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Thursday, December 6

Diwali in India

I mentioned being in India. We are now back from our trip and settled back into the German winter. When we left Nürnberg, it was chilly but transition to 60s and 70s was easy. However transitioning the other way around was ruthless. When we landed it was 10 degrees Celsius and the temperature hasn’t warmed since. Unfortunately, it has been chillier, windier and greyer. Today is one of the first days the sun has shined.

Onto India. We booked our flights to celebrate Diwali with family. After immigrating to the US, 20 years ago and 9 years ago respectively, we hadn’t celebrated since moving. It’s a Hindu festival also known as the festival of lights. There are 5 days that are highly revered but children and some workers get extra time off around Diwali. We partied late into the night and set off lots of fireworks.

Our plan was to spend time with family, eat lots of food, rest (for the husband) and eat lots of food. The husband had a list of all the foods he wanted to eat. I’ve admitted we are both insanely crazy for food, this proves how. It was agreed lunch would be home cooked meals and dinners would be at restaurants or take-out at home.
High on that list was street cart food. Mind you, some things we wanted to eat aren’t even local to the city but it was the street cart experience we wanted to relive. Mysore Dosa cart has been making dosas for 20 years and it’s always mouthwateringly good. Essentially it’s dosa (a large, thin crepe made from rice and daal batter) stuffed with a savory filling. Another thing that we both craved was Indian-Chinese. Note, Indian-Chinese is nothing like Chinese food except it uses some basic Chinese pantry items like soy sauce, ginger, garlic, green onions, and cornstarch. We ordered Hakka Noodles (noodles stir fried with ginger, garlic and sauce), Vegetarian Manchurian (shredded veggies combined with sauces, cornstarch and rice flour, made into dumplings and then deep fried) and paneer chilly (paneer marinated and cooked in a green chili & soy sauce).

Something that’s gained popularity is egg carts. We tried it last time and wanted to go back for more. The proprietor/chef makes fried eggs and then has a variety of sauces that are served on top. It’s all eaten with bread. It doesn’t sound impressive but the taste is. For example, he does a fried egg with tomato/onion sauce. Garlic, ginger, tomatoes, onions and spices make up the sauce. It’s divine. There was one topped with a paneer/green chive scramble and that was one of the best new finds. It was fried eggs topped cheese/ garlicky herb sauce, what’s not to love?

Couple things that we hadn’t previously tried was Sali Gosht & Khao Sev. There is a large population of Parsis (Persians that migrated to India many hundreds of years ago). Their food is drastically different from Gujarati food because it has meat, chicken and mutton (goat). When we lived in India, my parents knew a Parsi family that cooked wonderful food and we loved going to their home for feasts. The Sali Gosht we tried this time reminded me of my childhood dinners with the Parsi family. This inspired me to try the recipe here in Germany, in future.

Khao Sev is a Burmese soup with noodles and chicken. It can be vegetarian or with meat. It consists of a bowl of noodles topped with coconut milk broth, green onions, lime juice, chicken (if using), and fried noodles for crunch. The chicken and the broth have hints of red curry paste. After researching, I learned the curry paste is an influence of Thailand. We’ve never been to Burma Myanmar and aren’t familiar with its food but if this is any indication I’d like to book a ticket for a visit soon. It seems like a great cold weather dish (although cold weather in Gujarat is like light summer in US or Germany). Since we had a take out of both of these dishes, I am not sure of the precise recipes but I hope to recreate it at home during these cold months.

At home, we ate lots of vegetables. The original Gujaratis that have lived in the state from the beginning are vegetarians therefore there is an abundance of green vegetables available. My only wish when eating at home was to load up on veggies and my in-laws complied. We ate many vegetables I haven’t seen in Germany. Like Bottle Gourd with Split chickpeas, French Beans (it’s not the French bean you normally think of) with Spinach, Baby eggplants with fresh Pigeon Peas and Fenugreek Thepla. Thepla is flavored bhakhri. Bhakhri is a thicker cousin of Roti, and unlike roti has more oil in the dough for texture. So Thepla is a 2nd cousin of Roti, once removed. It sounds very confusing but it’s just good eating.

khaman & idra
And of course we had the usual khaman, idra, and haandvo. Gujarat is situated on the coast and has plenty of seafood; my mother in law placed an order with her fish monger for various fishes. We were in seafood land with Pomphret and other fish varieties I can’t remember.
We went on this trip with one goal in mind to eat a lot and boy did we achieve that.


  1. "So Thepla is a 2nd cousin of Roti, once removed. It sounds very confusing but it’s just good eating."

    I love it!

    Get ready for even more eating in the Philippines!!! Can't wait.

  2. We can't wait either. Looking forward to seeing you all and to eat like a queen.

  3. Did you eat any khandvi? Who owes their allegiance to Gujarat? You, your hubs? My family was visiting around the same time! I think your food descriptions do it more justice!

  4. Yes, we had khandvi. My mom makes it really good at home but this time around in India we had it made by someone else. we are both Gujarati.