“For Diwali – basically, specific foods are made around specific times, for specific festivals, that kind of how it works. So for Diwali, people usually make sweets – actually they make sweets for everything – but for Diwali, there are snacks called Karanga, Chakli, um…Shankarpali. Those are the main things, and actually my mom sends some to me every time one of the festivals is held. Hmmm, and for…Ganesh Chaturthi – uh, that’s what it’s called – they make Modak, which is a sweet kind of dim sum type of dish. Uh, in my…my…my region, I’m a Maharashtrian – so in my state – the staple food for breakfast is like, flat rice. It’s a yellow color and it’s called poha – it’s really good, I like it. Um, and India as a whole has like a natural…not staples, but, like nationally popular dishes; like Vada pav and then Samosas. And then…oh yeah! Pada puni and stuff, so yeah…those are pretty popular. And there’s an Indian version of ice cream called Kulfi, which is really good.”
I was particularly fascinated when I learned how often sweets were used for festivals in India. Whenever I had heard of Indian dishes in the past, the conversation was always geared to how spicy the food was, so hear about such an extreme opposite was a big eye opener. Hearing the passion with which my informant told me about the food really inspired me to get back into cooking and hopefully before the year is over the two of us can make his favorite dish, Poha, together.