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Nov 3

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, Cultural Adjustment Coach
Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Diwali Delicacies

Diwali is the biggest festival in India. Diwali is celebrated pretty much all over India in a grand way, similar to how Christmas is in America. Of course a cornerstone of any holiday worth it's salt is food! Would you have the chance to font size="2" face="Tahoma">celebrate Diwali in India or with your Indian friends abroad? Do you want to know what people eat on Diwali? There are special dishes for the main course, for deserts, sweets and savories and even special digestive aids all given on the occasion of Diwali.

Though Diwali is celebrated all over India, the menu items vary from state to state and even can vary from region to region. This post highlights some menu items from various parts of India! 

Kamala has a full day of Diwali sweets and treats.
From breakfast, she enjoys Idli, Dosai, Vadai, and Suzhiyan.
Other sweets and savories may include: omapodi, thenkuzhal, sweet somas, pottukadalai urundai, adirasam, , and mysore pak

Natasha, from Delhi
devours chole, a chickpea curry with kulcha a deep fried bread for the main meal but eagerly awaits for desert which consists of gulab jamuns; which are ball of dough and milk soilds, deep fried and dipped in sugar syrup, and also likes gujiyas along with Sailaja, who shares her menu ideas below.

Ramaraobobby likes to have semiya payasam (known as kheer in North India). In south India there are many kinds of pudding (payasam), semiya payasam is made of semiya or small, thin seminola noodles infused with rasins, nuts, cardamom or other spices depending on the family's tradition. He also likes Bobbattu (poorampoli); a sweet flat bread, gulab jamun and teepi gavvalu, many of these items being well-known in Andhra Pradesh.

Bobbattlu (Puran Poli) is a sweet flat bread, somewhat similar to roti (made of wheat as you know) but has a stuffing inside made of Jaggery and yellow gram. Puran Poli is popular in Maharashtra and its size is big when compared to Bobbatlu made in Andhra. In Puran Poli rolling pin is used while stuffing but for Bobbatlu made in Andhra the Poornam (this is telugu word and Puran is a Hindi word) is stuffed inside the dough with the hand. So, naturally the size will be small but is much thicker when compared to Puran Poli. It's a font size="2" face="Tahoma">Vinayaka chavithi special here in Andhra. See a YouTube video of this Puran Poli preparation here

Teepi Gavvalu is a Telugu word which means sweet shells. To be more precise, Teepi means sweet and Gavva means Shell and as the sweet is shell shaped and sweet it's called teepi gavvalu. See a YouTube video of the preparation here. It's in Telugu, but you will easily understand!

Boondhi Ladoo by SailajaSailaja says her grandma makes really good gujjiya- which is a deep fried savory or sweet puff, similiar to a Spanish empanada. The gujjiya made by her grandmother she prefers best is stuffed with mutton or goat meat. Here's a recipe for the preparation of gujjiya.

Sailaja also loves laddoo. In 2011, she made boondhi ladoo (pictured to the right), while in 2010 she created a laddoo she calles Rice Flakes and Cornmeal laddoo. "Traditionally this small round sweet is made from besan or chickpea flour in South India. This year, I thought it'd be a nice idea to try cornmeal. Living in the US, and near to Mexico, cornmeal is very common here, so I attempted to blend my Indian tradition with the American southwest culinary tradition by making a Mexican-inspired ladoo with cornmeal. It's traditional, modern and cross-cultural!"
See the recipe for Rice Flakes and Cornmeal Laddoo here.

Sanjeetha shares a fusion of health and tradition this festive season.
1. Wholewheat Delights: Guilt free traditional delicacies with the added benefits of Sunflower seeds.
This is another kind of healthy laddoo made by Sanjeetha. Here's her recipe for the wholewheat delights.
2. Nutty Chandrakalas: Traditional sweets from northwestern India are infused with the power of nuts in them.
See the recipe with mouthwatering photos.
3. Eating all these heavy sweets, savories and foods can be hard on the stomach, so Sanjeetha also shares a very interesting digestive concoction made and drunk by her family before the festivities begin. Lehiyam is a digestive aid- a paste made of different spices like dry ginger, caraway seeds, etc that is eaten first thing in the morning to soothe the stomach before eating a lot of savory and sweet items that are generally hard to digest. See the preparation of this herbal digestive aid, Lehiyam here.

Srivalli from Cooking 4 All Seasons also shares some tempting treats, including:
Pappulu Kajjikayalu or Pappulu Karjikayalu
This is a specialty dish from Andhra, a southern state in India. Typically these are made for festivals. For the Deepavali menu, this is a must to make dish.
Karjikayalu is made with a crust filled with different stuffing. Here in this recipe, Fried Gram dal is mixed with Dried Coconut, Jaggary, Cashew nuts to make a nutty dal flavoured stuffing.
Recipe for Karjikayalu is here.

Chocolate Burfi
This is not a traditional sweet dish, but modern in making. Very simple to make and favorite with kids. What's more great is that you can get this done in 5 minutes when cooked in Microwave
Microwave Chocolate Burfi, a modern Indian Microwave Diwali Delight

Vidhya wanted to share some of her south Indian Tamil Deepawali delights; which include:

Wheat Laddoo & Omapodi,   Badhusha,   Omapodi,   Ribbon Pakoda,   Boondhi Laddoo and mohan dhal.



Thank you for spending time on Alaivani.com!


Other posts on Alaivani about Diwali

Diwali As Harvest Festival in Kerala - submitted by Joby George
Story of Diwali Diwali Harvest

This article was inspired partially by e-mail stories friends have sent me over the years and from other internet research I have done. It's not only Diwali that fascinates me like this, but the fact that the same holidays are celebrated in different parts of India, but expressed so differently from state to state and region to region.

               Day 1: Dhanteras
               Day 2: Nakra Chaturdashi
               Day 3: Lakshmi Puja 
               Day 4: Padwa or Varshapratipada    
               Day 5: Bhayya Dhuj   

President Obama and the White House wish Happy Diwali

Diwali Celebrations 2001 in India: How to Celebrate Diwali like a local in Six Easy Steps!

Onam and Diwali: A Mysterious Connection

When a friend sent me a story about Onam legends and myths, something in that story reminded me of aspects of the Story of Diwali  article above. It is quite interesting that the same story some in India use to celebrate Diwali is used in a very similiar way but to explain Onam. It so intrigued me, I wrote this article on it.

Search Alaivani for all articles on Diwali


 Updated November 2012


Copyright ©2010 Jennifer Kumar, CC, LMSW Cultural Adjustment Coach


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