Sweet And Spicy Diwali Treats

No festival is complete without delicious short eats. So, make your family's Diwali extra special with these mouth-watering sweets, snacks and sides. Relish them with your loved ones, spread the joy!

By Ruchira Ramanujam

Sweet And Spicy Diwali Treats

Want some inspired and innovative treats to make the festival that much more special? Make these sweet and savoury snacks at home. Be prepared for an explosion of flavourful sensations! 

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Paneer skewers with mustard marinade

Moist paneer peppered with the sharpness of mustard, grilled for that wonderful charred flavour is a true crowd pleaser. Tastes great as a starter or as an accompaniment for herbed rice, or even as a topping for a creamy gravy.

Ingredients (Makes 12)

  • 200g block of paneer
  • 2 capsicums
  • 1 onion
  • 4 baby corns
  • 12 six inches bamboo skewers
  • oil for the grill

For the marinade

  • 2 tbsp thick curd
  • 1 tbsp whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp powdered Kasuri methi
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • pinch of turmeric powder
  • salt to taste

Method

  1. Cut the paneer into 12 cubes and soak in a bowl of hot water. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. Cut the capsicums, onion and baby corn into large pieces.
  3. Simultaneously, mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Drain the paneer and add it to the marinade. Toss gently. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  4. Remove paneer from the marinade and set aside on a plate. Toss the cut vegetables in the marinade that is leftover in the bowl.
  5. Push two pieces of capsicum, one piece each of onion, baby corn and paneer onto each bamboo skewer.
  6. Meanwhile preheat a grill pan, or tava, or a large frying pan and brush with oil.
  7. Place the paneer skewers on the hot pan and grill on medium-high heat for about a minute before turning to cook the other side.
  8. Serve hot.
Sweet And Spicy Diwali Treats

Atta Nankhatai

Nankhatai is the quintessential Indian cookie or biscuit, that pairs beautifully with a steaming cup of hot tea or milk. Crumbly, buttery and flavourful, these earthy, whole-wheat cookies make for a refreshing change from the heavy mithais and fancy desserts.

Ingredients (Makes 24 pieces)

  • 1¼ cup wheat flour
  • ¼ cup fine semolina
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ cup sugar, ground fine
  • 150g soft butter or ghee
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped pistachios
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder

Method

  1. Mix together the flour, semolina, salt, cinnamon powder and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the soft butter or ghee to the bowl and combine until a soft dough forms.
  3. Cover and refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or baking paper.
  6. Take tablespoon-sized pieces of the dough and roll into balls. Flatten the balls slightly and place on the prepared sheet about 2” apart.
  7. Use a fork or knife to score the top of each of the cookies slightly.
  8. Mix together the pistachios and cardamom powder and sprinkle a pinch in the centre of each cookie.
  9. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the edges turn slightly brown. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet before serving them.
  10. Store in an airtight container for about a week.
Sweet And Spicy Diwali Treats

Lemony white chocolate and oats laddu

Introducing the irresistible truffle-like laddus that combine a zesty lemon fragrance with the flavour of white chocolate and oats. If you’re looking for an easy homemade Diwali treat for friends and family, look no further than this one!

Ingredients (Makes 12)

  • ½ cup oats
  • 200g white chocolate, chopped
  • 100ml fresh cream
  • zest of 2 lemons or ¼ tsp lemon oil
  • ½ cup cashews, coarsely powdered

Method

  1. Lightly roast the oats in a dry pan. Cool and powder in a small mixer. Set aside.
  2. Place the white chocolate and cream in a medium bowl and microwave for a less than a minute. Stir well and microwave again for 30 seconds or until the chocolate is melted smooth.
  3. Add the powdered oats and lemon zest to the melted chocolate and stir well.
  4. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until chocolate mixture is set, yet soft enough to scoop.
  5. Scoop out the mixture with a tablespoon and roll into balls. Roll the balls in the powdered cashews and set on a plate for serving.
  6. The laddus can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. If you so desire, you can leave them out on the counter for an hour to soften slightly before serving.
Sweet And Spicy Diwali Treats

Ram Laddu

Not your usual sweet laddu, these savoury moong dal vadas are a popular chaat in the bylanes of Delhi, especially Chandni Chowk. You can choose to deep fry the batter as in the original dish, or cook it in a paniyaram pan, with minimal oil as we have done. 

Ingredients (Makes 20)

  • ¾ cup split yellow moong dal
  • ¼ cup chana dal
  • 1.5” piece ginger
  • 2-4 green chillies
  • large pinch of asafoetida (hing)
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ cup oil for frying
  • To garnish
  • 2 radishes, coarsely grated
  • 1 tsp chaat masala

Method

  1. Wash and soak the dals separately for 2–3 hours. Drain well.
  2. Grind the moong dal with the ginger, chillies, asafoetida and salt to a fine consistency, adding minimum water. Also, grind the chana dal and mix together.
  3. Using an electric beater, beat the batter well to make it light and fluffy. You can also add a pinch of cooking soda to lighten it.
  4. Preheat a paniyaram pan with a teaspoon of oil in each cup. Fill the cup halfway with the dal batter. Cover and cook on medium-low heat until brown. Then, flip the vadas and cook the other side. Transfer the browned vadas to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.
  5. To serve, put 4–5 of the vadas in a bamboo leaf bowl. Top with the grated radish. Drizzle with coriander chutney generously and sprinkle with chaat masala. Yum! 

Sweet And Spicy Diwali Treats

Coriander Chutney

The tangy chutney goes well with pakoda and vada, samosa, etc. 

Ingredients (Makes 1/2 cup)

  • 3 cups fresh coriander leaves, washed
  • ½ cup mint leaves, washed
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon

Method

Place all the ingredients in a mixer jar and grind until smooth, adding a spoon or two of water as needed.

Ruchira Ramanujam runs a popular food blog, tadkapasta.com, with her partner, Ranjini.

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