Diwali – “The Festival of Lights” – an Indian festival which signifies the triumph of light over darkness. This beautiful festival falls on the darkest Amavsya – New moon night of Kartikeya month a lunisolar Hindu calendar month which means mid-October to mid-November most probably. The spiritual significance of this festival is the victory of knowledge over ignorance, enmity over love, good over evil, happiness over sadness, and in this light represents knowledge, love, goodness, and happiness. Therefore Diwali or Deepavali (a Sanskrit word) which means a series of light – is celebrated to bring prosperity, happiness, love, good luck, peace, and happiness. So let’s read about Diwali Sweets & Festival Tour – Virtual Tour Of Indian Festive Food.
Diwali / Deepavali is a five-day festival and is celebrated throughout India with lavish pompous rituals and traditions. As India is diverse land and all regions of India have peculiar and diverse traditions, the rituals of Diwali in India change from one state to another and so is the food preparations. But the whole essence of this celebration remains one which is to clean the clutter from the house, decorate the house to our best, wear the best clothes, eat the finest traditional sweets, prepare ethnic delicacies at home and meeting and greeting people.
Diwali is associated with Hindu Gods Ram, Sita, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Ganesh, Krishna, Yama, Yami, Durga, Kali, Dhanvantari, and Vishwakarma. The famous mythological belief associated with Diwali is on this very dark night of the whole year, Lord Ram returned to his home town Ayodhya from 14 years of exile with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman. As night was very dark, so citizens of Ayodhya welcomed God with illuminated streets, city squares, houses and celebrated the return of goodness after so long. This signifies the winning of good over evil or hope over sadness after a long wait or darkness in life.
This 5-day festival is celebrated with lots of various rituals day-wise specific, elaborate food preparations, decorations, shopping, cleaning, and many interesting traditions. Diwali is a festival of celebrating prosperity which means worshipping Goddess Lakshmi (Goddess of prosperity & wealth) and so the main prayers or Puja(Hindu form of prayers) are done to please Goddess Lakshmi and Shri Ganesh (God of all beginnings or Obstacle remover God)
The most prominent things done during Diwali are – Diwali Sweets & Festival Tour – Virtual Tour Of Indian Festive Food
- Cleaning of the house from corner to corner, decluttering of all things from house and life. It marks the beginning of the new.
- Shopping new items for self, house, and friends/relatives.
- Preparation of special festive food – sweets, savory items, and lavish feasts.
- Taking blessings from elders to begin the next year with an auspicious start.
- Spread love, happiness, joy, knowledge everywhere.
- Wear new traditional clothes with lots of jewelry. Investing in gold and silver is considered to bring good fortune too.
- People prefer auspicious to open a new business, buy a vehicle, business transactions for good, purchasing land, or property on Diwali day and if they are planning something like that then they prefer the dates of Diwali for the final transaction to be done.
- Mandalas are made outside the main door to welcome Goddess of prosperity. Also many mandalas, Rangolis and Alpanas are made in courtyard, verandas and inside houses.
Diwali being a festival of happiness and joy too, then food becomes an integral part of celebrations. Lavish food spread from sweet to savory items to feast style dinner takes a prominent place in celebrating Diwali. As good food is considered to be the source of joy and therefore various food varieties are prepared in Indian houses. Though people buy sweets from Indian Mithahi (sweet shop) still Indian women proudly prepare various delicacies and the aroma of homely prepared sweets makes the atmosphere more festive. It is also believed the sweet aroma of delicious food in the house attracts God and they come to our house that day. The Diwali day dinner or the main feast first is served to God in puja or prayer and then distributed to all family members and then can be eaten and enjoyed. On Diwali vegetarian items are prepared and served. Many regions of India even don’t put Garlic and Onion in Diwali snacks and food.
So let’s present to you some of my favorite delicacies – festive Indian food for Diwali or Deepavali. I have included food from all regions of India.
SWEET & SAVORY ITEMS | Diwali Sweets & Festival Tour – Virtual Tour Of Indian Festive Food
A very popular sweet made from Mawa (milk solids) and Paneer (cottage cheese).
HOW TO MAKE – Mix equal quantities of readymade or homemade Mawa and Paneer(200 gms each). Sautee on low flame till thick consistency. It should be thick enough like spreading and then cutting. When done add 1 small bowl of powdered sugar, cardamom powder, saffron sticks, and mix well.
Spread this mixture over waxed paper or greased tin. Let it be cool and then cut it into the desired shape. Top them with chopped nuts like almonds, pistachios, or cashew nuts.
