Festival of eats

Reading Time: 9 minutes

This Diwali, expand your culinary horizons and indulge in something festive, unique and celebratory.

Let us help you create a delicious feast for your friends and family that celebrates the true spirit of Indian cuisine. Go on, try these delicious Diwali recipes!

Gulkand and Paan Shots

By Shaheen Ali (Spoon Fork and Food)
Ditch the regular soft drinks or nimbu pani for this very festive drink. The paan and gulkand comes together to create nostalgia in a glass. Serve it chilled in beautiful shot glasses to get the party started.
4 paan (betel leaf)
2 tbsp gulkand (rose petal jam)
½ tsp fennel seeds
½ tsp cardamom
200ml milk
Ice cubes (optional)
Diwali Recipes.Indian Link
-Wash the betel leaves and remove the stems.
-In a mixer, add fennel seeds, cardamom and the betel leaves. Grind to make a fine or coarse paste, according to your preference.
-Collect the ground paste in a bowl and add the gulkand. Mix well with a spoon and keep aside.
-Pour milk into a pitcher and add the betel leaf paste. Whisk well till everything incorporates nicely.
-Refrigerate the drink for few hours and serve chilled in shot glasses. Add ice cubes while serving.

Gujarati-style gujia

By Khyati Raval (Being Desi Girl)
This traditional fried snack from Gujarat is iconic during Diwali. These crispy fried pastries, filled with sweetened dry fruits and semolina, are a must-try this season.
For Pastry:
2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
½ cup wheat flour
½ cup plain flour
¼ cup semolina
½ – ¾ cup warm water to knead the flour
3 tbsp ghee/ clarified butter
1 cup semolina
1 cup sugar (adjust this more or less as per sweetness preferred by your family)
1 tsp cardamom powder
¾ cup mixed dry fruits; chopped
Diwali Recipes.Indian Link
For Pastry:
-In a bowl mix together plain flour, wheat flour and semolina.
-To this, add clarified butter and mix well. At this stage the mixture should come together when pressed between palms.
-Slowly add lukewarm water and knead the dough. This should have a firm/stiff but not dry consistency. Once the dough is ready, apply some clarified butter, cover and keep it to rest.
For stuffing:
-In a heavy bottom pan, heat clarified butter and when hot, add semolina. Keep stirring and roast until semolina is lightly brown and raw smell is gone. Once ghee is heated, turn down the flame to slow/medium heat otherwise semolina will burn.
-Keep aside to cool completely. Once cooled, mix in other ingredients for stuffing – sugar, cardamom and mixed dry fruits.
Making gujia:
-Knead pastry dough once again. Take a small portion and, using a rolling pin, roll into small puris (round shapes approx. 2inch in diameter.)
-Spoon the filling inside and close the puri in a half-moon shape. Twist around the edges or use a gujia mould to give it shape. Alternatively you can also press around the edges using a fork.
-Ensure puris are closed properly otherwise they will burst open while frying.
-In a deep pan, heat ghee and deep fry the gujia on medium heat so that the outer layer is cooked well and gujia are light brown in colour.

Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani

By Shyamali Sinha (Foodie’s Hut)
In Kolkata, the frenzy of Bhai Dhooj sets in at the same time as Diwali and this celebration cannot be complete without the quintessential biryani. Here’s a traditional version of Kolkata-style chicken biryani to tickle your tastebuds during the festivities.
Biryani Masala (40gm):
½ nutmeg
5gm or 1 tbsp mace
12gm or 1 ½ tbsp black cumin (shahjeera)
13gm or 1 tbsp white peppercorns
5gm or 1 tbsp allspice (kababchini)
2gm (approximately 12-14pcs) cloves
10-12 green cardamoms
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 small dried bay leaves
1kg skinless chicken pieces (with bones)
For marinade:
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 ½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp biryani masala
½ cup onion paste
1 ½ tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
2 dried bay leaves
4 green cardamoms
3-4 cloves
2-3 cinnamon bark
½ tsp rose water
½ tsp Kewra water or screw pine water
2-3 drops edible rose oil also known as Rose otto or Meetha attar
1 tbsp biryani masala
Salt to taste
To prepare the rice:
3 cups long grain basmati rice (soaked for at least half an hour)
Salt, to season
4-5 green cardamoms
2 dried bay leaves
2 inch cinnamon bark
4-5 all spices
Other ingredients:
5-6 hard-boiled eggs
4 boiled potatoes; cut in half
3-4 sliced onion (approximately 3 cups)
1 tsp rose water
1 tsp Kewra water
2 drops Meetha attar
1 fat pinch saffron
1 tbsp biryani masala
3 tbsp ghee
1 cup vegetable oil
Wheat flour dough
Diwali Recipes.Indian Link
To prepare biryani masala:
-Warm the whole spices on a flat pan or tawa; take care that the spices are just warmed and not roasted. Cool well, grind and keep aside.
(Note: You can make 5-6 cups of Biryani with this masala and you can make this 2-3 days before and keep it in an airtight container.)
To marinate the chicken:
-Add the biryani masala to the yoghurt and mix well.
-To the chicken, add onion paste, salt, ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, red chili powder and the beaten yogurt.
-Mix well to combine and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours in a refrigerator; preferably overnight.
(Note: Before cooking bring the chicken to the room temperature.)
To cook the rice:
-Boil water (double the amount of rice) in a large pot and season with salt. Drain the rice and add half of lemon juice to the rice and mix to combine. Add the whole spices to the water and once it starts boiling, add the drained rice. Stir to combine and cook till the rice is half done (remember not to overcook the rice). Drain and keep aside.
To cook the chicken:
-Heat oil in a large pot and fry the sliced onions till brown. Do this in batches to get the brown colour and crispy texture. Remove and keep aside.|In the same pan, add the boiled potato pieces and fry for a minute to get a crispy texture; remove and keep aside.
-Add ghee to the remaining oil and then add the whole spices. Fry till the spices turn aromatic and then add the marinated chicken. Cook on high heat for a minute and then lower heat to medium and cook covered till the chicken is 80% done. Stir occasionally to ensure that the chicken does not stick to the bottom.
-In a bowl, mix rose water, kewra water and meetha attar.
-Once the chicken is done, add the potatoes, biryani masala and the essence mix; mix well to combine and keep aside.
To assemble the biryani:
-Preheat the tawa over medium-low heat.
-Mix rose water, kewra water, meetha attar and a big pinch of saffron. Stir and keep aside.
-Add half of the ghee to a large cooking pot with lid.
-Add half of the cooked rice to the pot and then layer on top with the cooked chicken. Sprinkle half of the fried onions, essence mix, remaining ghee and half of the biryani masala on top. Then layer on top with the remaining rice, biryani masala, fried onions, mixed essence and finally add the hard boiled eggs.
-Put the lid on and cover the side of the lid with the dough, so that steam cannot escape. Foil can also be used but the dough works better.
-Then place the pot on the preheated tawa, and over the lowest heat possible let it cook for 20 minutes.
-Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes before serving warm with a raita or salad.

