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Diwali Sweets

Diwali is a festival not just for lights, lamps and firecrackers, but for some mouth-watering
delights as well. Each region of India has its own traditional variety of sweets and cuisines made
specifically for this festival. So, for your dining pleasure we have collected these sweets recipes
from the different states of India. It is a way of spreading joy and goodwill among both the givers
and the receivers of these delights.

(Sweetened yogurt with saffron)
Serves 6-8
2 cups plain yogurt (20 fl. oz.)
1 Tbsp warm milk
tsp saffron
tsp elaichi (cardamom) powder
cup sugar
2 tbsp raw pistachio nuts, skinned and chopped
1. Put the yogurt in a muslin bag and hand it up for 4-5 hours to drain whey. Soak saffron in milk
for 30 minutes. Whisk the drained yogurt, sugar, saffron milk, and cardamom together until the
mixture is smooth and creamy. Put in a dish and chill until set. Garnish with the nuts.

Cucumber Cake
Serves 4-6
2 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter)**
1 lb cream of wheat
1 lb cucumber (peeled and grated)
lb jaggery*
1/8 tsp sugar
cup cashews, finely chopped
6-8 cardamoms, peeled and powdered
grated coconut.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Fry cream of wheat in 2 Tbsp. ghee until light brown. Add grated cucumber, jaggery, sugar,
cashews, cardamom powder and 1 Tbsp of ghee. Mix well. Pour in greased pan and bake for
30-45 minutes in oven, until nicely browned.

(Whole wheat pudding)
Serves 4-5
1 oz. of chapati dough

cup all purpose flour

1 gallon milk
cup sugar cardamom seeds*
few strands of saffron
(kesar), dissolved in 1 tsp milk
2-3 drops of Rose water
1. Shape the chapathi dough into rice grains by rubbing small bits of dough between thumb and
forefinger (with the help of a little dry flour). Pithouries formed.
2. Meanwhile put milk in a microwaveable container and heat in the microwave on medium
power for 45 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Add the rice shaped pithouries to boiled milk.
3. Continue cooking milk mixture until it becomes thick and creamy. About 20 minutes. Cool,
Add sugar and remaining ingredients. Chill completely in the refrigerator before serving.

Serves 6-8
1 lb. Ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. cardamom powder*
1. Knead cheese into a fine, smooth paste. In a wok over low heat, cook cheese and sugar,
stirring continuously. When sugar has melted and cheese starts leaving sides add cardamom
2. Remove from heat. While still warm, divide into 25-30 portions. Mold each portion into desired
shape. Serve at room temperature.

(Indian funnel cake)
Serves 6-8
2 cups of skinned urad dal.
1 cups of water
pinch of salt
oil for frying
6 inch square piece of cheese cloth/cake decorating bag
3 cups of sugar
tsp saffron
orange food coloring
vegetable shortening for frying
1. Soak the dal in water for 4-5 hours. Drain. Grind the dal with very little water, to a fine paste,
add a pinch of salt.
2. Heat oil in a deep pan on medium heat. Make a small hole in the middle of the cloth and stitch
to form a round button hole. Put the soft dough in the cloth and gather the four corners and
gently squeeze into the hot oil, while moving your wrist to make a flower shape. Fry it until light
brown. Remove, drain on a paper towel, and keep it aside. Continue until the dal paste has
been used up.
3. Bring water to boil in a medium sized saucepan. Add sugar and let it melt. Then boil it for 4
more minutes. Check consistency by taking a little syrup in between 2 fingers, the fingers should
separate easily and syrup should form one string, otherwise cook a little longer. Do not overcook
the syrup. Add saffron and orange color to the syrup. Stir. Dip fried jhangries in warm syrup and
soak for 2 minutes. Remove from syrup and arrange in a plate. Can be served at room

Kheer Mohan
(Stuffed cheese balls)
Makes about 20 balls
Paneer** of 1 gallon milk
cup khoya** ?
cup mixed nuts, crushed (almonds, pistachio, cashews and currants)
seeds of 2 cardamoms, crushed
4 cups sugar
4 cup water
4 strings of saffron* seeds of 2 cardamoms*
1. For filling mix khoya, crushed nuts and cardamoms. Set aside.
2. Divide paneer into 20 equal portions. Shape into balls. Make a well in the center of cheese
ball and fill with tsp of filling. Close well opening with surrounding paneer. Balls should be
smooth. Repeat the above process until all the cheese and filling are used up.
3. Make syrup by bringing all the syrup ingredients to boil, in a large saucepan. Boil for 12
minutes on medium heat. Put cheese balls into syrup. Cover and lower heat and simmer for 15
minutes. Cool.
4. Serve at room temperature.

