India is a country well known for its rich & diverse culture, and tradition. It is a nation where every festival is celebrated in unique special ways. Interestingly, the way of celebrations for a same festival differs from region to region. Each festival has an intriguing and divine history behind them. And Diwali is no exempt from it. Diwali is a festival of new beginnings, joy and light. It is the celebration of the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil. Diwali is also one of the festivals that both adults and kids eagerly wait for. The reason obviously being the excitement that proliferates with decorating our household with luminary lamps (Diyas), preparing sweets and snacks, and the friendly turf war with our neighbors, for as to who sets fire to the loudest and longest fireworks.
History behind the Festival of Diwali
The festival of lights is celebrated to mark the return of lord Rama-chandra – believed to be the seventh avatar of lord Vishnu – to his people after completing 14 years of exile from his kingdom to the Dandaka forest. During his time in the forest lord Rama-chandra is believed to have fought and triumphed a battle with the demonic king Ravana. The festival is also the celebration of the fall of the demonic king which is presumed as the triumph of good over evil.
Diwali Tradition & celebrations
In some parts of India Diwali is celebrated for five days.
- Day 1 Dhanteras – cleaning up of homes and place of business,
- Day 2 Naraka Chaturdashi – prayers are offered as a way to liberate souls from ‘Naraka’,
- Day 3 Lakshmi Puja – families get together and share their happiness with sweets,
- Day 4 Annakut – is spent by playing ‘Game of Dyuta’,
- Day 5 Bhai Duj – is a day to celebrate the sister-brother bond.
In the South Indian regions Diwali is celebrated for a single day. People dress up in new outfits, offer prayers, and consume variety of sweets and non vegetarian dishes.
Here we are going to take a look at some of the most popular Diwali Sweets and Snacks that keeps the festival mood going all day long.
23 Must Have Diwali Sweets and Snacks:
Kaju Katli, also known as Kaju Barfi is a popular Indian sweet made by thickening the mixture of cashews paste, and sugar solution. Then the paste is spread on a flat bottomed plate, and allowed to set for a period of time. After the paste is set, a piece of edible silver foil is placed on top of it and the paste is cut in to diamond shaped slices. Kaju Katli is a tradition Diwali sweet. It is quite easy to make and readily available on most sweet shops. This sweet is a favorite to all, without age difference.
Laddu, is a traditional and favorite sweet of many Indians. It is made from bengal gram flour, ghee, oil, sugar, and dry fruits. There are different types of laddus. Boondi laddu, besan laddu, coconut laddu, and rava laddu are the most famous ones. Children often tend to swallow up a whole piece of laddu in a single attempt. It is extremely a delight to watch on. A sight enjoyed by the elders in the house.
Badusha, also known as Balushahi is done by frying small stiff dough made with the mixture of flour pastry, ghee, until it turns to light golden color. Then the fried dough pieces are put in sugar syrup to absorb it. Badusha is a dessert which is both crunchy and sweet making it the favorite of people who love to have crunchiness on their food. Usually, it is served before a heavy Diwali lunch meal.
If there is one thing that people should not miss out on the auspicious Diwali day, it is tasting halwa. They are often made of flour, ghee, sugar, dry fruits, or with carrots, beetroots, and other vegetables. There are a variety of halwa – semolina halwa, carrot halwa, pineapple halwa, rice flour halwa, and sesame halwa are common varieties that are prepared and tasted by people. A small bowl of finely made halwa in the evening completes Diwali.
Adhirasam is a traditional South Indian sweet that is a must in the list of sweets to be made on Diwali, in most of the households down south. Particularly, in the state of Tamil Nadu there are no Diwali celebrations without Adhirasams. The doughnut like pastry is cooked with rice flour, sesame seeds, cardamom powder, and jaggery syrup. To make authentic traditional Adhirasam it usually takes 3 to 4 days as the preparation of batter needs a proper fermentation.