SHELF LIFE – It should be freshly consumed. Mostly the shelf life is 2 to 3 days if kept in fridge.
A very popular sweet originated from Southern India. It is named after a famous city of South – Mysore. Pak in the Indian language means Sweet syrup. So it is a sweet made from gram flour, cooked well in clarified butter, and then added with hot sweet syrup.
HOW TO MAKE – On low flame sauté gram flour (Besan) with lots of Ghee (clarified butter). Meanwhile, prepare thick sweet syrup which should be very hot. On other hand keep hot clarified butter or ghee ready. Now step by step add sweetened syrup and very hot Ghee to brownish Gram flour. While adding constant stirring is needed. This preparation needs the help of another person too. As everything very hot is added then utmost care should be taken of not getting burnt by the heat of the food. Also when everything is mixed, spread the mixture into a greased tray. Make impressions of cut while spreading or else after cooling it becomes hard and cant be cut perfectly. Due to the addition of hot substances within intervals, you will find a net-like thing is formed in between the Gram flour layers. These are hot bubbles or air released in between the layering. But after cooling as some air which is trapped inside gets released afterward, so hole or net is formed. The beauty of this sweet is a net-like structure on top layers.
SHELF LIFE – This can be consumed within 7 to 8 days.
A very crunchy mixture made with simple ingredients and a little bit of seasoning with Indian spices.
HOW TO MAKE – Sauté Cornflakes (you can use normal regular Kellogg’s style or cereal cornflakes too but without any sweetened coatings) on low flame for crunchier. On other hand prepare seasoning with oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, chopped green chili, turmeric powder, red chili powder. When everything crackles in oil, mix seasoning well with cornflakes in a large pan and add ½ spoon sugar and salt to taste in it. This can be kept for 10 to 15 days and can be prepared in advance.
Made from deep fried Bread slices and then garnished with condensed or thickened sweetened milk, rose petals and chopped nuts.
HOW TO MAKE – Cut bread slices into desired shapes. Soak them into milk + rose water. Squeeze it gently and deep fry those slices in Ghee(clarified butter) on medium heat. Take them out after golden brown. Garnish them with condensed milk or homemade rabdi (thickened sweetened milk), chopped nuts, rose-petals and silver foil(optional).
Rounded balls made from milk solids, sugar, and desiccated coconut (dry of fresh – both can be used)
HOW TO MAKE – Saute milk solids on low flame or low heat till brownish or aromatic. Then slowly add roasted desiccated coconut to it. Mix well. Remove from heat and add powdered sugar. Make round balls when it is lukewarm or else if it is fully cool then molding cant be done.
KHASTA KACHORI –
Deep-fried crunchy India bread stuffed with spicy Indian lentils or veggies. Khasta Kachori is mostly famous in Northern India.
HOW TO MAKE – *Ingredients for Moongdal Kachori* For kneading dough – Maida – 2 cup, Ghee for Moyan – 1/4 cup, Salt – a pinch, Soda – a pinch optional, *For stuffing* – Moong dal – 1/2 cup (soaked for 2 hours), Green coriander – 2 tbsp (finely chopped), Green chilly – 2 (finely chopped), Roasted coriander seeds coarsely ground, Roasted Fennel coarsely ground – 1 tsp, Red chilly powder – 1/4 tsp, Asafoetida – 1 pinch, Ginger powder – 1/2 tsp (or 1-inch piece grated), Salt – 1/2 tsp (as per taste), Garam masala – 1/4 tsp, Roasted Cumin coarsely grounded- 1/2 tsp
Take maida in a big bowl, add salt and ghee/oil and mix well. Rub well like u see maida n ghee gets coated well. Now add little cold water at a time and knead dough same like samosa dough. Don’t knead the dough too much. Cover the dough and keep it aside for 15-20 minutes to set. Meanwhile prepare stuffing.
Stuffing: Coarsely ground the soaked moong dal. Preheat pan and add 3-4 tbsp oil in it. When oil or ghee is sufficiently hot, add cumin seeds and saute for while. After sauteing cumin seeds add asafoetida, green chilly, coriander powder, fennel powder and saute the spices for few minutes. Now add grounded dal, salt, garam masala, ginger powder and red chilly powder. Mix all ingredients really well. Stir constantly and cook dal until it dries up and nice aroma can be smelled (if dal sticks to the bottom of pan then add some more oil). Take out the roasted dal in a bowl so that it cools quickly.
