Sweetmeats are the stalwarts of Diwali celebrations, but save space for other Indian treats too. Whether you’re planning a simple meal or a regal feast, do check out our vegetarian Indian recipes, easy curry recipes and regional Indian dishes.
This is an occasion when many will enjoy meaty masalas and grills alongside dhals and vegetables. Choose your favourite from our top 10 dhal recipes and try a confirmed classic or a twist on the traditional. Although it’s traditionally a time for indulgence, you can also enjoy lighter cooking styles, which feature healthy Indian dishes and nourishing, healthy curries. Check out our guide to Diwali for more on the festival of light’s folklore and rituals.
Top 10 recipes to celebrate Diwali
1. Pistachio barfi
Barfi comes in so many shapes, sizes and flavours and is much loved for its cardamom flavour and soft, fudgy texture. It’s made by simmering milk until creamy and thickened. It is then sweetened, spiced and mixed with finely chopped nuts. A decorated box of barfi makes a great Diwali gift. Try our pistachio barfi for a decadent sweet treat.
2. Gulab jamun
These soft, fresh cheese gulab jamun dumplings are fried until golden and then dunked in a scented rose and saffron syrup and left to soften. Make them a day or two before needed so that they can absorb the syrupy goodness. Serve piping hot.
3. Cardamom biscuits (nan khatai)
Introduced to India by the Mughals, these sweetly spiced, buttery cardamom biscuits are especially popular across South Asia during the festival season. Gram flour and semolina provide an extra layer of nutty flavour and crunchy texture. Enjoy with a warming mug of aromatic chai.
4. Punjabi semolina halwa (suji halwa)
This warming pudding is made with roasted semolina, homemade ghee and cardamom-infused syrup. It’s simple and quick to put together and can also be made with roasted wholewheat or chapati flour.
5. Rice pudding (kheer)
This deluxe Indian rice pudding, known as kheer, can be served hot or chilled. Creamy, slow-cooked rice is given a stylish makeover with citrusy cardamom, auburn-hued saffron and plenty of dried fruit and nuts.
Take your pick from more globally inspired rice pudding recipes.
6. Spiced gram flour ladoo (besan ladoo)
It’s worth making your own ghee for this recipe as it has a superior flavour to shop-bought varieties, and heats to a high temperature without scorching. These nutty, buttery sweetmeats are especially popular with children across India. Try making besan ladoo at home with our simple recipe.
7. Carrot halwa (Gajar halwa)
Cooking grated carrots in cardamom milk, butter and sugar give them an almost caramel flavour. Carrot halwa‘s a marvellous warming Punjabi pudding and a family favourite throughout the festive season.
Check out more sweet and savoury carrot recipes in our ultimate collection.
8. Aloo tikki
9. Makhani dahl
There are many variations of North India’s favourite party dhal. This dhal makhani recipe is made with slow-cooked black lentils and kidney beans, spiked with astringent green chillies and finished with tomatoes, cream and plenty of butter.
For more inspiration, try our top 10 dhal recipes.
10. Herby paneer parcels
Paneer is an obliging host for fresh herbs blitzed with garlic, ginger, green chillies and aromatic garam masala. If you’re looking for advice on using up storecupboard spices, take a look at our guide.
Discover even more delicious ways to cook with this versatile cheese in our paneer recipe collection.
Want more inspiration? Check out our sharing ideas…
What’s your favourite Diwali snack? Leave a comment below…