Diwali also known as the Festival of Lights is celebrated mainly in India. It symbolizes the victory of good over evil, right over wrong, and light over darkness. It is a grand festival that lasts over five days. In recent years, the most widely celebrated festival in India has gone global. From the community Diwali celebrations, grand Diwali parties, fireworks over the Hudson River, to the first public Diwali greetings by an American President in 2021, all point toward the growing popularity of this festival in the US.
Traditionally, the festivities involved lighting oil lamps all around the house, worshipping Laxmi, the Goddess of prosperity, festive clothes, jewelry, gifts, food, and lots of sweets and desserts. It is the time of the year when friends and family reunite to join in the celebration, making it the most cherished occasion.
Here at FoodServiceDirect we are all about food, so we are breaking down the five traditional recipes for Diwali delicacies. If you're up for it, we've added recipes which you can whip up at home or to add a festive dessert plate to your menu. Whether you are missing home, or would like to show your cultural appreciation for those celebrating Diwali, this is a great place to start.
1. Kaju Katli: It is an absolute favorite Diwali dessert of all time. Made with cashews, it has a mild sweetness that makes it desirable to everyone with or without a sweet tooth. The chances of anyone turning down a Kaju Katli are slim to none. Long story short, Diwali festivities are incomplete without Kaju Katli.
Kaju Katli Recipe:
- Pulse and blend 2 cups of cashews to a fine powder in a blender
- Sieve to remove all lumps and keep aside
- In a large pan, add 1 cup of sugar and ½ cup of water
- Boil until 1-string consistency
- Add in the powdered cashew and mix well
- Stir until a smooth paste is formed
- Add 1 tsp ghee and ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- Continue to cook until the mixture starts to separate from the pan
- Grease a butter paper with ghee and transfer the mixture onto it
- Fold the mixture to form a dough
- Place butter paper on top of the dough and roll using a rolling pin into a uniform slightly thick sheet
- Cut into diamond-shaped bricks
- Let them cool and store them in an airtight container
2. Gajar Halwa: Gajar Halwa is an ambrosia for sweet lovers. Traditionally, it is made by slow cooking the carrots in milk. Here, we will use condensed milk to hasten the process without losing out on the flavor. Serve this delightful sweet treat to your family and guests and leave them impressed.
Gajar Halwa Recipe:
- In a large pan, add ½ tbsp ghee and heat it
- Fry sliced almonds, cashews, and pistachios until golden and set aside
- Add finely grated carrots to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes
- Pour ½ cup condensed milk
- Mix well and cook on medium heat
- Place the lid and cook until the carrot is tender
- Add ½ tbsp cardamom powder
- Add 1-2 tbsp of ghee
- Mix well and cook until the milk dries (is not a soupy wet mixture)
- Once the milk dries, turn off the flame and add the fried nuts
- Enjoy warm or chilled
3. Kheer: Kheer is a dessert that graces every special occasion in Indian households. Each family will have its variation carried down from generations. It is a type of pudding made by cooking rice, sugar, and milk together until it thickens and turns into a rich, creamy deliciousness. Although it’s a bit of a time-consuming process, it will surely be worth every second.
Ingredients: Basmati rice, full-fat milk, saffron, sugar, cardamom powder, sliced almonds, cashews, rose water
- Rinse and soak basmati rice for 15-20 minutes
- Boil 1-liter full-fat milk in a heavy-bottom pan on medium-low heat while stirring occasionally
- Once the milk comes to a boil, take 1 tbsp in a bowl and add saffron strands to them
- Add the soaked rice to the boiling milk in the pan and mix well
- Cook on low heat until the rice is half done
- Add 5-6 tbsp of sugar and mix well
- Continue cooking on low-medium heat while stirring occasionally
- When the rice is almost done, add ½ tsp cardamom powder, sliced almonds, and cashews
- Add the saffron milk
- Mix well and cook until the rice is completely done and the mixture has thickened
- Add 1 tbsp rose water
- Enjoy the kheer warm or cold
4. Barfi: Barfi is a creamy, milk-based fudge that is typically prepared by reducing milk. It is less often prepared in households and is more often purchased from local confectioneries that prepare barfis in large quantities. Substituting milk with milk powder will make it a quick-fix recipe that can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes.
- In a bowl, mix and combine 2 ½ cups of milk powder, ¾ cup of sugar, and 1 cup of milk
- Transfer the mixture to a heavy-bottom or non-stick pan
- Add ¼ cup of ghee and mix on a low flame
- Keep stirring until it thickens and starts to separate from the pan
- Line a baking dish with baking paper and transfer the mixture onto it
- Press and make it even
- Top with sliced pistachios and press them
- Refrigerate for an hour until it sets
- Demold and cut into squares
- Store in an airtight container
5. Coconut Ladoo: This 3-ingredient dessert recipe requires no heat and gets ready to eat in less than 10 minutes. And it is also a gluten-free Diwali recipe. What’s not to like?
Coconut Ladoo Recipe:
- Mix 3 cups of sweetened condensed milk, 4 cups of desiccated coconut, and 1 tsp cardamom powder to a smooth mixture
- Divide the mixture into portions and roll them into tight balls
- Roll each ball in desiccated coconut flakes