Want to explore new Indian dishes other than curry? These Diwali recipes are exactly what you’ll need!
Diwali is the most important holiday in India. Also known as the festival of lights, it’s a celebration of the triumph of light over darkness.
The festival spans five days, which is spent decorating houses, buying new clothes, exchanging gifts, and of course, sharing a magnificent feast with family and friends.
If you’re thinking about joining the celebration, here are 25 traditional Indian recipes served at Diwali.
This comprehensive list is complete from breakfast to dinner, and from savory appetizers to hearty entrees to heavenly desserts.
You’ll also find both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options here, so there’s really something for everybody.
Happy Diwali, indeed.
Kheel namkeen is a sweet-salty snack made of kheel (sweet puffed rice), roasted peanuts, and tomato chips stuffed in roasted papad (deep-fried dough).
The mixture is seasoned with chat masala, red chili, and ginger powder, so this snack definitely packs a punch.
Serve it with hot tea for a delightful afternoon treat.
Butter murukku is a crunchy, chip-like snack popular in South India.
The word murukku means “twisted,” which refers to the snack’s signature shape.
These narrow strips are made of deep-fried rice dough. Think churros, but richer and a lot crunchier.
The dough is flavored with salt, butter, and Indian spices, so expect them to be highly addictive.
Thattai is another deep-fried snack in India. Just like murukku, it’s also made with rice flour. In fact, these two snacks are often prepared and served hand in hand.
The only difference is, Thattai chips are round and flat, as opposed to the murukku’s strand-like profile.
Ribbon pakoda is a variation of the murukku. It has the same base of rice flour and besan dough, but is shaped into flat, long ribbons.
They don’t only look great but taste awesome as well. They’re very light, crispy, and crunchy, and thanks to a blend of Indian spices, they’ll taste just divine.
5. Gulab Jamun
Say hello to the first of many desserts in this collection. A Diwali celebration is not complete without gulab jamun!
Gulab jamun is a gorgeous dessert of sweet and moist balls soaked in a thick, sugar syrup.
The balls are made of flour, powdered milk, baking powder, and clarified butter. It forms a dough that’s then rolled into smooth balls and deep-fried in ghee.
6. Aloo Chaat
A staple street food item, aloo chat isn’t only popular at Diwali, but all year-round, as well. It’s a decadent snack of fried potatoes seasoned with Indian spices and chutney.
If you’re not a fan of greasy snacks, you can also boil the potatoes and enjoy a healthier alternative.
This particular recipe pan-fries the spuds and flavors them with yogurt, tamarind, dates, and chutney. The contrast of flavors is strong in this snack!
Sev is another addictive snack with a crunchy and savory profile.
Its dough is made of gram flour and spices that’s shaped into thin and long strands, which are then deep-fried in oil.
What makes sev extra special is the blend of flavorings that go into the dough, namely turmeric, red chili, hot oil, and Indian spices.
Chakli is yet another variation of murukku – a delicious deep-fried snack made of rice flour, gram flour, and spices.
These spiral-shaped snacks are light, crunchy, and bursting with flavor.
There’s no one way of flavoring chakli, which means you’re free to make them as mild or as spicy as you like.
9. Carrot Halwa
Carrot halwa is a delectable dessert made of carrots. Yep, there are other carrot-based desserts other than carrots cakes and cupcakes.
This is a rich, creamy, and melt-in-your-mouth pudding studded with dried fruits and nuts.
Its vibrant colors and flavors make it a staple in Diwali, as well as other Indian festivals and special occasions.
Mathri is a North Indian snack of crispy and flaky crackers.
They’re made extra tasty by salt, spices, and seasonings, and go perfectly well with chai tea and pickles.
The great thing about this recipe is that you have the choice of frying or baking the crackers. They’ll come out wonderful, either way.
11. Aloo Tikki
Aloo tikki is a snack of crisp potato patties seasoned with herbs and spices.
Aloo tikkis can be stuffed with chat masala (a mix of spices), chana dal (split chickpeas), and other herbs and spices. But for this recipe, you’ll stick to the basics.
