


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