Today marks the Festival of Light, one of Hindu’s biggest and brightest celebrations. This ancient festival celebrates the triumph of light over dark and good over evil.
Gifts and sweets may be exchanged, lavish feasts will be prepared, new clothes may be purchased and it’s a time to clean the home and garden to welcome in the New Year. Food plays an essential part in Diwali, in fact, the preparation of snack foods starts weeks in advance, but it doesn’t stop at snacks. Diwali is a time for celebration and feasting is in order! I’m dishing out 36 delicious Diwali recipes for you to pick and choose from to create your own menu. Select one or two things from each category and your Diwali is off to a prosperous start.
Wishing all of you, celebrating the festival of lights, a very happy and safe Diwali. May the divine light illuminate your life and give you peace, prosperity, happiness and good health!
1. Chakli: This crunchy, spiraled snack is made from whole wheat flour, but every region in India has its own way of making chakli. Some use all purpose flour or like this recipe, whole wheat flour, but in the southern part of India urad dal or rice flour is used. This chakli is spice with chili powder and gets some added crunch from toasted sesame seeds.
2. Methi Mathri: This savory, flaky and deep fried snack is made with flour, oil, ajwain, kasoori methi and cumin seeds and is popular throughout Northern India and Rajasthan. This festival snack pairs perfectly with a hot cup of tea, aloo ki sabji or pickle.
3. Andhra-Style Perugu Garelu: Golden-brown lentil fritters that are light and fluffy on the inside with a crisp exterior are soaked in a savory yogurt sauce seasoned with spices – melt in your mouth!
4. Fried Poha Chivda: This is a very popular Diwali snack that is crunchy, savory and easy to make. Made from flattened rice that is flavored with spices this indulgent snack has a bit of spice that’s balanced by sweetness from sugar and raisins and tanginess from citric acid (nimbu phool).
5. Sweet Lassi: This delicious lassi is made with yogurt, sugar and flavored with cardamom – the secret to a good lassi is to use thick homemade yogurt that is absolutely chilled and hand blended with a wooden churner.
6. Jaljeera: The best way to describe this refreshing drink is as an Indian-style lemonade. Jal means water and jeera means cumin, so it literally translates to cumin water, but don’t let that turn you off, because cumin-y it is not! Mint, tamarind, fennel and black pepper are added to make this drink tangy, sour, aromatic and spicy – you really can’t go wrong.
7. Masala Chai: The secret here is all in the masala. A perfect pairing with Diwali sweets.
8. Paneer Tikka: Paneer tikka is an Indian dish made from chunks of paneer/cottage cheese, marinated in spices, arranged on skewers and grilled in a tandoor. Don’t have a tandoor? No sweat, ’cause this recipe uses the stove top as the cooking method.
9. Masala Vada: This tasty, street style recipe gets it’s roots from Tamilnadu. One bite of these crsipy, spicy gram dal fritters and you’ll be hooked.
10. Karamani Sundal: This stir-fry of black-eyed beans gets its spice from green chili and cools with coconut. The black-eyed beans are roasted instead of soaked for heightened flavor and quicker cooking.
11. Dahi Bhalla: Hot, deep fried lentil fritters are soaked in a thick, beaten yogurt before serving. Flavored with coriander, chili, ginger, cumin, chaat masala and pomegranate seeds, be sure to serve alongside coriander and tamarind chutneys!
Raita and Chutneys
12. Thayir Pachadi (Beetroot Raita): A Southern Indian feast is not complete without this bright pink raita. Beetroot raita is not as common as cucumber or carrot raita, but definitely one of the tastiest!
13. Crispy Bhindi (Okra) Raita: Crispy okra coated in a delicious blend of masala spices and blended with cooling yogurt. Even if you don’t like okra, one bite of this flavorful raita will make you fall in love.
14. Green Chutney: This just may be the only green chutney recipe that you will ever need. Flavored with mint and coriander – you’ll be putting this on everything!
15. Sweet Tamarind Chutney: Commonly known as the “ketchup” of the east, this sweet and sour chutney is made from tamarind and dates.