The dough is also set. Take a little amount of dough, equal to the size of a lemon, and roll giving it a round shape. Take one dough ball and flatten it with help of your fingers giving it a shape like a bowl. Now fill this bowl with 1 tsp stuffing and lift from all sides for sealing the stuffing. Likewise, prepare all kachoris. Deep fry them on low flame till golden brown. Diet conscious can also bake them in the oven but check-in between till golden brown at 160 deg. I made deep fried one
SHELF LIFE– 1 to 2 days.
ATTA HALWA OR SUJI HALWA OR KADA(KARAH) PRASAD)
Kada Prasad – an authentic “prasad” means sacred food or blessed food served in Gurudwaras with melodious chants of Gurbani. This divine food has an amazing taste full of blessings, though made from very simple ingredients. This recipe is given by Guru Gobind Singh and now this food symbolizes the blessing of saint Guru Gobind Singh. This Prasad or divine food is offered by Sewadars in Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) and is taken with cupped hands. Many households make this sacred food on special occasions and festivals to seek blessings from Guru or saint. Originally this food is from Punjab, India. For Sikhs, this food is divine or sacred. Prasad or divine food is a very significant part of Indian culture and traditions.
HOW TO MAKE – Take an equal amount of Ghee (clarified butter), Whole Wheat flour, Sugar or jaggery, and water. Roast wheat flour in ghee till golden brown on very low flame and you will feel nice aromas coming out. Then mix water and roast more till it becomes halwa consistency. Add sugar or jaggery and mix well. It is now ready to eat. Sikhs put this food near Guru Granth Sahib, and then worship it and afterward distribute to all for eating. Mostly if you cook this food in iron Kadhai(Wok) then it tastes authentic.
I do make it weekly as it also has high nutritional value for small children as Ghee in India is considered very good instead of oil or butter. The mixture of Ghee and wheat flour is also good for kids.
Shelf life 3 to 4 days.
GUJIYA OR KARANJI
Deep-fried sweet which you will find similar to Samosa. The only difference between Samosa and Gujiya is that one is having a savory filling and another is having a sweet filling. One is triangular in shape and the other one is semicircular. A very popular sweet form made across India
HOW TO MAKE – Milk solids are sauteed on low and added with roasted wheat flour, roasted powdered nuts, cardamom powder, and powdered sugar. Now, this filling is filled inside the samosa dough in a semi-circular format. Ends are sealed with a special pattern so that filling does not ooze out. Then they are ready to be deep-fried in clarified butter on low flame. When done it is ready to serve.
Shelf Life – 1 week.
BESAN BARFI OR MOHANTHAL
A very common and popular sweet form is made in most of the households of India.
HOW TO MAKE – Sautee Gram flour till golden brown and then add hot sweetened syrup made from sugar and water. Layer it on a greased tray and make the impression of cutting when hot. Top it with chopped nuts.
SHELF LIFE – 7 to 8 days
DAHI VADA OR DAHI BHALLA
A very popular savory item made from deep-fried lentils dumplings and then dipped into creamy yogurt. This is very famous in North India and is considered to be a protein-rich snack.
HOW TO MAKE – Soak black lentils without skin or green lentils without skin (available at all supermarkets or Indian grocery stores). When soft, grind them to a thick paste. Drop 1 spoon of paste in hot oil and you will get fried dumplings. After frying, soak these dumplings in water for some time.
When very soft, take out dumplings from water and remove excess water by squeezing gently. Dip in whisked fresh yogurt. Top them with Green coriander Dips (chutneys) and tamarind Date dip.
SHELF LIFE – FRESHLY CONSUMED
RICE KHEER (RICE PUDDING) –
Again a very popular pudding type of sweet made all over India.
HOW TO MAKE – Boil full-fat milk and then add a small bowl of rice. Let the rice cook on low heat. After that let the heavy-bottomed pan rest on low heat, so that milk gets a little thickened. When milk gets thickened to your desired consistency then add flavors and sugar to your taste. Garnish with chopped nuts and saffron strands.
SHELF LIFE – To be consumed freshly and can be eaten next day if refrigerated.
A very popular frozen milk form – thickened milk with layers of milk frozen like an ice-cream.
HOW TO MAKE – Generally made on a heavy bottom iron skillet. Take full-fat double cream milk and after boiling it, let is remain on low heat. Till the time the milk does not reduce to 1/4th, let it be on the heat with occasional stirring. Just check-in between milk from the bottom does not burns or stick to the vessel. When milk becomes thick, you will find layers of milk solids floating which is the hero of the dish. Then after cooling, add powdered sugar, cardamom powder, and saffron strands. You can add rose water but it is optional. Put the mixture in lollies molds and freeze it for 6 to 7 hours.
