Diwali is the festival of lights and rightfully “The Indian New Year”. It is not just a festival, but a celebration of people, happiness and togetherness. It is the occasion where people get together, clean homes, decorate their abodes with lamps and lightning.
Rangoli is made outside homes. People burst firecrackers in the evenings to commemorate the victory of good over evil. It is the time of the year where people splurge on new clothes and shoes and dress to look their best. It is also the time of the year where people gorge on the yummy sweets and delicacies. From traditional sweets like laddoos, shakarpara and mithai to fusion sweets like chocolate barfi, soufflé in rasmalai flavor and motichoor cake.
We take a look at Diwali sweets from across India.
Maharashtra has a great variety of sweets in the form of Rava Laddoo, Besan Laddoo andKaranjee/Gujiya. Besan laddoo is made from gram flour, powdered sugar and ghee. Karanjee is made from coconut and sugar filling in crescent moon shape with a textured border. Rava laddoo uses semolina, sugar and ghee. The sweets are yummy and lasts very well for the entire Diwali period.
2) West Bengal
Trust the Bengalis to make the best Indian desserts. Two popular sweets from the eastern India are Rasgulla and Sandesh. Rasgullas are little white cottage cheese balls dipped in rich sugary syrup. Sandesh is a Bengali sweet made with cottage cheese. There are varities like Chocolate Sandesh which is made similarly like Sandesh but with chocolate flavouring.
The food basket of India lives up to its name. Punjabis love their sweets like them happy and enjoyable. Some popular Punjabi sweets during Diwali are Gajar ka halwa, Punjabi pooda andPanjiri. Gajar ka halwa is a winter dessert. It is carrot thickened pudding garnished with dry fruits. Panjiri is a traditional Punjabi sweet made with whole wheat flour.
4) Uttar Pradesh
This North Indian state has some yummy delicacies on its plate too like Gulab Jamun, Jalebi and Pedas. Gulab jamun are soft condensed milk balls fried and dipped in a greasy sugar syrup. Another variety is Kala jamun bigger in size, slightly darker in color and made with cottage cheese. Jalebis are fried saffron colored sweets, sugar soaked and rich in texture. It is often dipped with rasmalai and consumed. Pedas are round sweets, not too sweet made with condensed milk.
The Gujaratis are known for their sweet nature and sweet food so their desserts live up to that claim. Shrikhand and Basundi are two very popular Diwali desserts. The common factor is that both the sweets are milk based and creamy desserts. Shrikhand is sweetened yoghurt in traditional white and pink flavours. It also comes in a fruit flavor and special mango flavor called Amrakhand. Basundi is milk condensed till it becomes creamy and topped with rich dry fruits to add crunch to the creamy desserts.
6) Tamil Nadu
The southern most part of India too is an expert in making some mouthwatering Diwali sweets. The 2 very popular Diwali sweets are Coconut barfi and Payasum. Coconut barfi is sweet made from condensed milk and is cut into little squares and has a dominant coconut flavor. Payasum is rice pudding which has thick cream and garnished with dry fruits. Pongal is rice cooked with jaggery is a simple and refreshing dessert.
PuranPoli or Holige/Obbattu as it is called. This is a sweet pancake with a filling of powdered jaggery and coconut, flattened and laden with dollops of ghee. There are many varieties, like peanut holige, sugar holige, Coconut holige, tur dal holige, sesame seed, etc. Lot of patience and experience is needed to prepare this dish. They add a pinch of turmeric to make it look yellowish. Another popular dessert is Mysore Pak, a rich sweet dish prepared with clarified butter and gram flour.
The “Desert” state can now also be called “Dessert” state. The Rajasthanis make amazing Diwali delicacies in the form of Anjeer cutlet, Mawa Mishri, Milk Cake and Ghevar. Delicious Anjeer Cutlet of Jaipur is a rich Cashew sweet in cylindrical shape. Milk cake is the Indian cake prepared with milk, mawa and ghee. Sohan Halwa The dish is created with a mixture of water, sugar, milk and corn flour, cooking it gently until it turns solid. A must try!
This Bhojpuri state is also famous for making amazing Diwali delicacies like Khaja. The name literally means just grab it and eat. It is dough layered and soaked in sugar syrup. Other than that. Kaju Barfi, a diamond shaped dessert made with cashew nuts. The best part is it is calorie less and thus a crowd favourite.
The Jat state has laddoos, barfi and jalebi on its platter but in addition to that it has a sweet in the form of Gond ke laddoo and Pinni. Gond ke laddoo are very tiny laddoos with heavy filling of various dry fruits like cashews, raisins, almonds and dates amongst others. This yummy sweet, a kind of a fudge made from rice flour, is a must for Diwali in Haryana and Punjab. If properly made and stored, it will keep for several days!
This neighbor state of West Bengal shares many of its delicacies in the form Rasgulla and Sandesh but in addition to that it has its own too. Chenajhili is another famous dish. It looks like white flattened pieces of dry sweet with no sugar syrup and greasing on it.
12) Himachal Pradesh
This pahadi state too specializes in amazing delicacies. One of the most popular Diwali Delicacies is Babroo Made with dough and sugar, the dish is ideal for the mountain town.
The tea state of the country has another ingredient as its Diwali favorite. It is Narikol or Coconut ladoo. Coconut shred are rolled into small little white laddoos and are a popular Diwali dessert.
14) Madhya Pradesh
The centre of India takes inspiration from all its neighbouring states in the form ofGujiya, Shakker Paare is also famous in MP flaky fried flour crispies coated with sugar syrup. Dry Fruits Barfi and Balushai Deep fried goodness soaked in sugar syrup. Mawa Bati KhoyaJalebi, Garadu (Yam) cannot be missed at all.
15) Andhra Pradesh
This Southern state specializes in Mughlai sweets as form of Diwali desserts like Shahi Tukda Phirni and Qubani ka meetha. Shahi Tukda is bread fried in ghee and soaked in sugar syrup coated generously with milk cream. Phirni is condensed thickened and creamy milk dessert usually serves with piping hot Biryani. Qubani ka meetha Made of apricots, this sweet delicacy is synonymous with Andhra. Other amazing treats from the state include Tirupati Ladoo, Pootharekulu, Ariselu and Karijalu.
16) Jharkhand and Chhattisgrah
These newly independent Indian states make delicious desserts in Diwali in the form ofAnarsa and Khurmi respectively. The former are deep fried oval shaped balls where Sesame seeds are the biggest component of the sweet. Cashew nuts add extra flavor. Khurmi is a Chhattisgarhi sweet deep fried made with jaggery ghee and flour.
The “God’s own country” too produces heavenly desserts. In addition to Payasum and Coconut barfi. Kerala also produces Ilayapam Steamed in banana leaves, this dessert is light yet delicious. Kozhikodan halwa, Unniyaappam amongst others.
This Mountain state borrows heavily from other states in the form of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in the form of Jalebi, laddoos and halwa amongst others. Bal Mithai Indigenous to the state, it is a must try. Singhori is also quite popular. It is a brown colored sweet laden with white colored garnishing and is square shaped.
The Kashmiri Pundits celebrate Diwali with great pomp and show and make the traditional sweets like other Indian states but also make Shufta a special Diwali delicacy is laden with dry fruits and is lip smacking.