Shubh Diwali: Rediscovering Long-Forgotten Diwali Foods

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Published on: 21-Oct-2022

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Shubh Diwali: Rediscovering Long-Forgotten Diwali Foods

Shubh Diwali: Rediscovering Long-Forgotten Diwali Foods

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It is nostalgia; it always feels like home!

Diwali, The festival of lights, the Indian new year and whatnot. Diwali is more than just a festival; it is a celebration of people, happiness, and community. It is a time when people gather to clean their homes and decorate them with lamps and lighting. 

Rangoli is created outside of homes. 

In the evenings, people set off firecrackers to celebrate the triumph of good over evil time when people splurge on new clothes, shoes, and dresses to impress. 

When you think of Diwali food, Even though everyone nowadays is going for guilt-free festive eating, the first thing that comes to mind is sweets and lots of them. The time of year when people indulge in delicious sweets and delicacies.

As Indian sweetmeats are known, mithai is a delightful morsel resembling a cross between a snack, a dessert, and a confectionery. Condensed milk, lentils, semolina, chickpea flour, and vegetables such as carrots and pumpkins are used to make popular sweets such as laddoo, barfi, and halwa, which are mildly spiced and fragrant with kewra water. 

For the holiday season, many are adorned with zari or silver leaf. Traditional sweets like laddoo, shakarpara, and mithai are served alongside fusion treats like chocolate barfi, rasmalai and motichoor laddoo.

Most people, however, are unfamiliar with festive fare traditionally eaten in various regions of the country, aside from a few ubiquitous Indian sweets.

Forgotten Traditional Indian Diwali Foods

Let us not look over our changed choices for low-calorie festive dishes for a while; Toneop is taking you down memory lane, so let us reminisce over some of the most common traditional Indian foods which used to be part of Diwali

1. Kheel Batashe

Kheel (puffed rice) and batashe (sugar confections) were a traditional Diwali treat on the primary day of the Lakshmi Puja. Aside from the conventional drop-shaped batasha, popular variants of this crystalline sweet include Khilone (animal-shaped sugar confection) and Hathri (tower-shaped sugar confections ranging from six inches to two feet). 

Food rituals associated with festivals are frequently symbolic. For example, to promote food security for the entire household in the coming months, newly harvested rice from the rough, unflattened kheel was placed at the altar in the Hindu universe before lit diya. Rice and sugar are thus the two key ingredients in many traditional Diwali dishes.

2. Mawa Kachori

Rajasthan's mawa kachori, rich dry fruit and khoya-stuffed golden fried kachori coated in sugar syrup can satisfy the sweetest tooth. The interior's soft texture perfectly complements the exterior's crunchiness to create an absolutely delicious dessert. 

Mawa, a dairy product, is a concentrated source of vitamin D and calcium - two nutrients essential for bone health. But mawa is high in calories. It is high in fat, as it is made with full-fat milk. A single piece of Mawa Kachori consists of 304 kcal. Out of which carbohydrates comprise 179 kcal, proteins account for 17 calories, and the remaining calories come from fat which is 106 calories. One Mawa Kachori provides about 15 per cent of a standard adult diet's daily calorie requirement of 2,000 kcal.

3. Moti Pak

Moti Pak is a mouth-watering sweet barfi made with chickpea flour, khoya, and sugar that is a Rajasthan and Gujarat regional speciality. This sweetmeat, adorned with a delicate layering of zari, tastes similar to the popular motichur laddoo. One piece of Moti Pak  Pak gives 564 calories. Out of which carbohydrates comprise 68 calories, proteins account for 5 calories, and the remaining calories come from fat, which is 491 calories. One piece of Mysore Pak provides about 28 per cent of the entire daily calorie requirement of a standard adult diet of 2,000 Kcal.

4. Chiraunji Ki Barfi

In India, chironji or charoli are almond-flavoured seeds used as a cooking spice or in desserts. Chironji ki barfi is a unique sweet that originated in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, and is consumed throughout the state of Diwali. Chironji is rich in proteins and dietary fibre, low in calories, and nutritious for everyone.

This plant property may help strengthen the body, relieve tiredness, and improve immunity. In addition, the methanolic properties of chironji may be found to be preventive toward stress-causing factors.

5. Teepi Gavvalu

Teepi gavvalu translates to sweet shells in Telugu. It is made by rolling flour and jaggery dough into pretty shell-shaped curls, deep-fried and dipped in sweet sugar syrup. It is a popular festival snack in Andra Pradesh.