Shahi Paneer

By Sonal Gupta (Simplyvegetarian777)
Since we don’t want the vegetarians to feel left out, here is a rich, creamy and indulgent Shahi Paneer for you. Guaranteed food coma!
For Shahi Paneer:
400gms paneer, cubed or sliced thin into squares or triangles
Shahi Paneer Masala (see below)
Shahi Curry Paste (see below)
2 tsp oil
½ tsp turmeric (haldi)
Salt to taste
½ tsp Kashmiri lal mirch/Degi mirch/paprika
1 tsp sugar
2 ½ to 3 cups water
For the Shahi Curry Paste:
1 medium red onion, red, chopped roughly
¼ cup cashews
¼ cup melon seeds (magaz)
3 pods garlic, chopped roughly
2 cups water
½ cup milk
For the Masala:
1 bay leaf
1 small piece cinnamon stick
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp fennel seeds
3 cloves
3 black pepper pods
1 black cardamom
3 green cardamom
1 red chilli, whole dry
½ tsp kasuri methi
Garnish (optional):
Kasuri Methi
Kashmiri Lal Mirch or Degi Mirch or paprika
A few saffron strands
Diwali Recipes.Indian Link
-To make Shahi Paneer Masala with whole dry spices:
-Take a heavy bottom pan. Add bay leaf, green and black cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, black pepper corn, fennel seeds, red chili powder, kasuri methi, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and whole red chili dry to it.
-Toss these spices in the pan on medium heat for about 3-4 minutes till they are slightly roasted and not brown. Please do not brown the spices.
-Switch off the flame. Let the spices cool down to room temperature.
-Grind these spices into a fine spice powder.
-You can do this step in advance.
-Set aside.
To make Shahi Curry Paste:
-Take a medium size sauce pot. Add onions, garlic, cashews, magaz/melon seeds to it along with 2 cups of water. Bring it to a boil and let it cook on medium heat for about 7-8 minutes till onions become soft and pinkish.
-Switch off the flame. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Strain the leftover water in the pan and add to the curry later while cooking.
-Take a blender. Add the boiled and strained onions, garlic and nuts along with ½ cup milk to the blender and make a smooth paste. Be careful while running the blender since the paste ingredients might still be slightly hot.
-The milk will remain fine without curdling since there are no tomatoes in it.
-Make a fine paste out of the ingredients and set aside.
-You may make this paste in advance and keep to use for later.
Making the Curry:
-Heat 2 tsp oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add the curry paste and curry masala powder along with sugar, salt, turmeric and Kashmiri red chilli powder to the pan.
-Stir all the ingredients well. Cook on medium low heat for about 6-7 minutes, till the paste leaves the sides.
-Once the paste becomes thick, the yellow color from turmeric will become magical and deepen.
-Add 2&1/2 to 3 cups of water and the water saved from the boiled onion. Stir and mix it well. Bring it to a boil and then put it on simmer.
-Add the cut pieces of paneer to it and simmer with the curry for about 6-7 minutes until thick.
-Garnish with some dry kasuri methi, some kashmiri lal mirch and few saffron threads. This step is optional but a beautifully presented dish increases the appetite!
-Shahi Paneer is best served with Naan and Jeera Pulav (Cumin Rice) or Lachcha Parantha.
Note: In case you do not find magaz or melon seeds, use 2 tbsp almonds. To make the recipe vegan, use extra firm tofu in place of paneer, and almond or soy milk in place of regular milk. In case you like your curries reddish, you may use 1 medium tomato along with onions etc to bring a little colour.

Kaju Chocolate Burfi

By Sonal Gupta (Simplyvegetarian777)
2 cups cashews (kaju)
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup milk
Ghee to grease the plate
Edible silver foil, to decorate (optional)
Diwali Recipes.Indian Link
-Grind the cashews in a grinder to a fine powder. Keep aside. Make sure not to grind them too fine or you will end up with an oily paste.
-Take a heavy bottom pan and add the sugar and water. Cook on medium heat till sugar is completely dissolved. We are not looking to make a toffee, it is a simple sugar syrup.
-Once the sugar is dissolved, add cashew powder, milk and cocoa powder. Cook on a low flame, while stirring continuously with a thick spatula.
-After 8-10 minutes, the batter will leave the sides and come to the center. Switch off the flame.
-Grease a plate with ghee.
-Spread out the mixture evenly on the greased plate, about 1/2 inch thickness. If you are using the silver foil, apply it now.
-Let it cool to room temperature and set for about 3-4 hours.
-Slice in either squares or diamonds.
-These burfi can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days. Refrigerate later, if any left!

Masala Chai Semifreddo

By Dhanya Samuel (The Spice Adventuress)
For all those who want to indulge in true Indian flavours in a unique manner, here is a delicious no churn ice-cream with the much loved masala chai flavour. Perfect for sunny days!
400ml full cream milk
400ml condensed milk
A pinch of salt
3 tbsp T2 organic spiced chai blend (use any blend you wish)
200 ml water
250ml heavy cream
Crushed pistachios (optional); to garnish
Fresh figs (optional); to garnish
Diwali Recipes.Indian Link
-Add the chai blend to water and bring to boil (adding the chai blend to cold water and slowly bringing the water to boil helps to deepen the flavours). Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
-Strain and return the liquid to heat; simmer for another 4-5 minutes to slightly thicken the infusion. Remove and allow to cool.
-Place the milk, condensed milk and salt in a pan and bring to boil; stirring continuously. Reduce heat and add the tea infusion. I added one tablespoon at a time, tasting after each till I was happy with the flavour. Since the strength of your tea infusion might vary, taste and add enough to get that warm chai flavour but not too strong to overpower the dessert. I added approximately 7-8 tbsp of the infusion.
-Continue to cook for another 10-12 minutes till it reaches the consistency of a thin custard. Allow to cool and then chill in the fridge
-Whip the cream into soft peaks and then fold into the chilled milk mixture.
-Line the tin with baking paper and pour the mixture into the tin. Freeze for at least 4 hours or till set.
-Garnish with crushed pistachios and serve with fresh figs on the side.

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