SHELF LIFE – 2 to 3 days. But can be consumed more days as it is kept in deep freezer.
Rabdi or Rabri is the one previous version of frozen Kulfi. The mixture obtained above before freezing is called Rabdi or Rabri.
SHELF LIFE– 2 to 3 days but needs to be kept in fridge
Samosa is the confluence of many cultures and it is an Indian Mughlai dish. Now, this samosa is the most popular Indian dish and is available in the whole world. A very popular Indian dish which you can almost find in all Indian restaurants. It is generally served as entrée or starters but Indian people can eat it any time. Many people like Samosa as breakfast or in-between snacks. There are many variations in the stuffing of samosas too nowadays.
But the actual ones are the pastry sheets filled with mashed potatoes, Indian spices, peas and folded triangular are deep-fried which is then served hot with coriander-mint dips. Samosas are crispy and golden brown from outside and have spicy soft filling inside.
HOW TO MAKE – Samosa making is divided into two parts – making stuffing and a crispy outer crust. For stuffing – Boil Potatoes and then crumble them. In a pan take 1 to 2 tbsp oil and crackle it with cumin seeds. Add crumbled potato, Indian spices like chili powder, salt, black salt, Indian Garam masala, Indian chaat masala, chopped green chili, coriander leaves, and boiled peas. Saute this mixture till all are mixed well and you get a nice aroma from it. Let it remain cool and keep it on the side. For the crust – Take all-purpose flour and mix it with Ajwain seeds (optional), salt to taste and 4 tbsp oil. Rub well and so that oil and flour gels well. Then with little water make the dough which is not very hard and not very soft. The dough should be stiff. Then keep aside the dough for 20 minutes by covering it with a damp cotton cloth.
Now make small balls of dough and roll out. Make a cone shape from that rolled dough and fill the stuffing with a spoon and then seal it. Deep fry these cones and before putting them in oil check that it is very hot. Now lower the flame to medium heat and fry till crispy golden brown. Now samosas are ready to serve with coriander & mint dip.
SHELF LIFE – 1 to 2 days
GULAB JAMUN OR KALA JAMUN
A very popular sweet form that is prepared all over India.
HOW TO MAKE – Deep fry small balls of Mawa (milk solids) mixed with 1 spoon of all-purpose flour, 1 pinch of soda, and cardamom powder in Ghee (clarified butter). After getting the color of your desire like brown or black, then take it out and dip them in sweetened thick sugary syrup.
SHELF LIFE – 5 to 6 days
A very popular sweet form from the western part of India as Cashewnuts are cultivated more in Goa and the western region.
HOW TO MAKE – It is made like fudge. Coarsely grind the Cashewnuts. Meanwhile, prepare the sugary syrup. Now saute cashew powder on low flame with 1 spoon of Ghee. Now add sugar syrup slowly and make a soft dough. Spread on greased tin. Cut them into a diamond shape and top them with edible silver foil.
SHELF LIFE – 6 to 7 days
A very popular sweet from Bengal – eastern part of India. It is generally a sweetened cottage cheese balls.
HOW TO MAKE – Curdle the milk and strain the solids. Mash solids with soft hands and add 1 spoon of all-purpose flour with 1 pinch of soda. Mix well with a soft hand. After that when smooth, then make small balls and put one by one into boiling water. Let them boil for a few minutes or till cooked. Take it out and then dip into sugar syrup with rose water. Ready to serve.
SHELF LIFE – 2 TO 3 DAYS (Refrigeration required)
Made from milk solid by sauteing them on low flame. Afterward, flavors of your choice are added with powdered sugar. Then spread on a greased tray. Cut then into the desired shape and ready to serve. Just like fudge.
SHELF LIFE 2 to 3 days.
NAMAK PARA OR PAPDI – Crunchy flattened wheat flour bread made with whole wheat flour, semolina, and Indian spices
SHELF LIFE 15 to 20 days.
Balls made from Whole wheat flour, powdered sugar, clarified butter, and coarsely grounded nuts.
SHELF LIFE 15 to 20 days.
BESAN KE SEV
Crunchy noodles made from a soft dough of Gram flour with spices from noodle make machine. These noodles are deep-fried and served. Made all over India but the spicy Besan ke Sev of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are world famous. Ratlam in MP and Bikaner of Rajasthan is hub for Besan ke Sev and these savory item is exported from these two cities to rest of the world. Bikaner and Ratlam are famous for their savory gram flour noodles worldwide.