Teepi Gavvalu, also called Bellam Gavvalu, is a traditional Andhra sweet snack made with jaggery and flour. Gavvalu is the Telugu name for Sea Shells. These crunchy and mildly sweet gavvalu are vegan and stay fresh for 2 weeks. 

6. Anarse

Anarsa, rice flour and jaggery fritters studded with poppy seed, is a traditional Maharashtra Diwali faral (sweet and savoury snack). Families rise early on Diwali morning, bathe before sunrise, and eat Diwali faral for breakfast. 

Anarsa is rich in iron & calcium. It is also preferred by patients and is an excellent postpartum snack. Anarsa is an authentic Maharashtrian sweet dish specially made in the festive season, like Diwali and Dussehra.

7. Karanji/Gujiya

These delectable crescent-shaped karanjis are necessary for a typical Maharashtrian Diwali Faral to be completed. This classic treat has a crisp golden exterior, fluted edge, and delicious stuffing. Karanji is known as ghughra in Gujarat, kusli in Madhya Pradesh, gujjia in northern India, and neuri in Goa.

8. Gulgule

Gugule, squishy sweet dumplings made from wheat flour, are famous during Diwali in many north Indian states. These dumplings go great with kheer (rice pudding) or rabdi (sweetened, thickened milk)!

9. Mohanthal

Mohanthal is a dense fudge flavoured with saffron and dry fruits prepared on many auspicious occasions, including Diwali, as an offering to the deity. While preparing this sweetmeat can be difficult, a perfectly prepared Mohan thal can make anyone with a sweet tooth drool over it. 

10. Deepawali Marundu/Legiyam

Deepawali marundu or legiyam, a concoction made of carom seeds, poppy seeds, dry ginger, dry grapes, honey, jaggery, nuts, ghee, and other ingredients, is a must-have in Tamil Nadu. This preparation is thought to aid digestion and ensure that the stomach can handle the food deluge that will follow on Diwali day!

11. Ukkarai

Ukkarai, a simple yet delicious traditional dish, is a popular Diwali dessert in Chettinad cuisine. This unique preparation, made from chana dal, jaggery, and roasted nuts, is a delicious experience for such a simple creation.

12. Singal

Singals are fried semolina spirals that are a traditional part of Diwali in Uttarakhand's Kumaon region. This healthy delicacy made with semolina, banana, curd, milk, sugar, and cardamom is soft, spongy, and flavorful.

13. Pinni 

Pinni is a famous Punjabi Diwali sweet treat made with dry fruits. Whole wheat flour is roasted with dry fruits, khoya, and sugar in rich homemade ghee until it turns a beautiful golden brown colour. The mixture is then formed into sinfully delicious laddoos.

14. Lapsi Rawa Shira

Lapsi rawa shira, one of Diwali's most humble sweet dishes, is deliciously earthy and very healthy, with no fancy frills. It is an essential part of the festive cuisines of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

15. Cholafali

Cholafali is a traditional Gujarati snack that melts in your mouth and is widely consumed during Diwali. This fritter is a light, fluffy snack with sour and spicy chilli powder and dry mango powder seasoning.

Other Diwali Food-Related Traditions In India 

Chickpea flour, or besan, was another popular ingredient in Diwali snacks and sweets across the country. Besan, which is heavier than wheat or rice and is thought to provide warmth to the body, was cooked with ghee to produce a variety of warming winter foods, including laddoo and besan ke sev, thin noodle-like fried snacks. Gujarati Farsi poori combines besan and wheat flour. 

Puran poli, another traditional Diwali dish from Maharashtra, is stuffed inside the folds. But, of course, Diwali is about more than just lights. There are many myths woven into the fabric of the five-day festival. 

The fourth day of the festival is Govardhan Pooja, which commemorates Krishna raising the mountain to save a life from Indra's wrath and incessant rains. 

This is also known as annakoot and is celebrated with a feast made from new vegetables and fruits grown during the entire season. It was common to practise about two generations ago to gather a few hundred grammes of whatever greens and vegetables were available at the market that morning and make a dish out of them. 

The dish, like the festival, was called annakoot and served as a festive offering, representing the land's bounty in the coming months.

Our tradition is our pride!

Diwali is a vibrant, colourful, joyful celebration and an exhilarating flavour fest. Nothing beats a dessert table adorned with various homemade Diwali goodies, just like the beautiful diya that adorn the entrances of our homes. 

So, this Diwali, forget the fancy ingredients in favour of these truly traditional Diwali specials.

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