Community ready for Diwali

<p>The annual Festival of Lights called Diwali in which Canada’s Hindu and Sikh community spend five days celebrating the victory of good over evil begins tomorrow.</p>


Festival celebrates good over evil

The annual Festival of Lights called Diwali in which Canada’s Hindu and Sikh community spend five days celebrating the victory of good over evil begins tomorrow.


The festival usually occurs in the fall and is one of the most popular and eagerly awaited Indian festivals. It is very much a celebration of life and it’s an opportunity to strengthen family and social relationships, says Tashlin Hirani, 29, of Toronto.


Although Muslim in faith, her grandparents and parents celebrated Diwali with their Hindu friends while living in northern India.


The festival is celebrated as a national holiday in India with most businesses closing, and people celebrating with fireworks and dancing, Hirani adds. “We will celebrate it to a lesser extent than my parents and grandparents did in India. This weekend we will have a big family dinner and everyone will bring dishes and sweets.’’

According to Statistics Canada’s 2001 census 297,200 Hindus and 278,410 Sikhs reside in this country.

On the day of Diwali, many will wear new clothes. Some business communities start their financial year and new accounts are opened on this day. The Festival of Lights signifies the banishment of darkness.

Curry dish suits the Festival of Lights

Curried Lentils, Sweet Potato and Cauliflower

This Indian curry would be an ideal dish to serve during Diwali, the five-day Festival of Lights which begins tomorrow. To mark this celebration, many South-East families will enjoy an Indian feast. Serve this dish with chapatti, roti or naan bread.


  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

  • 45 ml curry paste (mild or Madras)

  • 10 cardamom pods

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 500 g), peeled and cut into 1-cm pieces

  • 175 ml green or brown lentils, rinsed

  • 500 ml vegetable broth

  • 1 small cauliflower (about 500 g), without leaves and stem, cut into small florets

  • 50 ml fresh coriander leaves

  • Salt and pepper

  • Natural yogurt (optional)


STEP 1: Heat a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and curry paste, stirring paste thoroughly into onion; cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.

STEP 2: Smash cardamom pods with large knife or meat mallet. Remove small brown seeds (discard pods) and stir into onion mixture along with sweet potatoes; cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

STEP 3: Stir in lentils and broth; cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add cauliflower and return to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes or until lentils and vegetables are tender.

STEP 4: Remove from heat; stir in coriander. Season to taste with salt and pepper. STEP 5: Let stand a few minutes before serving with a dollop of yogurt, if desired.

NOTE: Cardamom pods can be found in a bulk food store or the spice aisle of your local grocery store.

  • Nutritional information per serving: 310 calories, 13 g protein, 5 g fat, 59 g carbohydrates.

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