Serve these tikkis with mint chutney or stuff them in burger buns for a hearty snack.
Karasev looks and tastes somewhat like murukku (deep-fried spiral snack), but with a more aromatic and deeper flavor.
Its taste profile comes from a combination of red chili powder and coarsely ground peppers. It’s definitely spicy, so only try them if you can handle the heat.
13. Paneer Makhani
Paneer makhani is an indulgent Indian stew cooked in butter, tomatoes, and cream. Garam masala and other Indian spices give it a bit of heat.
Swimming in this thick gravy are chunks of crumbly cottage cheese or paneer.
Serve this with rice, naan, or roti for a satisfying vegetarian meal.
Nippattu are crispy and crunchy rice crackers originating from the Karnataka (a southwestern Indian state) cuisine.
These round, biscuit-like treats burst with different flavors coming from roasted peanuts, dry coconut, cumin, chili powder, curry, and sesame seeds.
They’re enjoyed as an evening snack and are also highly popular at Diwali and other Indian festivals.
Jalebi is yet another deep-fried spiral-shaped snack. Unlike the savory murukku and chakli, though, this one is sweet.
Think funnel cakes, but instead of powdered sugar, jalebi is coated in sugar syrup. This creates a crispy, crystallized sugar crust, which makes the snack even more delectable.
Ladoos are sweet and chewy balls made of flour and sugar. In this variation, the balls are formed from a dough of desiccated coconut, condensed milk, melted butter, and finely ground pistachios.
To top it all off, the balls are rolled in more ground pistachios to create another layer of texture and flavor.
I guess I already know what dessert I’m making this weekend!
Kheer is a traditional Indian rice pudding made by slow-cooking basmati rice in milk, sugar, saffron, and cardamom. This transforms the rice into a smooth and creamy kheer that’s simply divine.
A variety of nuts and dried fruit are added to the kheer for textural variety.
18. Vegetable Pakora
You probably can tell by now that Indians have a love affair with deep-fried snacks. Pakora is yet another one.
This time, instead of dough, a mix of vegetables is dredged in batter and deep-fried until golden. The vegetables can vary from carrots and cabbage to beans and bell peppers.
19. Dahi Papdi Chaat
Dahi papdi chaat is a refreshing delicacy of papdi (deep-fried dough) topped with boiled potatoes, chickpeas, onions, chutneys, tomatoes, and spices. It’s a colorful plate full of hearty and delectable flavors!
It’s a mix of sweet, salty, tangy, or spicy tastes, and it’s simply delicious.
From the words namak and para/pare meaning salt and pieces, relatively, we can gather that namak para is a salted snack sliced into pieces.
Just like many other snacks featured on this list, namak para are also made of dough that’s deep-fried to crunchy perfection.
They’re sliced into diamond pieces for extra appeal.
Shakkar para is a scrumptious snack of crispy bite-sized sugar cookies made of flour, sugar, and ghee.
As you may have probably guessed, the cookie dough is deep-fried to make the cookies wonderfully light and crispy.
Simple roasted cashews, in my opinion, are already pretty flawless. I can’t get enough of their crunch and unique, nutty flavor.
In India, though, the simple snack is given a makeover by coating the nuts with a batter of flour, spices, and seasonings.
They’re then either roasted, deep-fried, or air fried to crispy perfection.
Badam burfi is India’s version of fudge. It’s made by combining almond flour, rose water, cardamom, saffron, and ghee.
Normally, badam burfi takes some level of expertise to make, but even newbie home cooks can pull off this simplified version.
Poori is a popular Indian snack of crispy, chewy, and tender puffed bread. This versatile snack can be enjoyed on its own, or served with chutney or alongside curries and stews.
Capping off this list is the badusha, which is India’s very own donut. It’s also pillowy and tender, just like a regular Western donut, but with a uniquely flaky texture.
The dough is made by combining flour, ghee, and baking soda. They’re deep-fried until golden brown and garnished with a lemon sugar syrup, almonds, and saffron strands.
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