October 28 marks the beginning of Diwali, a major Indian holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights. The holiday signifies the New Year for Hindus and symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness, illumination over ignorance, good over evil. It’s a time when family and friends celebrate by gathering together to eat food, exchange sweets and snacks, and set off fireworks.
A sampling of Patel's many types of rice.
Want to try your own hand at sampling Indian sweets and snacks? Head to one of the area’s international markets. One of the largest is Patel’s Groceries, located at 1835 Central Ave N.E. The store offers rows and rows of easy-to-make curry dinner mixes and huge bags of rice, including brown and basmati.
Jelebi is a sweet made of sugar, wheat flour, and food coloring.
Patel’s also carries Indian frozen foods, including a variety of chapattis and samosas. The aisle nearest to the cash registers contains bags of Indian snack foods. One popular item is Hot mix, which Indians eat the way Americans eat potato chips. One handful is never enough!
Snacks mix nuts, puffed rice and spices.
Hot Mix is made of chickpea flour, parched rice, peanuts, cashew nuts, raisins, and mustard seeds. That mix of spicy, salty, and sweet is a typical snack or party mix found in Indian households, and could easily be part of yours, too.