If there is one festival of India that the adults and kids eagerly await, it’s Diwali without a doubt! The excitement to decorate our homes with shiny lamps and the neighbourhood challenge of the longest and loudest cracker shows, kick in a lot of fun! Diwali is also loved for another reason- Food! Every household has its own traditional Diwali food menu that comprises of delicious sweets and mouthwatering savory items.
Food occupies an essential place in Indian culture and traditions. Along with filling us with nutritional goodness, certain items like the Mithai or sweets and various fried snacks have symbolic meaning too. They teach us how to relish every second of our lives and keep all the negative forces away, atleast on this special day. This is also the reason why meat products are mostly avoided by many families on Deepavali.
In this article, we shall look into some of the most popular food items of different parts of India, which bring in the true festive spirit.
Indian Desserts for Diwali with Pictures:
Here, we have put together 10 of the best Diwali special food items from North and South India. Read along to know the detailed information of each of these delectable recipes.
Top 10 Traditional North Indian Foods for Deepavali
In the northern parts of India, sweets dominate the festive food scene. The regular thali is replaced with scores of Mithais that are made with ghee, sugar, jaggery, flour, cardamom powder, saffron and dairy. The savory stuff includes staples like Samosas, Kachoris, Chivda and other crunchy snacks, which can tickle your taste buds. Here is a brief writeup of each of these delicious Diwali special food recipes.
1. Motichoor Laddoo:
Motichoor Laddoo is a traditionally served Diwali celebration food. It is said to have originated in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and is usually had as a prasad after the main Puja. The term “motichoor” literally stands for “Crushed pearls” because of the tiny flour balls pressed into a laddoo form. It is made with a generous helping of ghee, edible food color, sugar and oil, with a final garnish of almond or pista slice.
A Balushahi not only satisfies your sweet cravings, but also your desire to eat something crunchy! It is a flaky, flour pastry that is slow fried in oil to get a golden-brown crust on the outside. Dipping it in a cardamom flavored sugar syrup takes it to a whole new level. It is a custom is many regions to serve Balushahi as part of the Diwali afternoon lunch to treat the guests to a tasty, crispy treat.
Whether it is an irresistible piece of chocolate barfi or the childhood favorite Badam barfi, this timeless Indian sweet is mandatory in the Diwali thali. There are different versions of this amazing dish like the coconut, moong dal, sesame, lauki etc., all, which taste delicious and have their own unique flavor. Include one piece of each variety to treat your taste buds after a lovely meal!
Nothing in the world can come close to the pleasure of eating a tasty halwa. Especially when it made with juicy carrots, cooked in ghee, milk, cardamom powder and garnished with a ton of dry fruits, the experience is too good to describe. Along with the contemporary carrot halwa, you can even try the old-school recipe of moong dal halwa or semolina and have it along with Puri, for breakfast or lunch.
Gujiya is a half-moon shaped Indian sweet, that is said to have originated in the Bundelkhand region of Rajasthan. It is crispy on the outside and filled with Mawa, grated coconut, roasted dry fruits, sugar and semolina. The outer covering is made with maida, which is deep-fried and coated in sugar syrup. In many parts of India, it is considered a custom to eat Gujiya on important festivals like Holi and Diwali!
Can you even imagine a Diwali party without a masaledaar Punjabi Samosa? The crispy fried pastry is filled with loads of vegetables, Potato mash and spices to send you into a foodgasm. It is typically eaten with sweet and sour imli chutney or Hara Chutney. Samosas are best had with a cup of hot chai in the evenings. You can either make them fresh at home or quickly get them from your favorite mithaiwala!
In Gujarat and other surrounding areas, the onset of Diwali is marked with a plate full of crispy Mathiya Papads. Mathiya is a fried snack that is made with Moth bean and urad dal flour. A dough is formed by adding salt, sugar, carom seeds, green chilli paste and water. Balls of this mixture are pressed thin and flat and then deep-fried in hot oil. The papads are then seasoned with a special spice mix and enjoyed all day long!
Pakoras are all season, all year and all-time favorite Indian snacks. On the day of Diwali, special versions of these fried fritters are made as finger foods for Diwali parties. Instead of the regular onion bhaji, paneer, mixed vegetables, potatoes and even palak pakoras are highly preferred on this day. These are served with spicy mint chutney or tomato ketchup, along with a cup of hot chai.
9. Teekha Gathiya:
This crispy Gujarati dry snack leaves a burst of flavor in our mouth. It is made with gram flour, spices, chilli powder and water to form a dough. Using a special sev machine, the mixture is pressed into hot oil in the form of thick strands. After turning golden brown, they are removed from heat and allowed to cool down. Gathiya can be stored for a couple of days in an air tight container and enjoyed as an evening snack, even after the festivities are over!
