When I think about all the things I love about Diwali—and there are SO many—food is nearly at the top of the list. It is impossible for me to separate the holiday from the snacks and sweets because each tasty treat reminds me of someone I love.
Growing up, Diwali was about mini cocktail samosas. I used to love to go to my father’s office for Diwali puja and stuff as many of them into my mouth—and pockets—as possible. They were perfectly crispy and filled with the most delicious masala peas and potatoes. That exact memory is where I got the idea for the line Devi says in the book about her mouth being stuffed with jalebis!
Diwali is also a time for mithais, ladoos and other sweets. My aunt Asha used to make the most perfectly brown, delicious besan ladoos. Another aunt knew how much I loved them and would always squirrel a few for me into a napkin so I had some extras. In My Diwali Light, Devi’s father makes besan ladoos and she puts pistachios on top of them. These days my mother makes those very same ladoos for my daughter Satya. It’s a sweet little cycle and I am so happy to still be a part of it.
In my family, food connects us to each other and those that came before us. It’s what we gather around and look forward to. Family meals—and sharing our traditional snacks with new friends—is one of the ways we share who we are and that feels incredibly special.
I am sharing my friend Nisha’s chai recipe. When Devi’s parents sit down, after a fun evening of party hosting, they are holding warm, steaming cups of chai. I hope that when you make this chai, you feel the cozy Diwali feelings that Devi feels. I hope, above all else, that you know that your light is bright and unique.
Nisha’s chai recipe: https://lovelaughmirch.com/everyday-chai-5-tips-make-best-chai/
Devi loves the Diwali season. It’s a time to wear her favorite red bindi and eat samosas until she bursts! Make mithai and design rangoli with her papa. And paint diyas with her nani—a reminder to shine her light brightly all year long.
This joyful story, with vibrant collage illustrations, follows one girl’s Diwali traditions as her family celebrates their favorite holiday with the ones they love.