Paratha and Pooris
16. Chana Dal Paratha: This flatbread is stuffed with chana dal – filling and delicious!
17. Naan: Soft and pillowy flatbread perfect for scooping up rice and curries, this recipe uses a stove-top method for those who don’t have a tandoor.
18. Palak Puri: It’s hard to resist this deep-fried flatbread with spinach – and the green color is definitely a treat for the eyes!
19. Laccha Paratha: This multi-layered Indian flatbread is known by many different names throughout India and is typically made with all-purpose flour, however, this recipe scores some healthy points as it’s made with whole wheat flour.
20. Bagara Bhaat: A simple Hyderabadi rice recipe that can be prepared in a jif and pairs perfectly with spicy curries.
21. Achaari Chana Pulao: Looking for something flavorful? This pickle-spiced, chickpea rice is just the thing and it pairs well alongside a dal.
22. Kuska Biryani: This is a very simple biryani without any vegetable or meat, it’s basically the perfect celebratory food because it can be paired with any side dish.
23. Jeera Rice: This mildly spiced and flavorful Indian rice dish is lightly spiced with cumin – simple, easy to prepare and pairs with anything.
24. Besanwhali Bhindi: Okra made crispy with a little help from chickpea flour is a simple dry curry that will make even the okra haters among us, coming back for more.
25. Pindi Chole: Cooked chickpeas coated with spices makes a perfect side dish for poori or paratha. This tangy and sour dish is attributed to dried pomegranate seeds along with dried mango powder and the dark brown color is achieved from tea bag leaves.
26. Rajma Masala: This popular Punjabi dish is composed of boiled red kidney beans that are simmered in spicy onion-tomato gravy. Pair with rice or better yet, paratha.
27. Mixed Vegetable Korma: The gravy for this creamy, korma dish packed with veggies varies from region to region. This particular recipe has roots in Southern India thanks to the flavorful addition of, coconut.
28. Panchmel Dal: This comforting stew is made with five kinds of lentils (dal) and prepared with a simple tempering of cumin, cloves and cinnamon and a few spice powders. For perfect creaminess, it is important to cook the dal long and slow on low heat. Serve along with baati which is a flaky crisp round bread.
29. Matar Ki Dal: This dal is one that’s sure to impress family and guests, so it’s perfect for a day of celebration. Just remember, fresh green peas are preferred, but if you must, frozen will work.
30. Sindhi Kadhi: Kadhi is typically made with yogurt but this kadhi is unique as it’s made of roasted besan in tomato gravy: A beautiful dish where all of the vegetables complement one another in taste, color and texture.
31. Chana Dal: Made with chickpeas, this is a healthy and delicious dal that is sauteed with onion and tomato then tempered with spices for a boost in flavor.
32. Besan Ladoo: Besan Ladoos are one of the favorite sweetmeats from north India. No celebration whether religious or joyous ceremony is complete without these chickpea flour sweets.
33. Chocolate Barfi: Flavored with the popular spice of choice, cardamom these dense, milk-based sweets, Barfi derive from the Hindi word for snow and ice. Typically cut into square, diamond or round shapes these chocolate flavored barfi have a silky-smooth texture whose sweetness is balanced with crunchy pistachios, making them quite irresistible!
34. Goan Style Chana Dal Kheer: This festive, sweet dish is composed of chickpeas, tapioca balls (from the cassava root) cashew nuts, coconut and jaggery.
35. Diwali Okkarai: This traditional Tambrahm recipe is a low-fat sweet made from chana dal and sweetened with jaggery.
36. Traditional Gujarati Mohanthal: Try this Diwali sweet that is perfect for gifting to friends and family. A traditional Gujarati fudge made with chickpea flour, mace, cardamom and saffron. These sweet pieces of fudge are studded with crunchy pieces of chickpea flour ‘crumble’ or ‘dhrabo’ – simply, sensational.
Happy Diwali everyone and be sure to add your favorite festival foods in the comments down below!