The women of households spend many days preparing food, which is usually in close family gatherings or groups, prior to the festival itself.
Most of the foods made include sweets and savoury snacks. Diwali day itself is usually a large feast.
Diwali cuisine is mainly a vegetarian affair. Some of the dishes cooked for the celebration include:
Channa (chick peas)
Daal Maharani (three different daals mixed)
Navratan Korma (mix vegetables and paneer)
Khasta Aloo (curried potatoes)
Malai Wali Subzi Kofta (diced cabbage and spinach balls)
Nariyal Aur Badam Wale Chawal (Basmati rice with coconut)
Pooris (fried soft round breads)
Raita (plain yoghurt with shredded raw onion and cucumber)
In the UK, in cities and towns with strong South Asian communities such as Southall, Wembley, Leicester, Manchester, Bradford, Leeds and Birmingham have many sweet shops which offer a huge variety of incredible sweets and savoury snacks. Diwali is a very busy period for these shops.
One sweet which is freshly made in front of you on the street is Jalebi. This sticky orange sweet is very moreish and is sometimes enjoyed with milk.
Jalebi is one of the sweets which is most exchanged during Diwali.
Diyas or Divas are very symbolic during the festival of lights.
A Diya is an oil lamp usually made from clay, with a cotton wick dipped in ghee or vegetable oils.
It is lit in households celebrating Diwali to shed light on darkness. We look at a very special treat for Diwali – edible Diyas!
Here is the recipe to make an edible Coconut Diya which contains a Khoya filling. It is a delightful food that can be made with children in the kitchen for Diwali.
5 cups Dry Coconut Powder or fine flakes
1 tin Condensed Milk
1 tsp. Butter or Ghee
1/2 tsp. Cardamom powder
Almonds for wicks
3 cups Full Cream Milk
300 ml Thickened Cream
1 tin Condensed Milk
- Put all the ingredients in a microwave proof container.
- Mix it up
- Heat it on high for 4 minutes.
- Take the container out and stir it.
- Heat it on high again for 4 minutes.
- Stir it again.
If you are not using the Microwave then just heat the mixture in a thick bottomed pan on the stove for 5-6 minutes (or more , until the consistency starts to thicken), making sure that the mixture does not stick to the bottom.
Alternatively you can make the Khoya (Mawa) traditionally or use Mawa powder available from all good South Asian stores.
- Empty condensed milk into large pan (ideally non-stick).
- Add 4.5 cups coconut into the pan and mix well.
- Cook mixture on low heat, stirring continuously. Do not allow the mixture to scald at the bottom.
- Cook until mixture forms a soft lump and leaves side of pan.
- Let the mixture cool for a short time until it can be shaped by hand.
- Grease palms with the butter.
- Roll portions of mixture into ping-pong sized balls.
- Shape carefully into Diyas, with a circular depression and mouth for the wick.
- Coat with leftover dry coconut powder to help handling.
10 Chill in the fridge to allow them to set into shape.
- Fill each Diya with the Kohya filling
- Add an Almond as the wick. And enjoy!