Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

One cannot imagine celebrating a festival without some lip-smacking delicacies. We look at 10 delicious food recipes, from our readers, that add sumptuous sparkle to the joy of the festive season.

By Team ParentCircle

Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

India celebrates a myriad of festivals throughout the year. While Holi is celebrated with colours, Diwali is associated with the lighting of diyas. However, no festival is complete without the abundance of scrumptious sweets and mouth-watering savouries. We at ParentCircle bring to you the winners of our #FestiveCookingContest along with some of the best recipes we have received. We just had to share them!

Congratulations to the Top 3 winners — Santosh Bangar, Sanchita Mittal and Madhurima Basu!

Scroll down to discover some irresistible and innovative recipes.

Click here to join the Joy of Celebration Circle 

1. Paneer diyas stuffed with mango

Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

By Santosh Bangar

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 cup paneer (homemade chenna)
  • 1 tbsp oats powder (roasted)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pinch cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp coconut powder 
  • Cream for decoration

Method:

  1. Wash and peel the mango. Cut into small pieces.
  2. Crush the paneer with sugar and cardamom powder in a grinder to make a smooth paste.
  3. Transfer the prepared mixture to a heavy bottom non-stick pan.
  4. Cook on a slow fire until the mixture becomes a little dry.
  5. When water evaporates, add the oats powder and coconut powder. Stir for a minute. Cool it.
  6. Make small balls of the mixture. Flatten with hands like chapati.
  7. Spread a tiny mango on one chapati and cover it with another chapati.
  8. Seal from all sides put it in the fridge for ½ an hour.
  9. Now cut into two pieces. Give the shape like a diya on Diwali.
  10. Decorate with cream before serving.

2. Karela mathri/Champakali mathri

Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

By Sanchita Mittal

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups maida/refined wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp ajwain/carrom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 cups oil for frying

Method:

  1. Mix the ajwain, salt, pepper and ghee in the flour well, so that when you take a little dough in your fist, it should not crumble.
  2. Knead with warm water as required to make a stiff dough. Cover the dough with a damp muslin cloth and let it rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Take a little portion of the dough and roll into a thin poori of 3-inch diameter.
  4. Make longitudinal slits with a knife at equal intervals such that the poori remains joined at the ends.
  5. Apply water at the edges and roll it sealing the edges lightly.
  6. Drop each poori into medium hot oil and then reduce the flame to low.
  7. Fry until crisp and golden from all sides, turning occasionally.
  8. Sprinkle chaat masala generously.
  9. Serve hot or store in an airtight container when cooled.

3. Umm Ali

Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

By Madhurima Basu

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet frozen spring roll sheet (thawed) 
  • 500 ml milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • ½ cup almonds, raisins and cashew nuts (cut into flakes)
  • 25 gms unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup dry coconut

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Brush butter inside the baking tray and place the spring roll sheets one after another.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until puffed and golden brown.
  4. Add the raisins, almonds, dry coconut and toss to distribute. Pour into a glass baking dish and spread evenly.
  5. Pour the milk into a saucepan and stir in sugar and vanilla. Heat until hot but not quite boiling. Pour over the mixture in the baking dish.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Serve when it is crispy.

4. Apple jalebi

Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

By Santosh Bangar

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup maida
  • 1/8 cup besan
  • Pinch of baking soda
  • ½ cup curd
  • Yellow colour
  • Oil to fry

Method:

  1. Make a thick sugar syrup. Mix 1/2 cup water in 1 cup sugar.
  2. Peel the apple and scoop out the inner parts. Cut it into round pieces.
  3. Microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. Let it dry for half an hour.
  5. Mix maida and besan. Add little water and whisk it for 5 minutes. Add soda and mix.
  6. Coat apple piece in maida batter and fry on slow fire till done.
  7. Put the piece in sugar syrup for 1-2 minutes.
  8. It is ready to serve with rabri on top.