Gulab Jamun, on the enunciation of the very name most of the Indians begin to feel a tickle on their taste buds. These irresistible small balls of soft and sweet dessert, when made to perfection just melt right after we place them in our mouth. This is the reason why it is hard for people to stop consuming them even after having a bowl full. The delicious sweet is easily made from readymade Gulab Jamun mix available in stores. The Gulab Jamun mix is knead to dough consistency, mold in to small balls, fried until they reach golden state, put in to sugar syrup, and garnished with dry nuts.
Payasam / Kheer
Payasam, also known as kheer is a traditional and popular type of pudding in Indian. It is a simple yet rich dish primarily made using milk, variety of dals, cereals, and nuts. Payasam has a lot of varieties. Paal payasam, semiya payasam, aval payasam, and javvarisi payasam are famous varieties that find a place in festival feasts. They are usually served after a good heavy meal.
Mysore Pak is an authentic, versatile South Indian sweet with a fudge like texture. It is prepared with gram flour, sugar, ghee, and cardamom (optional). Originating in the city of Karnataka during the period of Maharaja Krishnaraja Wodeyar, it is traditionally served on all happy occasions and festivals, especially on Diwali. The sweet is prepared in two forms, with generous amount of ghee a soft melting version and a dry stiff version with scalable quantity of ghee.
The popular Bengali sweet is loved by millions of Indians throughout India. The classic Bengali dessert is done by rolling paneer in to soft small balls and dropping them in to sugar syrup. Absolutely, no Bengali household would celebrate Diwali with absence of Rasgulla. The moment these well soaked soft balls are placed in our mouth, it instantly elevates our festive mood. That is also the reason why every sweet shops in town have these scrumptious Rasgullas displayed in the front glass racks.
Rasamalei also known as Ras Malai is a royal Indian festival dessert which is served on all special occasions and festival. The luscious Bengal dessert is prepared by curdling milk to create paneer, then they are mould to small disc shapes, boiled in sugar syrup, allowed to soak up in rich creamy thickened milk, and garnished with dry nuts. Celebrations are incomplete without experiencing the perfect blend of softness and juiciness of rasamalei.
If you are a South Indian, when it is Diwali, you know it is time for the crispy and crunchy texture Murukku. In South India during Diwali every family make Murukku in large quantity and distribute it to their relations and neighbors. The rich crisp savoury snack is made by primarily using rice flour, urad dal flour, salt, and oil. Murukku has many variants. Kai murukku, mullu murukku, kaara murukku, and achu murukku are popular varieties of Murukku.
Vada is a traditional and very popular snack in South Indian. It is believed to have originated in the state of Tamil Nadu during 100 BCE. Vadas are made in numerous varieties. The most popular ones are medu vada, masala vada, palak vada, and batata vada. The crisp outer layer and soft spongy inner layer make them an apt Diwali evening snack. Some even taste vada along with a hot pongal for breakfast in the morning on Diwali.
Thattai, also famous as Thattu Vadai are deep fried crispy rice crackers that are a delight to taste and is an important part of Tamil cuisine. It is done by mixing apt ratio of rice flour, urad dal flour, chana dal soaked in water, curry leaves, salt and red chilli powder to form a dough. Then the dough is separated to small balls, placed on a hand, tapped to flattened thin shape, and deep fried until they turn to golden brown color on both sides.
Kara Boondi is simply the spicy version of sweet boondi which are prepared using gram flour and rice flour, chilli powder, and curry leaves. They are one of the most relished snacks down south, particularly in Tamil Nadu. And that is why they are a mandatory snack in the Diwali food menu. Kara Boondi is an easy to make perfect spicy snack to be tasted along with the Diwali sweets.