Pal Poli
(Crepes in milk)
Serves 16
3 cups all-purpose flour
water to make a firm elastic dough
1 quart milk
1 cup sugar
10 cardamoms, powdered
tsp saffron, soaked in hot water
oil for deep frying
almonds, shredded and fried
1. Make a firm dough with floor and water. Cover and set aside.
2. Boil milk in a heavy saucepan and keep simmering until thickened and reduced. Add sugar,
cardamom and saffron.
3. Meanwhile, divide the dough into 1 to 1- inch-diameter balls and, using flour to dust the
board, roll out into a thin 6" round. Fold in half and seal edge with water. Deep fry in hot oil.
Drain on paper towel. Poli made.
4. Place polis in a shallow dish. Pour the hot milk over the polis and garnish with almonds. This
dessert can be served hot or cold.

China Grass
(Agar-agar pudding)
Serves 4-6
2 Tbsp china grass (agar-agar)
cup water
1 cup whole milk

seeds of 2 cardamoms crushed

2-3 drops of rose water
3-4 drops of food color
6 tsp sugar
With a pair of scissors cut the china grass into 2 inch pieces. Put china grass and water in a
large saucepan and cook on the medium heat. Cook until the chine grass melts (about 10
Add milk and cardamoms and cook for another 5 minutes. Cool. Then add rose water and food
color. Stir well. Pour contents onto a cookie sheet. Garnish with nuts. Refrigerate to set (about 2

(Cream of wheat cake)
Serves 6-8
1 cup cream of wheat
cup shortening
egg replacer for 4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup sugar
2 cups coconut milk, extracted from a fresh coconut
4-6 strands of saffron, dissolved in 1 Tbsp warm milk
1. Roast the cream of wheat in 2 Tbsp shortening. Add the beaten egg replacer, sugar, coconut
milk (keeping 4 Tbsp of coconut milk aside) and saffron. Set aside. Heat the remaining
Remove from heat and stir in the cream of wheat mixture. Heat the mixture again, and stir until it
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the above mixture into 19" pie dish. Pour the 4 Tbsp of
coconut milk on top. Bake a crisp golden brown. Approximately 20 minutes. Cool. Serve.

(Home made ice creams with bean strings)
Serves 10-12
1 gallon whole milk
2-3 cardamoms seeds crushed
cup almonds and pistachio nuts coarsely chopped
tsp saffron, dissolved in 2 Tbsp of milk
1 14 oz. can condensed milk
8 cups water
2 oz. bean thread (falooda)
4 drops yellow food color
4 Tbsp sugar
cup Rooh Afsa (rose syrup)
10 ice cubes, crushed
In a large thick bottomed saucepan, boil milk, on medium heat. Keep boiling milk until it reduces
to gallon. Stir frequently so that no milk sticks to the bottom of a the pan. Add cardamoms,
saffron and nuts.
Cook for 5 more minutes. Then add, condensed milk, Stir and remove from heat. Cool. Put in

Kulfi molds (or popsicle molds). Freeze overnight to set.

In another saucepan, boil 8 cups of water. Add food color and sugar and bean threads. Cover
and turn off stove. Cool to room temperature.
To serve
Remove kulfi from mold. Slice with a sharp warm knife. On individual serving dishes, put sliced
kulfi, cover with a little falooda. Cover falooda with crushed ice and add 4-5 drops of Rooh Afsa
to the crushed ice.

Gul Gulay
(Fried Indian Donuts)
Makes 30 balls
2 cups sugar
1 cups water
juice of 2 lemon
cup baking soda
1 ripe banana-optional
2 cups all purpose flour
oil for frying
1. In a medium saucepan bring sugar and water to a boil. Add lemon juice and continue boiling
for about 7 minutes. Dissolve baking soda in 2 Tbsp sugar syrup. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl sieve flour. To flour add liquid baking soda. Stir 2 cup of syrup at a time into
flour. Mix well in between. Continue until a thick batter is formed. (If banana is being used mash
and add to batter). Set aside for 1 hour.
3. Heat oil in wok. Fry by dropping tablespoonfuls of batter into hot oil. Remove with slotted
spoon. Drain on a paper towel.
Serve hot.
The above recipes are from the Book DAVAT (A Grand Feast from India) courtesy of
the Association of Asian Women in Ohio

More Diwali Sweets

Almond Diyas
200 gms. almonds, soaked and peeled,
120 gms of powdered sugar,
a few drops of yellow color,
1. Grind the almonds to a very fine paste. Mix sugar and almond paste in a heavy pan.
2. Cook on low flame, stirring continuously. Take care that the paste does not stick to the bottom
of the pan. Cook till the paste begins to leave the sides. Remove from the stove and allow to
cool till mixture can be handled.
3. Divide the mixture into two equal portions. Add yellow color to half and mix well. Shape into
diyas (large, flat teardrop shapes) either freehand or with help of a mold. Fill the center with the
yellow mixture, smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Cover the outer surface with silver
foil, or decorate as desired. Allow to dry well or refrigerate until well set.

