Diwali Food: 23 Things to Eat During This Beautiful Festival

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I’ve only been to India once but I already want to go back, there’s so much to eat – especially Diwali festival food. Here’s what you need to eat for Diwali 2021.

When is Diwali 2021

In 2021, Diwali is celebrated on November 4, 2021.

 

What is Diwali Festival

Diwali is a five day celebration that occurs in autumn each year, following the cycle of the moon, in either October or November.

India’s Diwali is one of the most interesting and beautiful festivals in the world.

The ‘Festival of Lights’ was traditionally a Hindu celebration but is now one that is also celebrated by Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains, particularly celebrated in India and Nepal.

This is a bucket list item for me but as much as it’s the Festival of Lights I’m most interested in the food.

This festival is celebrated in late October and into November so we’ve missed the boat this year but it could be a plan in 2021.

It is known for the amazing range of candles and lamps, illuminating cities during the festival.

Along with the wonderful festivities, there are delicious traditional Diwali festival food.

If you are lucky enough to participate in Diwali you can’t miss these eats.
 
 

 
Plate of Diwali food on dark grey background.

Diwali Food You Can’t Miss

Food is such an important cultural aspect in India, a country where the food varies wildly from north to south. 

I have divided the foods to eat by savour vs sweet Diwali snacks as I’m always looking for the savoury!

Diwali Sweets

Mithai

This is a name for all of the Indian sweets and desserts.

While sweets are an important part of the culture all year round there are a number of specialty Diwali mithai for the festival.

Chirote

This Diwali food is a light and flaky dessert pastries. Chirote are stuffed with a sugary filling, deep fried, and usually served drizzled with syrup.

You can’t go wrong with fried and sweet!

 
Barfi are Indian sweet white squares made with condensed milk and and one of the Diwali festival foods you must try. Discover the other 22 foods.

Barfi

Creamy sweets that can be served by themselves or with a selection of other mithai.

Barfi are a white creamy square made with condensed milk, sugar and nuts. They are cooked together until they solidify then cut into squares.

Karanji

Small pastry pockets that are stuffed with poppy seeds, grated coconut, sugar, nuts and cardamom.

Crescent shaped similar to empanadas, karanji take quite a bit of time to prepare, which is why they are often reserved for special occasions such as Diwali.

 

Diwali Snacks – Savoury

Samosas are a fried pastry in India and one of the Diwali festival foods you must try. Discover the other 22 foods.

Samosa

These traditional Indian snacks are common around the region during Diwali.

Samosas are small pockets of pastry, usually shaped into a triangle, stuffed with minced meat, peas, lentils and other vegetables.

Mawa Kachori

Mawa is a thick dried milk product common in the area of Rajasthan where these desserts originate.

These small pastries are stuffed with a combination of mawa, nuts, cardamom sugar and often drizzled with syrup to serve.

 
Laddoos are Indian chickpea flour snack balls and one of the Diwali festival foods you must try. Discover the other 22 foods.

Laddoos

Another Diwali food prepared in the Indian subcontinent are laddoos.

These are ball shaped sweets made with chickpea flour, wheat semolina and coconut.

Laddoos are cooked with ghee, while some variants will stuff these balls with pistachios or almonds.

Lapsi

A common fruit in Nepal, this is often candied and shared with friends and family during the Diwali festival.

Particularly in its native Nepal, with the fruits themselves being around an inch in diameter with a tart, sour flesh which is white, with a green and brown skin.

 
Kaju Katli are diamond shaped cashew sweets from India and one of the Diwali festival foods you must try. Discover the other 22 foods.

Kaju Katli

A sweet that is often cut into diamond shapes and decorated with edible silver colouring. Kaju Katli translates as cashew slice.

It is made with cream, sugar and ground cashews, which are made into a smooth paste and then cooked on a flat tray or dish.

 
Soan Papdi is a flakey dessert from India made with chickpea flour and one of the Diwali festival foods you must try. Discover the other 22 foods.

Soan Papdi

A Diwali dessert that is most commonly found in the northern states of India, sohan papdi is made with chickpea flour, sugar and milk.

Although it looks quite dense has a more flaky texture when eaten, and is often served with other sweets.

 
Gajar Halway is a dessert in India made with grated carrot and one of the Diwali festival food you must try. Discover the other 22 foods.

Gajar Halwa

A dessert that is often found in northern India, gajar halwa is made with grated carrots.

They are combined with sugar, milk and water before they are cooked in ghee.

The dessert is also sometimes garnished with almonds or other chopped nuts.