10. Poha Chivda:
Made with flattened rice, Poha Chivda is a healthy Maharashtrian food that is loaded with flavor. This crunchy Diwali snack is prepared by roasting Poha with fried peanuts, dried coconut strips, Sev, dried red chillies and friend lentils. The mixture is seasoned with salt and chilly powder to make it spicy and tasty. If you are a health-conscious person, but still want to enjoy a delectable Diwali snack, Chivda is highly recommended.
Top 10 South Indian Traditional Recipes For Diwali-
The southern states of India like Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Karnataka have their own Diwali culinary specialities. A few days before the festival, the womenfolk of the households gather in the kitchen for Diwali food preparations, to cater to the entire household. Along with the traditional rice varieties like Puliyogare, these dishes are also served as part of or in between the meals.
11. Bellam Gavvalu:
Bellam Gavvalu, is a traditional Andhra delicacy prepared with flour, jaggery and oil. Visit any Telugu family during Diwali time and you are likely to find this variety on the sweet and snacks menu. This is prepared using maida dough, which is rolled into small shell like shapes and deep fried. A thin jaggery syrup is poured on them and allowed to cool down. You can even find a sugar variant of this sweet called the Teepi Gavvalu.
Shakkarpara is a diamond-shaped, flour cookie prepared as a traditional Diwali snack in Karnataka. It has both sweet and savoury versions – Shakkapare and Shankarpali. A dough is made with all-purpose flour or maida, sooji, ghee, salt and water. Using a sharp knife, diamond-shaped cuts are made on the flattened dough, deep friend and dunked in a sweet, sugary syrup. It is a semi-sweet snack that leaves you wanting for more!
Made with rice flour and spices, Thattai is one of the most relished snacks in South India, particularly in Tamilnadu. A dough is prepared with the right mix of rice powder and Urad dal flour, soaked chana dal, curry leaves, red chillies and Hing. It is rolled into small balls and flattened thin. These are deep-fried in oil until golden brown and enjoy all through the festive season. Thattai are also made in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, but known by the names – “Chekkalu” and “Nippattu”.
For almost any auspicious occasions and festivals like Diwali, Adhirasam is prepared in many south Indian homes. It is a sweet treat that is prepared with rice flour, jaggery, sesame seeds and grated coconut (optional). Soaked rice is first dried and made into a powder, then mixed with jaggery syrup to form a dough. The balls are flatted with hand and deep-fried in oil until dark brown. Thinner versions of this dish are prepared in Andhra Pradesh called “Ariselu” and “Kajjaya” in Karnataka.
15. Gulab Jamun:
In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Gulab Jamun is one of the most loved Indian desserts after a hearty Diwali lunch. It is very similar to the one prepared in north India but has less Khova or Mawa content. Many people prefer to make it at home using a readymade Gulab Jamun mix, which comprises of Milk powder and sugar, that is rolled into balls, deep-fried in oil and soaked in thin sugar syrup.
16. Mysore Pak:
The state of Karnataka is home to one of the most popular sweets of India – the classic Mysore Pak. It gets its name from Mysore, during the reign of the Mysore Maharaja. It has a fudge-like texture and is prepared with Besan, ghee and sugar. This sweet has both soft and hard versions, with the former more in demand because of its melt in the mouth taste. Especially during Diwali, this sweet occupies an important place in the festive thali.
Murukku is a savoury snack that is enjoyed for its crispy, crunchy texture. It is made in a twisted shape using a dough of Rice flour, urad dal, salt and chilli powder. During Diwali, a special version is made with sesame seeds to bring in the festive flavor. There are many variants of this dish and is known by different names like Murukku, Chakli or Murukulu in different regions of the country.
18. Medu Vada or Garelu:
Garelu is a type of savoury doughnut, made with lentils, salt and chillies (optional). It tops the charts of the Diwali food menu, especially in the Telugu and Tamil states, where it is called Thayir Vada. In Karnataka it is known by the name Medu vada and is a slightly bigger version. These crispy, golden snacks are usually had as part of a meal, along with coconut chutney and sambar.
Payasam is a rice or vermicelli milk pudding, which complete any traditional Indian festive meal. Especially on a day like Diwali, rich Kheer is made with milk, ghee and loads of dry fruits to symbolize good health and prosperity. It is even a custom in many families to offer Paala Payasam (Milk Kheer) to Goddess Lakshmi and then distributed as prasad.
20. Kara Boondhi:
Kara Boondhi is a spicy mixture that is often prepared to accompany the rest of the sweetmeats. The golden color savory treat is made with balls of deep-fried Besan, fried peanuts, curry leaves, garlic and lentils. It is traditionally served to the guests and visitors along with a cup of tea and a couple of sweets. You can easily prepare it at home and store it for atleast a few weeks.
Unlike the other festivals which usually have a set menu, Diwali lets you gorge on a variety of tasty sweets and snacks. No wonder why it is also called the “Festival of Foods”! The recipes to all these items are available on Youtube channels for you to enjoy the freshness of homemade foods. So, try these recipes and let us know if you have any local Diwali speciality that can be featured here!