Celebrating Diwali with Tanu Srinivasan
As the days begin to cool and winter begins showing her calling cards, my thoughts often drift to memories of my childhood spent celebrating Diwali. Diwali, a holiday spent celebrating lightness over darkness and good over evil, has so much weighted significance for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists around the world. Every family celebrating Diwali has their own special traditions - my family is no exception. From waking up at 5 am to light sparklers on our front porch to welcoming friends and family into our home and feasting on dishes my mother spent hours preparing, Diwali ushered in a much needed respite that buoyed our spirits as winter inevitably arrived. Diwali is a multi-faceted holiday but I wanted to highlight two of the different ways that we celebrate Diwali in our family.
Diwali as the New Year
Since Diwali represents the beginning of a new year, we are encouraged to wear new clothes to celebrate new beginnings. It is a tradition that I have personally welcomed every year (encouraged shopping? Yes please). This season, I opted for pieces from the FW Lali Kids collection. We have celebrated many milestones and made so many memories in our Lali Kids pieces - from Leo’s first father’s day to Kai’s naming ceremony. Choosing pieces from the latest Lali Kids collection for Diwali 2021 and celebrating the work of Indian artisans and an Indian American designer was an easy decision.
This season, I opted for the cypress skirt in midnight space dye for Bianca. I paired the braced skirt style with the sunflower top in mustard from the spring 2021 season. This particular combination aligns with my personal styling ethos of “styling old with new.” I also enjoyed playing the mustard color off a golden New England sunset.
Diwali as a Harvest Festival
As one of the most important harvest festivals of the year, food preparations carry added significance for families celebrating Diwali. One of my favorite dishes that my mom prepared was what she called her “short cut samosas.” Utilizing filo pastry sheets, she would bake versus fry the samosas that she made. We have recreated this dish many times and it is my pleasure to share this family recipe with you.
Srinivasan Short-Cut Samosas
- 1 package, filo pastry sheets
- 6 russet potatoes
- 1 bag frozen peas
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp garam masala powder
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 2 shallots (optional)
- 3 tsp vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
Thaw filo pastry sheets for one hour prior to baking.
In a large pot, bring water to boil. Add a dash of turmeric powder to water and carefully add the potatoes (remember to wash before adding to the water, to remove any excess dirt). Allow potatoes to boil for 15-20 minutes or until easily pierced with a paring knife. Remove potatoes from water and allow to cool before removing skin. Start to mash down potatoes and set aside.
Thaw frozen peas and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a separate sauce pan, warm vegetable oil and add cumin seeds. As the cumin seeds crackle, add shallots (optional). Once shallots have started to become translucent, add the potato mash. Sauté potato mixture and add garam masala to mixture. Add thawed peas and allow the mixture to cook until the peas have fully warmed (do not overcook). Add salt to taste. Allow to cool.
Roll out puff pastry and carefully cut into squares. Add potato filling to each square and fold over edge to create a triangle shape. Gently pinch sides closed. Place folded triangles onto baking sheet and bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden brown. Puff pastry samosas can be enjoyed with a favorite chutney or solo. The spice level can be adjusted up or down depending on personal preferences but I know that my kids don’t enjoy overly spicy dishes. I love the ease of a puff pastry samosa - it uses less oil than a traditional samosa and can be prepared in a fraction of the time. Plus they make great after school snacks for kiddos.
Take pics of your puff pastry samosas and tag me @ronnie_j_789
About the Author:
Tanu Srinivasan is an attorney by day and a full-time mom to her three stars (Bianca, Leo, and Kai) by day *and* night. Her interests include sustainable fashion, travel, fine dining, and trying to make her husband laugh at her jokes.
While you are cooking this delicious recipe we created a sweet little coloring craft for the kiddos to enjoy! Click the link below to download and then print the coloring page.