Looking to make your own healthier Indian snacks to serve for Diwali / Deepavali? Try these four recipes for savoury nibbles and sweet treats
Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in the Hindu calendar. It’s a time when families come together to share delicious food while dressed in dazzling new clothes. Whether you are receiving guests this year or just celebrating at home with the family, have you tried cooking up your own healthier versions of traditional Indian snacks? Chef Gayatri Singh shares four of her favourite savoury and sweet Indian snack recipes to make for Diwali this year.
Mixed nuts and sesame ladoo (bliss balls)
There are a plethora of sweets my mum would make on Diwali as a tradition. We get together with family and friends, and we always serve snacks, sweets especially different types of ladoos. This “sesame and nuts ladoo” recipe is my interpretation of my mum’s sesame jaggery ladoos which are quite complex to make. These ladoos are delightful, packed with exquisite flavours, easy to make, and they are healthy too!
– 150g pitted dates
– 100g jaggery grated
– 130g (1 cup) roasted sesame seeds
– 150g almonds
– 50g pistachios
– 1 tsp cardamom powder
– 1⁄4 tsp salt
– 1 tbsp ghee
– 1⁄2 cup desiccated coconut for rolling
1. Chop the pitted dates and keep aside.
2. In a food processor, blend all the nuts and sesame together to make a coarse powder.
3. Tip in the grated jaggery, pitted dates, cardamom powder and salt. Blitz it 2-3 times until the mass comes together.
4. Add in the ghee and mix it well. Roll small balls in the desiccated coconut.
Besan and almond burfi (Chickpea and almond fudge)
For me, Diwali is a celebration of 3 days, and on Lakshmi Poojan, on one of the main days when we worship goddess Lakshmi, my mum would make something sweet and indulgent to offer her in prayers. I wanted to create something similar but achievable for everyone, and this “Besan Almond Burfi” is an absolute delight! This Burfi is made with Gula Melaka, it has a beautiful fudge-like texture, and it’s filled with delightful flavours.
– 100g (1 cup) besan (chickpea flour)
– 90g (1 cup) blanched almond flour
– 40 g (1 cup) toasted coconut flakes (unsweetened)
– 150g (1 cup) gula melaka
– 200ml (1 cup) water
– 2 pinches of saffron
– 1 tsp cardamom powder
– 1⁄4 tsp grated nutmeg
– Sunflower seeds, almonds and desiccated coconut for garnishing
1. In a big pot tip in the ghee and besan. Roast it on a low flame for 20-30 minutes until it gets slight golden colour and nutty flavour.
2. Whilst the besan is roasting, make the gula melaka syrup by mixing water, saffron and gula melaka together. Boil this mixture on a low flame till it reduces to 3⁄4 cup.
3. Once the besan reaches a golden colour, tip in the almond flour and shredded coconut. Mix it and roast for 2-3 minutes.
4. Now add in the gula melaka syrup, cardamom and nutmeg powder. Keep stirring it so it doesn’t stick and get lumpy.
5. Once the syrup is well mixed, fry it on a low flame for 3-4 minutes. It should form a solid mass and it should not be sticky.
6. Once the consistency is achieved, tip the mass into the greased baking sheet. 7. Spread it evenly and sprinkle the almonds and sunflower seeds. Let it cool for 45 minutes and then cut into squares.
No Diwali is complete in West India without this fantastic snack called Chivada. It is made with Poha (thin or thick rice flakes), groundnuts, cashew nuts and many unique ingredients. In my home, there are seven different varieties of “Chivada”, and this particular one is my absolute favourite. We have this Chivada with assorted snacks and tea on Diwali mornings.
– 500g poha rice flakes
– 100g groundnuts
– 50g roasted puffed chana dal
– 50g cashew nuts
– 50g dry sliced coconut
– 50g raisins
– 20g sesame seeds
– 4 tbsp coriander powder
– 2 tbsp cumin seeds
– 1 tbsp cumin powder
– 1 tsp turmeric powder
– 1 tbsp red chilli powder
– 5 or to taste green chillies slited
– 10 sprigs of curry leaves
– 1 tsp asafoetida
– 250 ml oil
– 1 tbsp or to taste salt
– 2 tsp powdered sugar
1. Dry roast the poha for 10 minutes on a low flame. Tip in a big mixing bowl and keep it aside.
2. Heat half of the oil and fry groundnuts till they are golden brown, using a slotted spoon fish them out and pour them over the roasted poha.
3. Fry roasted puffed chana dal, raisins, coconut pieces, cashew nuts, curry leaves and chillies separately and pour them over the poha.
4. Heat the rest of the oil and once hot add in the cumin seeds. Let them splutter, tip in the asafoetida, sesame seeds, coriander powder, turmeric powder and red chilli powder.
5. Mix it well and stir on a low flame for 1 minute.
6. Pour this mixture over the poha. Add in the salt.
7. Let it cool for 15 minutes. Add in the sugar and mix well.
8. Once it cools down completely store it in an airtight jar. Consume within 10 days.
Spicy Makhana (Foxnuts)
I am from West and South India, and till I got married, I didn’t know about this ingredient, Makhana (fox nuts). In my in-law’s place, this spicy snack is made during Diwali. It’s not only delicious, but it is super healthy, and might I add, addictive.
– 250 Fox nuts
– 1 tbsp coriander powder
– 1/2 tsp each cumin powder and red chilli flakes
– 1 tsp or to taste red chilli powder
– 30g roasted groundnuts (peanuts)
– 1 tsp jaggery powder
– 1 tsp powdered white sugar
– 1 tbsp sesame seeds
– 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
– Salt to taste
– 1 1/2 tbsp oil you can use ghee too
1. Mix all the spice powders and keep it aside.
2. Heat 1/2 oil in a large wok and roast the fox nuts on a low flame for 5-7 minutes. Keep an eye in it as they burn very quickly.
3. In the same wok add rest of the oil and cumin seeds, let them splutter.
4. Add in the spice blend (keep 2 tsp aside) and salt.
5. Tip in the roasted fox nuts and groundnuts, mix it well.
6. Sprinkle the rest of the spice blend and sugar, mix well.
7. Let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container. Consume within a week.
All images courtesy Gayatri Singh