Caribbean Cookbook: Divali in Trinidad

November 2, 2013

Words by Tishanna Williamsโ€”

Imagine pillowy mounds of roti, savory curries, decadent sweets and exotic spices competing for your taste buds’ attention, each leaving you craving for more. This will surely be your experience if you are lucky enough to wing an invite to a Hindu household during the Divali period in Trinidad. Although the Divali Puja or “Festival of Lights” observed this year worldwide on November 2nd is the most popular day in the celebration, this particular event is just part of a five-day religious observance involving rituals, house cleaning and constant heavy cooking.

To Hindus worldwide, this “Festival of Lights” signifies the conquering of evil by forces of good. Hindus take this time to reconnect with the positive forces of love, knowledge and spirituality and reaffirm, their beliefs as they walk the path to enlightenment and oneness with God.

With a significant portion of the Trinidadian population comprising of persons of Hindu and East Indian origin, Divali is a major celebration on the island. At Divali time, you’ll find most of the population feasting on decadent East Indian and Indo-Trinidadian dishes, regardless of their own personal background. For those who aren’t lucky enough to attend any Divali festivities to share in the culinary experience, don’t worry. Below you will find two easy Trinidadian Divali recipes that will make your home the “spot to be” any time you put them on the menu. There is no meat involved (yay, vegetarians!), but even die-hard carnivores will not care once they try these culinary delights. Oh, and no utensils pleaseโ€”to enjoy the full experience you need a hands-on approach.

Click here to see the recipes for saheena and curry channa and aloo, and enjoy!