SHELF LIFE 15 to 20 days.
MOONG DAL HALWA
Soaked unskinned green lentils are grounded coarsely. Then this mixture is sautéed on low flame by constant stirring with lots of Ghee (clarified ghee). After done, powdered sugar and Mawa (optional) is added. Ready to serve.
SHELF LIFE 5 TO 6 days
CHAKLI / MURUKKU
A very popular West and South Indian savory snack. Made from lentils powder and given a special shape by machine. Deep-fried.
SHELF LIFE 20 TO 30 days.
A very popular North Indian savory snack which has to be freshly consumed. Deep friend boiled potato cuboids are topped with whisked yogurts, Coriander-Chilli dip, Date & tamarind dips. Some people garnish with chopped onions, besan ke sev too.
SHELF LIFE – To be consumed after preparing.
These food items are sweets and savory snacks that are prepared in advance.
DAY 1 – DHANTERAS DINNER FOOD MENU
SWEET OF THE DAY – Rasogulla & Besan Ki Barfi
STARTERS – Samosa with Chutneys
MAIN COURSE – Kadhai Paneer, Aloo Gobhi, Poori, Boondi Raita.
DAY 2 – CHOTI DIWALI OR NARAK CHAUDAS DINNER FOOD MENU
SWEET OF THE DAY – Nariyal Ladoo & Atta Halwa or Carrot Halwa
STARTERS – Namak Para, Papdi Chaat, Aloo Chaat.
MAIN COURSE – Chole, Puri, & Paneer Butter Masala.
DAY 3 – DIWALI THE MAIN DAY – DIWALI LUNCH & DINNER MENU
SWEET OF THE DAY – Kalakand, Gujiya, Mysore Pak, Gulab Jamun
STARTER – Chana Chaat
LUNCH MAIN COURSE – Veg Pulav, Dal Tadka, Dum Aloo, Roti & Jeera Rice.
STARTER – Dahi Vada or Dahi Bhalla, Besan Sev, Sev Puri, Chakli
MAIN COURSE – Kachori or Stuffed Khasta Kachori, Boondi Raita, Aloo Mutter Paneer
DAY 4 – GOVARDHAN OR ANNUKUT LUNCH & DINNER MENU
SWEET OF THE DAY – Rice Kheer, Moong Dal Halwa
LUNCH – MAIN COURSE – KADHI CHAWAL
DINNER – STARTERS – Mathiya, Chorafali, Namak Para, Besan Sev or Vada Pav.
MAIN COURSE – Annukut vegetable made from 56 vegetarian ingredients mostly all seasonal vegetables with rice or poori (Indian bread)
DAY 5 – BHAI DOOJ FOOD MENU
SWEET OF THE DAY – Kaju Katli, Rabdi or Kulfi
LUNCH – STARTERS – Vegetable Fritters.
MAIN COURSE – Rajma Chawal or Vegetarian Biryani or Daal Baati with Baigan kaa Bhartha
DINNER – STARTERS – Samosa, Mini kachoris & Pani Puri
MAIN COURSE – Kachoris, Veg. Kofta, Gatte ki Sabzi Boondi Raita, Jeera Rice
ACCOMPANIMENTS IN INDIAN FOOD
INDIAN FOOD GLOSSARY –
- Ghee – Clarified Butter
- Mawa – Milk Solids
- Paneer – Cottage Cheese
- Raita – Whisked Yogurt dip
- Chutneys – Dips
- Chashni – Sugar Syrup.
- Kesar – Saffron strands
- All ingredients can be found at Indian grocery stores worldwide or can also be ordered online through Amazon or reputed online sites.
SOME DIY DIWALI LIGHT DECOR IDEAS – Diwali Sweets & Festival Tour – Virtual Tour Of Indian Festive Food
I am pretty sure that you must be feeling very hungry for Indian festive food after reading this post. I would love to know about your favorite Diwali Sweets & Festival Tour – Virtual Tour Of Indian Festive Food and please do mention about your Diwali rituals in comments below as it would be interesting to know how people celebrate Diwali or Deepavali in their family. So do not wait and rush to your kitchens to cook some of the amazing festive food from various parts of India. Till then “Have a Happy Diwali and Wish the divine lights of Diwali bring peace, prosperity, happiness, and love to your life.“ Diwali is celebrated not only in India but all over the world with lots of enthusiasm. Many global events are held on the occasion of Diwali or Deepavali . Countries like the United States of America, United Kingdom, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Nepal, Australia too celebrate Diwali with many events and celebrations.
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