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Delicious treats to devour during Diwali
October 30, 2016, 10:28 am

Diwali, the ‘Festival of Lights’, is one time of the year when delicacies are prepared and shared by family and friends. Here, we have put together a few Diwali specialties that you can prepare at home without too much effort or time. So, on this Diwali, rather than buying sweets from the local specialty store, or ordering food from a restaurant, why not try your hand at some of these homemade dishes.

Diwali sweet dishes

Gulab Jamun



1 ½ cups mawa (khoya) 

¼ cup chenna 

¼ teaspoon soda bicarbonate 

3 tablespoons refined flour (maida) 

¼ teaspoon green cardamom powder 

2 cups sugar 

Ghee to deep fry

Preparation: Grate khoya and mash chenna and keep aside. Mix the two along with soda bicarbonate, refined flour, green cardamom powder and a little water to make a soft dough.

Divide into sixteen equal portions and shape into balls. Prepare a sugar syrup with sugar and two cups of water. Clear the syrup by removing the scum, if any.

Heat ghee/oil in a kadai. Add the balls and deep fry on low heat till golden in colour. Drain and soak in the sugar syrup for atleast fifteen to twenty minutes before serving.

Boondi Laddoo

2 cups gram flour (besan)

2 cups sugar

½ teaspoon baking powder

10 cashewnuts

20 raisins

15 green cardamoms

4 saffron (kesar) strands

A few drops of milk

½ kilogram ghee

Preparation:  Shell and powder cardamoms. Add one fourth cup of water to sugar and heat until it melts. To check if the sugar syrup is ready, take a drop of the solution and drop in water – if it remains intact and does not dissolve then your syrup is ready.

Add saffron and cardamom powder to it. (While preparing the sugar syrup, add a few drops of milk. Impurities will collect on the surface in a layer - remove it.)

Separately, add soda and water to gram flour and prepare a paste without lumps. Heat half a kilogram of ghee in a deep frying pan.

Put gram flour in boondi maker and drop the boondi directly into the hot ghee. Fry till light yellow. Drain and keep aside.

Fry cashew nuts and raisins. Add boondi, cashew nuts and raisins to the sugar syrup and mix. Cool. Rub some ghee on your palms.

Make laddoos by squeezing the boondi mixture in your palms and making round balls.

Mysore Pak


¾ cup gram flour

4 cups pure ghee

2 ½ cups desi ghee

Preparation: Sift the gram flour twice. Heat the ghee in a pan and keep it hot over very low heat. Cook the sugar with two and half cups of water over medium heat, stirring continuously till it dissolves. Increase heat and bring the syrup to a boil.

Cook without stirring for about five minutes or till it reaches a single-thread consistency. Add half a cup of hot ghee to the syrup and stir; add gram flour gradually, stirring all the while to prevent lumps from forming.

Stir continuously till the mixture starts bubbling. Pour in the remaining hot ghee half a cup at a time. Every time you add the ghee the mixture should sizzle and froth.

Continue this process till all the ghee is consumed and there is a pleasant sweet roasted aroma. Pour the mixture into a greased tray. Cool a little and cut into squares.

Separate the squares when completely cooled and store in an airtight container to retain its freshness and crispness.

Malai Peda


One liter whole milk

Few strands of saffron (Kesar)

½ cup sugar

Two pinches of citric acid

One teaspoon cornflour/ corn starch

¼ teaspoon green cardamom powder

4-5 chopped almonds

7-8 chopped pistachios

Preparation: Bring the milk to a boil in a deep non-stick pan. Cook, stirring continuously, for about twenty minutes, till it reduces to half its original volume.

Soak the saffron in two teaspoons of warm milk and add to the boiling milk.

Add the sugar and continue to cook for four to five minutes.

Mix the citric acid in one tablespoon of water and add gradually to the boiling milk. Cook till the milk curdles slightly.

Mix the cornflour with the remaining two teaspoons of milk and add to the pan. Cook, stirring continuously, for about forty-five minutes till the mixture thickens and resembles khoya.

Add the cardamom powder and mix well.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Divide into sixteen equal portions and shape into round balls. Decorate with almonds and pistachios, and serve.

Gajar Halwa


8-10 medium carrots

Three tablespoons ghee

¼ teaspoon green cardamom

¾ cup sugar

5-6 sliced almonds

5-6 cashew nuts

10-15       aisins

One cup grated khoya/mawa

5-6 chopped pistachios

Preparation: Place the grated carrots in a microwave proof bowl. Add ghee and mix.