 
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Gulab Jamun are fried dough drizzled with syrup in India and one of the Diwali festival foods you must try. Discover the other 22 foods.

Gulab Jamun

Records of this sweet have actually been found in medieval India. Gulab Jamun is made with curdled milk and a little flour which are kneaded into a dough.

This Diwali food is then dropped into hot oil for frying and drizzled with a scented syrup made with rose water and cardamom.

Puran Poli

Most commonly found in the south of India, puran poli is a flatbread made with jaggery, cardamom and nutmeg and has a nice sweet flavour.

While in some areas the jaggery can be combined with sugar to add extra sweetness.

 
Aloo Tikki are fried Indian potato cakes and one of the Diwali festival foods you must try. Discover the other 22 foods.

Aloo Tikki

Made with potatoes that are shredded and formed into small patties before being fried, these Diwali snacks can also be served as a side to a main meal.

But do not skip the condiments as will usually find the aloo tikki patties served hot with mint sauce, yogurt and tamarind sauce, or other regional sauces.

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Anarsa

These pasty treats are labor-intensive to make. This is why they tend to be associated with the special occasion of the festival, with rice being soaked for three days before being dried and ground into powder.

This is then combined with jaggery and poppy seeds before being shaped into discs and fried in ghee.

 

Pakoras are deep fried snacks in India and one of the Diwali festival foods you must try. Discover the other 22 foods.

Pakora

These savory snacks are deep fried vegetables or minced meat, with egg to bind it together.

They are dipped in batter before it is cooked and one of my favourite things to eat.

You can also find these during Holi – check out Holi Food: 23 Things to Eat.

Choddo Shak

This tasty Diwali festival food originates in Bengal. Choddo shak are made with fourteen different types of leafy green stir fried with chilies and herbs.

It is usually reserved for special occasions like Diwali as it’s so time consuming to make.

Gathiya

These small and light brown sticks look similar to a hardened spaghetti cut into strips of around an inch each.

However, gathiya are actually very light and tasty snacks, that are nicely spiced with black pepper and carom seeds, and make for great nibbles during the festival.

Mullu Murukku

Looking like a knot of knobbly rope, mullu murukku may not be the most attractive food, but it is a tasty one.

It is spicy and made with rice flour and cumin seeds, before they are fried , while a special piece of equipment is usually required to make these distinctive snacks.

 
homemade tasty Diwali food or Diwali snacks or Diwali sweets like rava laddu, chakli, sev, shankar pale and chivda or chiwada with dry fruits in white bowls, favourite indian diwali recipe

Chivda

Snacks that are quite similar to a Bombay Mix.

These nibbles are shared with friends and family and include raisins, peanuts, mustard seeds and a type of flattened rice known as poha, which are cooked and flavoured with turmeric powder and green chili.

Dahi Bhalla

Often found as a street food in India, these light fried dumplings are given an extra kick of flavor with green chilies and raisins.

Dahi Bhalla are usually served smothered with yogurt and tamarind chutney.

I love researching traditional food for festivals and holidays. You really see just how diverse a country or even region can be.

While we’ll miss Diwali festival food in India, I’m going to see if I can find some of these treats in Toronto, these dahi bhalla are calling my name, who wouldn’t want the spicy, yogurt and tamarind.

Mathiya

Light and crispy snacks that are flavoured with chili powder, mathiya are common in the Gujarat region of India.

They are made by kneading a light dough with water and ghee along with the chili powder before frying, and are sometimes sprinkled with more chili after cooking.

Chirongi Nuts

These nuts are cultivated in many areas of India.

They can be eaten raw or toasted before they are eaten, with a flavour that is similar to an almond, with the toasted nuts having a slightly stronger flavor.

 

What did I miss? Have you been to Diwali? What else needs to be on the must eat list?

Pin it For Later: Diwali Food

Images (c)Shoko Muraguchi, Divya Kudua, Sumeet Jain, Divya Kudua, Neil FazonMohammad Meenhaj Uddin, Kiyo

Join the Conversation

  1. Thanks for sharing. I’ve known about Diwali for a while thanks to one of my good friends who comes from India. But she never mentioned that there were certain foods related to the festival. Definitely quite interesting.

  2. Gagan Chauhan says:

    Yummy post, Ayngelina! My personal favorite is Kaju Katli and I’m going to get me some immediately right now. But you didn’t mention which one you like the best! If I had 3 guesses, I would say, Gulab Jamun, Kaju Katli, or Soan Papdi. Nevertheless, very delicious post! Thanks for reinvigorating the mental taste buds. Cheers

    1. Yes I love Gulab Jamun

  3. Dan at Budget Jetsetter says:

    I live near a huge indian community and this post is extremely helpful. I do enjoy Indian food here and there but it’s mostly limited to mainstream items.