5. Shahi florets samosa with sweet dry fruit stuffing

Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

By Rujuta Jadhav

Ingredient:

For stuffing

  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • ¾ th cup jaggery powder
  • Chopped dry fruits (cashew nuts, almonds, chironji, dates)
  • Cardamom powder

For dough

  • 1 cup maida
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • A pinch of salt
  • Water for kneading
  • Oil for frying

Method:

  1. Take a teaspoon of ghee in a microwave bowl. Add grated coconut and jaggery powder.
  2. Now add chopped dry fruits (cashew nuts, almonds, chironji, dates) and a pinch of cardamom powder. Mix and combine thoroughly. Microwave for 2 mins and keep aside.
  3. Knead into a soft dough using maida, salt, ghee and water. Cover with a wet muslin cloth and keep aside.
  4. Make even-sized balls from the dough. Now roll out small sized chapatis. Cut the edges to make a square shape.
  5. Stuff the mixture into this and seal it properly using a little water.
  6. Fold it so that you get a flower shape.
  7. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the florets till golden brown.
  8. Serve the dish.

6. Dates and nuts filled khoya samosa

Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

By Santosh Bangar

Ingredients:

  • Seedless dates or about 3/4th cup golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp almonds 
  • 1/4th cup pistachios
  • 1/4th cup walnuts
  • 3 tbsp white sesame seeds (safed til)
  • 1 tsp ghee

For samosa

  • 250 gms khoya
  • 3 tbsp coconut powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Method:

  1. Roast sesame seeds on slow heat.
  2. Roast dry fruits in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. Pulse the dry fruits for 3 to 4 times or more till coarsely ground into small bits and pieces. Don't make a powder or paste. You can also chop them finely. 
  4. Remove the coarse mixture of dry fruits and keep aside
  5. Heat a teaspoon of desighee in a pan. Add the dates paste.
  6. Fry till the dates absorb all the ghee. Add the ground dry fruits.
  7. Roast khoya on a slow fire without letting it change colour.
  8. Add coconut powder sugar to the khoya and mix well.
  9. Refrigerate for half an hour.
  10. Make small balls by spreading on the palm and fill with dates mixture. Shape into samosas.

7. Labongo latika

Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

By Supta Sarkar

Ingredients:

  • ½ kg maida
  • 200 gms ghee
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 10 to 12 cloves

For filling

  • 200 gms khoya kheer
  • 2 tbsp cashew nuts (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp raisin
  • 1 tbsp chopped pistachios

For syrup

  • 1 kg sugar
  • ½ litre water
  • 3 green cardamoms
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon
  • Few strands of saffron
  • Almonds for garnishing

Method:

  1. Mix maida with baking soda, 2 tbsp of ghee and sufficient water, to make a dough.
  2. Divide into small round balls.
  3. Make a syrup with all the ingredients and boil till it reaches 2-string consistency.
  4. Grate khoya and mix with all the ingredients for filling.
  5. Roll the balls in the shape of pooris.
  6. Put some filling and then fold.
  7. Push a clove into the centre of each.
  8. Deep fry in ghee on a low flame till light golden brown.
  9. Put the Labongo latikas in sugar syrup for 15 minutes.
  10. Take them out and arrange on a serving plate.
  11. Garnish with chopped almonds and pistachios.

8. Kesariya falahari malpua

Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

By Sanchita Mittal

Ingredients:

For batter

  • 2 tbsp singhara flour
  • 2 tbsp paneer
  • 1 tbsp samak rice flour
  • 2 tbspcup rajgira flour
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds/saunf
  • 2 green elaichi crushed into powder
  • 1/2 cup water approximately
  • 3 tbsp whole milk powder
  • 3 tbsp yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp pure ghee for frying

For sugar syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cardamoms, crushed
  • 2 pinches of saffron strands/kesar
  • 2 tbsp almonds sliced
  • 2 tbsp pistachios, blanched and sliced
  • 1 tsp melon seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh rose petals

Method:

  • In a mixing bowl, take all the ingredients except the ghee and mix well.
  • If paneer is crumbly then, add 1/2 cup water and use a mixer grinder to make into a smooth free flowing batter.
  • Allow the batter to rest. Keep it covered for 30 minutes.
  • Heat sugar and water on a low flame and let simmer.
  • Stir well so that the sugar dissolves completely.
  • Keep stirring on a low flame until you get a ½-inch string or 1 string consistency in the sugar syrup.
  • Switch the gas off. Add saffron strands and mix well.
  • The syrup needs to be kept warm.
  • Now heat ghee on a flat pan or griddle.
  • While the ghee is heating up stir the malpua batter.
  • Lower the flame and now take a big ladle full of the batter and gently pour it in hot ghee.
  • Make 2 to 3 malpuas at a time depending on the size of the pan.
  • Fry on a low to medium flame until crisp and golden, flipping the malpuas a couple of times occasionally.
  • Drain when done and immediately place in the warm sugar syrup.
  • Gently coat the malpuas with the sugar syrup for a minute or two.
  • Remove and place on a serving tray or plate.
  • Prepare all malpuas this way and coat with the sugar syrup.
  • Garnish with sliced dry fruits, cardamom powder and fresh rose petals.
  • Serve hot malpuas with love.

My tip: Alternatively we can prepare rabdi as an accompaniment for malpuas

9. Apricot samosa with sewaiyan ice cream

Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

By Vandana Gupta

Ingredients:

  • 500 gms refined flour
  • 100 gms clarified butter (desi ghee)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 250 gms khoya
  • 70 gms sugar
  • Pistachio (chopped)
  • 4 tbsp dried apricots (chopped)
  • Oil for frying
  • Few drops of rose water
  • Icing sugar for dusting

Method:

  1. Add refined flour and a pinch of salt and mix. Now add the clarified butter gradually. Allow the flour and butter to rub together.
  2. Pour in about ¾ cup of water and make a stiff dough. Remove the dough to a bowl and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, heat a pan and add the khoya, sugar, and chopped pistachios and apricots. Cook on low heat till all the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat, add rose water and remove to a plate and cool.
  4. Take the dough and roll out into thin sheets. Now cut into square shape and add the khoya stuffing and make into nice ravioli-shaped samosa. Repeat till all the dough and stuffing is used.
  5. Heat oil in a deep pan and fry the samosas till golden brown. Place the samosa on a plate and sprinkle icing sugar, serve hot or cold.

Sewaiyan ice cream

Ingredients: 

  • 36.6 gm powdered sugar
  • 6.6 gm cornstarch
  • 6.6 gm all-purpose flour
  • 10 gm milk powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 350 ml of milk
  • A pinch of kesar
  • ½ cup roasted sewaiyan
  • 4 pods green cardamom
  • 250 ml heavy cream
  • 50 gm icing sugar (more or less according to taste)

Method:

  1. Sieve the powdered sugar, cornstarch, all-purpose flour, milk powder and salt.
  2. Heat the milk with kesar and cardamom.
  3. Now combine milk and all of the above-sieved ingredients.
  4. Heat till thickened and then chill completely.
  5. Whip the cream into stiff peaks adding icing sugar.
  6. Fold into a prepared mixture.
  7. Mix the boiled sewaiyan.
  8. Box up the mixture and keep in freezer until set completely.

10. Tutti frutti cookies

Festive Cooking Contest: Winners And Top Recipes

By Madhurima Basu

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups maida
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • ½ cup tutti frutti
  • 4 tbsp chopped cashews
  • 1 tsp pineapple essence
  • 110 gms Nutralite (at room temperature)
  • 3 tbsp chilled milk

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Add tutti frutti, cashews and mix well. Keep it aside.
  3. Add Nutralite and castor sugar to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Cream together butter and sugar.
  5. Add the dry flour mixture, pineapple essence, and milk. Mix till well combined.
  6. Then, mix in everything together to form cookie dough.
  7. Divide the cookie dough into two equal parts and roll into logs.
  8. Wrap the logs in a cling wrap and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
  9. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  10. Line two baking trays with parchment paper and set aside.
  11. Unwrap the cookie dough logs.
  12. With a sharp knife, cut into ½-inch thick round cookies.
  13. Place cookies on the prepared baking trays and bake in a preheated oven at 170°C for 20 minutes.
  14. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  15. Delicious tutti frutti cookies are ready!
  16. Savour with a cold cup of milk.

So, what are you waiting for? The next time you get ready to celebrate a festival, make it a memorable and a sweet one by trying out the recipes mentioned above.

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