Then add green cardamom powder and mix. Heat in the microwave on high for five minutes. Once done, add sugar and mix.

Once again heat in the microwave for two minutes and then add almonds, cashewnuts, raisins and khoya (keeping aside some khoya for garnish) and mix. Cook in the microwave for another two minutes.

Then garnish with the reserved khoya and pistachios and serve hot or cold.



1 ½ cups refined flour

Two cups sugar

¼ teaspoon orange color

Two cups sugar

One tablespoon milk

½ teaspoon green cardamom powder

Preparation: Place the refined flour in a bowl, add one and a half cups of water and beat with your hands for half an hour to make a light smooth batter. Cover the bowl and keep in a warm place to ferment for twenty hours

Beat the batter again with your hands for fifteen minutes. Add the food colour and two tablespoons of refined flour and beat again for ten minutes.

Cook the sugar with two cups of water in a deep non-stick pan on high heat, stirring continuously, till the sugar dissolves. Add the milk, collect the scum, which rises to the surface with a ladle, and discard.

Add the cardamom powder and cook, stirring, till the syrup attains a one-string consistency. Let the syrup cool, but ensure that it remains lukewarm.

Heat the ghee in a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Pour some of the batter into a squeeze bottle. Hold the bottle over the hot ghee and gently squeeze the batter into the ghee in spiral shapes. Start from the outside and work inwards for better results.

Cook, gently turning the jalebi over occasionally, for eight minutes on each side or till golden and crisp. Drain and soak in the sugar syrup for two to three minutes.

Drain and serve hot.

Diwali main course dishes



One cup chickpeas

One cup potato puree

One tablespoon tea leaves

2-3 dried Indian gooseberry

Five tablespoons oils

Two medium chopped onions

4-6 slit green chilies

Two cubed potatoes

1 ½ teaspoons chana masala

Salt to taste

Preparation: Drain the chickpeas and place them in a pressure cooker with four cups of water. Tie tealeaves and amla in muslin cloth to form a bundle and add it to the cooker.

Cook under pressure for six to eight whistles or till the chickpeas are completely cooked and soft.

Drain the chickpeas and keep the water. Discard the bundle of tealeaves and amla.

Heat two tablespoons oil in a pan and sauté onions and green chilies till lightly browned.

Heat the remaining oil in another pan and fry the potato cubes till golden brown. Add chana masala to the onions and continue to sauté for half a minute.

Add tomato puree and mix and sauté for two to three minutes.

Then add boiled chickpeas and salt and mix. Add the boiled chickpeas water as required and simmer for three to four minutes.

Transfer the chole into a serving bowl, place the fried potatoes over the top and serve hot.

Kadai Paneer


250 grams paneer, cut into cubes

Three medium onions, pureed

Three large tomatoes, pureed

Two teaspoons ginger-garlic paste

One teaspoon red chili powder

One teaspoon coriander powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

One teaspoon garam masala

Two bay leaves

Three cloves

One inch cinnamon stick

Few coriander leaves

Two tablespoons ghee

Salt to taste

Preparation: Heat ghee in a kadai and saute the cottage cheese pieces till golden brown. Soak them in 5 cups water.

In the same pan add bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon sticks, onion paste and ginger garlic paste. Saute well till lightly golden.

Add red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and little water. Mix well and allow the mixture to boil. Add tomato puree and mix again.

Cover and cook for five minutes till oil surfaces.Add salt and drained cottage cheese pieces. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Malai Kofta Curry

150 grams paneer

Three medium tomatoes

¼ cup cashewnuts

Two tablespoons melon seeds

One teaspoon ginger chopped

Two green cardamoms

One teaspoon red chili powder

Salt to taste

One tablespoon oil

¼ cup yogurt

¼ teaspoon green cardamom powder

Two teaspoons refined flour

Two tablespoons fresh cream

¼ teaspoon garam masala.

Preparation: Heat a pressure cooker. Roughly chop tomatoes and put into the cooker along with cashewnuts, melon seeds, ginger, green cardamoms, red chilli powder, salt and one tablespoon oil and mix well.

Add yogurt and mix. Add one cup water and close the cooker with the lid. Cook under pressure till 4 whistles.