  4. Love that you have covered food from many different regions of India. I am only familiar with some of these, the ones that my mum and our families cook, which are North Indian dishes and sweets. So much tastiness here!

  5. Nicoletta @sugarlovespices says:

    My husband is passionate about Indian food and celebration. And Diwali is a wonderful celebration. I am familiar with just a few of the foods you mentioned, loving particularly samosas (the vegetarian version) and pakora. So thank you for introducing to me other beautiful foods.

  6. I have many favourites but Pakoras I can’t live without! Very exciting to be partaking in a Diwali celebration this Sunday with lots of food! I’m starving myself right now ;).

  7. Colleen Milne says:

    What a wonderful post! I have been to Diwali festivals in BC’s lower mainland when I live there and the food is one of the highlights for sure. My mouth is watering, going through this post. Yum!

  8. Lyndsay // Coco Cake Land says:

    I’ve always loved gulab jaman … yum, so many delicious looking foods in this post!

    1. I totes agree ???

  9. Samantha | My Kitchen Love says:

    I didn’t realize there were so many stunning foods for Diwali Festival. Kaju Katli in particular is a show stopper. I also love the pakora photo in this post.

  10. Julianna Barnaby says:

    That all looks incredible! Happy Diwali. Now need to go and make some of those dishes!

  11. So much amazing food in India around Diwali … can’t wait to get there to try some for myself!

  12. website design company in ranchi says:

    Yummy post! thanks for the sharing.

  13. Fiona Maclean says:

    Gosh what a feast! Diwali is such a lovely festival. I’ve had a few of these – sweet ones only – when I’ve been to Diwali events but never realised there was such a variety

  14. Hospital in Ranchi says:

    I love samosa! great post and nice article !! thanks for sharing.

  15. I had a visit in India last year to see historical places and I visited Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan. I loved Rajasthan because of their hospitality. I enjoyed the traditional thali, in which you will get varieties of veggies, pulse, salad, bread (Chapati) and Daal Baati Churma (A famous sweet dish of Rajasthan)

  16. Roshni Raturi says:

    I love all these dishes. Being an Indian I am familiar with all these tasty food . I can’t even compare these dishes, because all are my favorite . Some of those dishes i cook myself on Diwali. I suggest you should try these Indian dishes and enjoy it once.

  17. Was lucky to have a tried a few of these a few years ago and I have to say, those sweet nutty Indian pastries are the best!

  18. Alex Steven says:

    Wow! this is like an amazing flashback for me. I’ve been to India not precisely during Diwali but I got a chance to taste some really delicious cuisines. Some of them were spicy but trust me there were worth tasting. Lovely experience I have had there. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Oh wow this food looks so good. This was such an interesting read, as I have never been to India. Will be helpful for when I visit. Thanks.

  20. It’s impressive that you have covered most if not all the Diwali specialties! I would also like to mention the Motichoor Laddu which is a really popular kind of Laddoo during this period. Food, Light and Fireworks are the highlights of Diwali celebrations in India.

    Just want to add that the Samosas in India (especially during festivals) will have potatoes as their main ingredient. Most Hindus avoid meat during festivals.

  21. Prashant Jaiswar says:

    Thank you for the lovely post and I wish you all Diwali 2018.

    Happy Diwali 2018 ???

  22. this really helped me with my research for my food project thank you 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I’m so happy to hear that!

  23. I m hungry to see this and also make some dishes for the family on Diwali and thank you for sharing all pictures. and I will try all the dishes on upcoming Diwali.

  24. mahi sultan says:

    wow ,such a nice post.great list of foods for Diwali festival.I will surely gonna try some of them.
    thank you for the post .

  25. angry video game nerd says:

    this website lied because it said samosa is a sweet and im pretty certain that it isnt. please correct this or the mafia will be at your door

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I think you may have read incorrectly as it doesn’t say it’s sweet.

  26. Pavan Singh Baitule says:

    A beautifully written article by a beautiful author.

  27. Violet Green says:

    OOOW!!!! Yes, I am glad to I found that such remarkable knowledge. I love Indian sweet most. And this Diwali is a optimum gift to give to someone. I know, in the Indian tradition, sweets are gifted. I just order Indian sweets online for Diwali. I think there is such a site which offers great Indian food online, at a low price. Ya, visit here!!! to get fastest delivery of quality Indian sweet online for his Diwali also it is in your budget..

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