Diwali delights: Festive season’s traditional flavours

T-Mag Thursday 01/November/2018 09:51 AM
By: Times News Service
Diwali delights: Festive season’s traditional flavours

Here are some sweet and savoury treats that are perfect for Diwali celebrations.

Marinated baby potatoes lightly tossed in oil and topped with delicious Indian chutney is a must this Diwali. Create your own chaat counter at home and surprise your guests.

For the marinade
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon roasted cumin powder
2 teaspoons dry mango powder
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
1 and 1/4 cup boiled baby potatoes
For the chaat
1/2 cup whisked yoghurt
4 teaspoons mint chutney
2 tablespoons tamarind chutney
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
Salt to taste
For garnish
Sev and finely chopped green coriander leaves.
Combine 2 tablespoons oil, salt, chilli powder, coriander and cumin powder, dry mango powder, salt and coriander in a bowl and mix well.
Add the potatoes, mix well and let the potatoes rest in this marinade for 10 minutes.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a pan, add the potato marinade and cook on low heat for 5 to 7 minutes till the spices coat the potatoes well.
To make the chaat, place half of the cooked potatoes in a serving plate and top with yoghurt and the chutneys.
Sprinkle a pinch of cumin powder, chilli powder and salt and garnish with sev and coriander leaves.
Repeat the steps to make more plates.


A decadent Indian dessert that’s quick to whip and serve. Moist and delicious, kalakand is a popular sweet and here it’s served as a halwa rather than a barfi.
2 cups (250g) paneer/cottage cheese, grated
1/2 tin condensed milk
2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
10 to 12 pistachios coarsely crushed
10 to 12 almonds coarsely crushed
Dried rose petals as garnish
Drain and squeeze water from the paneer and pulse it in a blender to get a crumbly texture.
In a mixing bowl, place the condensed milk, paneer, sugar and cardamom powder.
Mix well and pour it in a non-stick pan. Keep stirring on medium flame for 4 minutes or until it starts leaving the sides of the pan.
Pour it into a serving plate and shake the plate gently so that the mixture spreads evenly. Sprinkle the dry fruits and dried rose petals on top.
Once cooled, serve it like a halwa.


A popular layered ice cream dessert flavoured with rose syrup and topped with mango ice cream that will leave your guests asking for more.
2 cups, full fat milk
5-6 tablespoons rose syrup (or Rooh Afza)
1/2 cup glass noodles or falooda sev
1 heaped teaspoon falooda seeds (sabja/basil seeds) soaked in 1/3 cup water for 20-30 minutes
4 scoops mango ice cream
Mixed dry fruits of almonds or pistachios for garnish (slivered)
Bring milk to boil and simmer till it reduces to 1 1/2 cups. Cool to room temperature and add 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of rose syrup to the milk and mix well. Refrigerate.
Cook glass noodles or falooda sev as per packet instructions. Place in cold water and refrigerate until use.
Soak falooda seeds in water for 30 minutes. Set aside.
Chill the serving glasses in the fridge for half an hour.
To assemble falooda: Take the chilled serving glass and add 1 tablespoon of rose syrup to the bottom, followed by 1 heaped tablespoon of falooda seeds.
Next layer with 1/4 cup of falooda sev/ glass noodles. Slowly pour the chilled rose milk till 3/4th of the glass. Next add two scoops of mango ice cream on top.
Repeat for the next glasses.
Finally drizzle some rose syrup and garnish with nuts. Serve immediately.


Namak Paara is a delicious deep fried tea time snack of North India. It is a handy home snack and especially made on festive occasions of Diwali and Holi. This recipe has a healthy twist of spinach.
1 cup spinach leaves, chopped
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon ajwain
1 teaspoon chaat masala powder
1 teaspoons salt
Cooking oil, for deep frying
In a blender, add the spinach, along with some water and extract the juice. Keep the juice aside.
To make the spinach dough, add 1 cup of flour, ajwain, chaat masala powder, salt and knead by adding little spinach juice at a time to make dough.
Knead well and make a firm dough.
Next, roll the dough into a large circle of about 1/4 inch thickness on a well dusted surface. Poke the rolled dough on both the sides using a fork and cut it into diamond shape.
Preheat the oil for deep frying over medium heat. Once the oil is heated drop spinach namak paara into the oil and fry them in small batches until they turn crisp.
Do not be in a rush to fry on high heat or else they would burn and not be crisp. Once done, drain spinach namak paara on a kitchen towel. Store them in air tight containers once cooled.

Oneza Tabish is a food blogger, consultant, and columnist based in Oman. She is also the owner of Oman’s popular Facebook group ‘What’s Cooking Oman.’