Heat sufficient oil in a kadai. Grate paneer into a bowl. Add green cardamom powder, salt, flour and mix well. Take small portions and shape into koftas. Deep-fry these koftas till golden brown.

Drain and place on tissue paper. Once the pressure reduces, open the lid of the cooker and blend the mixture with a hand blender.

Strain the mixture and pour into another non-stick pan and heat. Add a little cream and garam masala powder and mix.

Arrange the koftas in a serving bowl, pour the gravy over, drizzle a little cream and serve immediately.

Paneer Tikka Masala

500 grams paneer cut into cubes

Two medium sized green capsicum

Four tablespoons oil

One tablespoon butter


One cup yogurt, drained

One tablespoon ginger paste

One tablespoon garlic paste

Two teaspoon red chili powder

One teaspoon garam masala

Two tablespoons lemon juice

Salt to taste

Two tablespoons mustard oil

Onion tomato masala

2-3 tablespoons oil

One teaspoon cumin seeds

Four medium onions

7-8 chopped garlic cloves

One teaspoon ginger paste

One teaspoon garlic paste

Three large tomatoes chopped

Salt to taste

¼ cup tomato puree

1 ½ tablespoons red chili powder

¼ teaspoon turmeric powser

One teaspoon coriander powder

One teaspoon cumin powder

One tablespoon freshly chopped coriander leaves

Crushed kasoori methi

One teaspoon garam masala powder

¼ cup cream

Preparation: To make the tikkas combine all the ingredients for the marinade and whisk well.

Dip paneer cubes in the marinade and set aside to marinate for half an hour, preferably in the refrigerator.

Thread the marinated paneer cubes onto skewers. Heat oil on a tawa and place the skewers on it.

Cook turning the skewers a few times, so that the paneer browns evenly on all sides. Take the paneer cubes off the skewers, place on a plate and set aside.

For the onion-tomato masala, heat the oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and when they begin to change colour, add onions and sauté till well browned.

Add garlic and sauté till lightly browned. Add ginger paste and garlic paste and continue to sauté for another minute.

Add tomatoes and salt and cook, covered over low heat till the tomatoes are soft and pulpy.

Add tomato purée, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and half a cup of water and cook, covered, over medium heat for three to four minutes, or till the oil separates.

Stir in the coriander leaves, kasoori methi, garam masala powder and cream. Cook for another two minutes.

Add paneer tikka and capsicum, stir gently and serve with a dollop of butter on top.

Vegetable Hyderabadi Biryani


1 ½ cups basmati rice

Two large potatoes cut into ½ inch cubes

Three medium carrots cut into ½ inch cubes

5-6 French beans cut into ½ inch cubes

¼ small cauliflower

Salt to taste

4-5 strands of saffron

Two tablespoons milk

Four large thinly sliced onions

Oil to deep fry

½ cup yogurt

Three tablespoons biryani masala

1 ½ teaspoons ginger paste

1 ½ teaspoons garlic paste

 Four tablespoons pure ghee

Two tablespoons fresh mint leaves, chopped

Two tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Five quartered cashewnuts

10 almonds, halved and blanched

Two tablespoons raisins

Wheat flour dough to seal as required

Preparation: Pick, wash and soak rice in three cups of water for half an hour. Drain.

Add four cups of water and salt. Bring to a boil and cook till the rice is three fourth done.

Drain excess water and spread out on a plate to cool. Parboil potatoes, carrots, French beans and cauliflower in two cups of salted water.

Drain and keep aside. Dissolve saffron in warm milk.

Heat sufficient oil in a kadai and deep-fry sliced onions till golden brown. Drain onto an absorbent paper.

Beat yogurt. Add two tablespoons of Biryani Masala, half of the fried onions, ginger paste and garlic paste and parboiled vegetables. Allow to marinate for one hour.

Heat ghee in a thick-bottomed vessel, add the marinated vegetables and sauté for two to three minutes.

Add three-fourth cup of water and bring to a boil, then simmer for two to three minutes.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Transfer the vegetables into a thick bottomed handi. Layer the rice over the cooked vegetables.

Sprinkle the remaining biryani masala, mint leaves, coriander leaves and the remaining fried onions. Garnish with cashewnuts, almonds and raisins.

Sprinkle saffron milk. Place a moist cloth on top, cover with a lid and seal with dough.

Place the sealed handi in the pre-heated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Alternately keep the handi on a heated tawa and cook on very low heat for 15-20 minutes. Serve hot.

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