Susiyam / Suyyam / Seeyam / Siyam / Suzhiyan
Susiyam / Seeyam / Suyyam / Siyam / Suzhiyan is a traditional sweet recipe that is prepared as part of the Diwali sweet list. They are made using chana dal and jaggery. Some even use green gram. The outer layer of Susiyam is crisp while the inner layer is filled with soft and sweet poornam. Susiyam is simple and easy to make in a short span of time. Hence they are not only favorites to people who consume but also to people who make them.
Paniyaram occupies almost all festival food menus in South India. Their fluffy and chewy texture makes them the much sort after sweet recipe from children to adults. To make Paniyaram, first rice and black lentils are turned to batter, and then the batter is steamed cooked in a mould. They can be prepared both with spiciness or sweetness according to the taste of the individuals.
Namak Para is prepared using maida flour, wheat flour, cumin seeds, carom seeds, ghee, and oil. Maida flour, wheat flour, and salt is mixed well, ghee is poured in to the mixture and is mixed well, then the mixture is turned in to a stiff dough with the addition of water, the dough is separated to small balls, spread to disc shapes and is cut in to small diamond shaped pieces, and is deep fried till it reaches golden brown color. Then the oil is dried and they are sealed in an air tight container and snacked up on for 3 to 4 days.
Gujiya, also called as Gujia is one of the most popular traditional dishes of North India. There are wide varieties of Gujiya. Coconut gujiya, bhaang gujiya, dry fruits gujiya, maava gujiya, and chocolate gujiya are popularly made types. The outer base of the deep fried sweet dumplings is made from maida flour while the inner material is prepared using maava, cardamom powder, finely chopped almonds, and sugar. Gujiya is prepared on Diwali in excess quantity and is preserved in an air tight container and consumed for over a week after the festival.
Pori Urundai is a crispy delicious Diwali snacks made from puffed rice (pori), jaggery, roasted gram, a pinch of cardamom and ginger powder. Pori Urundai is a very popular Diwali snack in Tamil Nadu, particularly in the rural parts. Children love to snack on them. They are easily available in packets at all grocery as well as snack shops in rural zones.
Shankarpali / Kalakala
Maida Sweet Biscuits also known as Shankarpali is prepared using maida flour, cardamom powder, ghee, and sugar. Sugar and cardamom is grinded and mixed with maida flour, then the mixture is turned in to a stiff dough with the addition of water, the dough is cut in to small diamond shaped pieces, and is deep fried till is reaches golden brown color. The oil is dried and they are sealed in an air tight container and snacked up on for 3 to 4 days.
If there is a perfect tea time crunchy snack on Diwali it is Karasev. The traditional snack is prepared from gram flour, rice flour, salt, and chili powder. The spicy quotient can be altered according to the taste of the individuals. The easy to make spicy and crispy snack is made in bulk quantity on Diwali and is shared among people of neighborhood. These little tasty savory snacks are perfect party treats.
Mosaru Kodubale is a crisp and spicy traditional recipe of Karnataka that is prepared as part of the Diwali snack list. They are made using rice flour, curd, cumin seeds, green gram, finely chopped green chillies, and curry leaves. All the above ingredients except rice flour are put together and brought to boil, then rice flour is added to it and knead well, the dough is shaded to small rings, and deep fried till slight change in color. Mosaru Kodubale is simple and easy to make in a short span of time. Hence they are not only favorites to people who consume but also to people who make them.
Mathri, also famous as Mathiya are deep fried crispy spiced flour crackers that are a delight to taste and is an important part of North Indian cuisine. It is done by mixing apt ratio of maida flour, whole wheat flour, coarsely crushed black pepper, kasuri methi, ghee, oils, salt, and cumin seeds to form dough. Then the dough is separated to small balls, placed on a hand, tapped to flattened thin shape, and deep fried until they turn to golden brown color on both sides. This flaky spiced snack is too good to be missed on a merry Diwali evening.
There you have it, the most popular, most tastiest and most sought after Diwali Sweets and Snacks across the country.
Wish you all a very Happy Diwali and Prosperous New Year. May this Diwali bring you loads of happiness in your life.