Coconut Diyas

4 cups of desiccated coconut,

1 tin of condensed milk,
1 tsp. butter or ghee,
1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
1. Pour condensed milk into a nonstick or heavy bottom pan. Add 3 1/2 cups of coconut, mix
well. Cook on low heat, stirring continuously till mixture leaves side of pan. Cool till it can be
shaped by hand.
2. Grease palms with butter. Roll portions of mixture into pingpong sized balls. Shape carefully
into diyas with a depression and mouth for the wick. Coat with leftover dry coconut powder to
help handling. Place a thin long sliver of almond or pista at the mouth for wick. Decorate as
desired. Chill to firm the shape.

Badam Katli
250 gms. almonds, soaked overnight or for at least 4 hours,
200 gms. sugar, powdered,
a few tbsp. of milk,
silver foil,
a pinch of saffron,
1. Peel almonds and set aside. Wash and remove any trace of brownishness. Grind to a fine
paste, using as little milk as possible.
2. In a heavy, large skillet, mix the almond paste and powdered sugar. Cook on a low flame,
stirring continuously, using a large spoon or spatula. Take care that the mixture does not stick to
the bottom of the pan.
3. When the paste begins to leave the sides of the pan, take it off the stove. Add saffron and mix
well. Grease a plate with a little ghee, pour the mixture in it, let it even out. If small lumps
appear, settle the plate so that the mixture evens out. Do not use a spoon or spatula to even out
the mixture.
4. The katli can now be decorated with a silver foil. Mark out diamond shapes with a greased
knife. Allow to cool. When almost cool, remove carefully with a sharp edge knife. Let it cool
completely before storing in butter paper.

Motichoor Laddu
3 cups gram flour,
2 cups water,
4 cups sugar,
3 tbsp rice flour,
oil for frying.
1. Mix gram flour and water to a smooth thick batter. Put water in a large bowl and keep it handy.
2. Heat oil in a kadai and line it with a strainer that fits in neatly. Using a slotted spoon, gently tap
the gram flour batter through the holes into the oil.
3. When done, lift the strainer with the fried boondi and drop on paper towels to drain out the
excess oil. Quickly dip the boondis in the bowl full of water kept ready and remove. Wipe the
strainer dry, before tapping the next batch. When all the boondis are ready, bring water and
sugar to a boil to obtain a syrup of soft ball consistency. Take 3 tbsp of the syrup, heat it in a
thick-bottomed pan till frothy. Add the boondis and stir the mixture till it begins to leave the sides
of the pan. While still warm, shape a little of the mixture into a laddu. Coat your hands with rice

flour or corn flour for easier handling.

Badam Ka Seera
1 1/2 cup of almonds, soaked overnight,
3 cups of hot milk,
250 gm of ghee,
1/3 to 1/2 cup of sugar,
1. Peel the almonds, wash and grind to fine paste. Heat the ghee in a heavy pan.
2. Add paste and cook on first high then low flame, stirring continuously. Allow the paste to turn
light brown in color.
3. When the paste begins to give out a pleasant aroma, mix in the hot milk and stir with a longhandled spatula, since the mixture tends to splatter. As the mixture begins to thicken, add the
sugar and cook, stirring continuously and gently till ghee begins to separate. Decorate with
chopped nuts and serve hot.

Anarsa or Mitha Khaja

1 1/2 cup rice flour,
1/2 cup jaggery,
1 cup water,
1/4 tbsp cardamom powder,
3-4 tbsp poppy seeds or khus khus,
250 gms ghee for frying
1. Heat water in a pan and dissolve jaggery to make well. Strain and set aside to cool.
2. Add cardamom powder and ghee to the flour and knead the flour with jaggery water till the
dough becomes stiff.
3. Divide into 24 to 25 small portions, knead and roll it into 4" discs. Sprinkle poppy seeds on the
discs. Set aside and allow them to dry a little.
4. Deep fry in ghee till the discs turn golden yellow. Cool the khajas till these become crisper.
Serve or store in an airtight container.

2 cups gram flour (besan),
1/2 tsp. ajwain (omam) seeds,
1 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder,
1 tbsp. oil,
Salt to taste,
2-3 pinches of asafoetida,
Water to make dough,
Oil to deep fry.
1. Mix the chilli, oil, salt, and ajwain into the flour. Add enough water to make dough. It should
not be pliable but sticky.
2. Grease the inside of a sev-press and fill with the dough. Press into hot oil, and fry lightly on
both sides. Drain well and cool before storing. One can omit the chilli powder to make the sev
bland. Or one can also add finely crushed dried mint to add flavor to the sev.

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