Sunday, April 11, 2021

Healthy Diwali recipes: Guilt-free eats to try out

Since we’ve all been making healthful choices this year, here's the way to a healthy Diwali.

Reading Time: 4 minutes 

Homemade energy bars

I love energy bars – whether as a quick bite for breakfast, or a great snack in between meetings. Flavourful and filled with nutrients, they do have a Diwali connect. Surprised? Look up varo, a dry fruit chikki which is a traditional Sindhi Diwali sweetmeat.

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 45 mins

1 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup nuts of choice (almonds, walnuts)

1/3 cup seeds of choice (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame)

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup raisins/dried berries

2-3 tbsp butter/vegan butter/oil

6-7 dates chopped

Dry roast seeds and nuts separately for 10 minutes each, keep aside. Chop nuts up when cool.

Dry roast oats for 10 minutes, keep aside.

Heat oil/butter in a non-stick pan, add dates and cook for a few minutes. Add honey and bring to a boil.

Add all the other ingredients and mix with a spatula.

Turn off the heat and shift the contents to a tray lined with baking paper.

Make incisions in the shape of bars, allow them to set, and then cut in pieces.

Pack them all individually, to keep them from sticking to each other.

Store a box at room temperature.

READ MORE: Easy Diwali: Simple recipes for homemade delights

gulab jamun indian dessert
Credit: Gaurav Masand

Gluten-free Gulab Jamun

Ok, so you shun them all year round, but come Diwali, you give in. Such is the allure of Gulab Jamuns, those syrupy decadent donuts sometimes known as the king of Indian sweets. This recipe is a gluten-free version, made with an unlikely ingredient, sweet potato. Those of you who are gluten-free by choice or compulsion, you can now indulge!

Prep time: 20 mins

Cook time: 40 mins

For sugar syrup:

1.5 cup sugar

1.5 cup water

3-4 drops of lemon juice

5-6 saffron strands

To create the syrup, bring all ingredients to a boil.

Keep it hot by moving to a very low flame or keeping it over a water bath (on top of a vessel that is boiling water)

For the gulab jamuns

1 cup sweet potato boiled and grated

1.75  to 2 cups milk powder

1 tbsp hot ghee

Oil for deep frying

Begin by boiling and grating sweet potato.

Add milk powder to it with 1 tbsp hot ghee.

Knead the dough, add more milk powder if required.

Shape into balls.

Heat oil in a kadhai on low flame.

Fry the balls on low flame.

Use a spoon to keep moving them around slowly in the oil.

Once they turn dark brown, take them out with a slotted spoon and introduce them to the sugar syrup.

Let them sit soaking in the syrup, for a few hours. Try not to move them around so the shape is maintained.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

READ MORE: Kheer cheer for Diwali

indian savoury snack samosa
Credit: Gaurav Masand

Baked vegan samosa

Indian high tea? You gotta have the samosas to balance the Gulab jamuns! But chill, ‘cos we’re baking them here, in our new-world way. Sure, you can get your ready-to-bakes these days, but they’re nothing like these ones, made entirely from scratch. Bake and serve hot with mint and tamarind chutney. Good old tomato sauce works fine too.

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

For samosa pastry

2 1/2 cup plain flour

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water

1/3 cup oil

1 tsp carom/ajwain seeds

Salt to taste

Mix the flour with salt, carom seeds(ajwain), oil and rice flour.

Knead the dough with water to get a semi-hard dough.

Add extra flour as needed to keep from sticking to hands and board

Place the dough in a well-oiled vessel and cover with a cloth/plastic wrap for 15 minutes.

For stuffing

2 cup boiled veggies potato and peas

1 tablespoon oil

½ teaspoon garam masala or curry powder

¼ teaspoon dry mango powder or 1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 tsp ginger and chili paste

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in pan, add ginger/chilies

Add the boiled veggies.

Sauté for 5 minutes, add spices, salt and pepper

To make samosas

Take a small portion of dough and roll into a small disc.

Cut it in two equal halves, make a cone by sticking the edges with water.

Fill the stuffing and close the cone with water. Seal the edges with a fork

Line up the samosa in a baking tray.

Bake in a preheated oven (fan-forced) at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes

Brush/spray with oil and bake further for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown in color.

Allow to cool on the rack. Serve warm.


If you want to bake with whole meal, ensure you use half plain flour and half whole meal. Beware however, as this pastry is a little softer.

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Gaurav Masand
IT professional by mind, photographer by heart. Loves travel and food photography. Blogs at secondrecipe.com

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