SK's Online Cookbook

A large collection of vegetarian recipes from around the world





Recipes for Indian festivals - Diwali regional specialities

Tamil Nadu: Adirasam


  • 1 cup rice, wash and soak in water for 1 hour

  • 1 cup gur or brown sugar or jaggery

  • tbsp poppy seeds or khus khus

  • tbsp sesame seeds or til

  • 4 small green cardamoms or elaichi, powdered

  • Oil for deep frying


This is a sweet rice preparation from Tamil Nadu, which can be stored in air-tight tins, through all the days of Diwali


  1. Drain and pound or grind the rice to a fine powder. On a tava or flat pan, roast til and khus-khus. Add to the powdered rice. Mix and then spread out on a flat plate to cool for about 10 minutes

  2. Heat the gur and water on medium flame till it becomes a syrup. Add the rice flour mixture and keep stirring. Add the cardamom or elaichi powder. Remove from the stove and let it cool

  3. Apply oil to your hands and make three inch diameter-sized balls of the mixture. Flatten them lightly with your palm.

  4. In a karhai or wok, heat the oil very hot. Deep fry these discs tills crisp and brown Drain off the excess oil.

Uttar Pradesh: Motichoor Laddu


  • kg chick pea flour or besan

  • kg sugar

  • 1 pinch baking soda

  • cup milk

  • A few drops orange coloring

  • Few drops saffron or kesar essence

  • 2 tbsp almonds, finely sliced

  • 2 tsp green cardamom or elaichi powder

  • ghee for frying

  • A perforated ladle or spoon, with tiny holes

No festival in the northern and central states of India is complete without these laddus. Though traditionally made at weddings and sent to friends and relatives bundi laddus, as it is also called is auspicious This is how this laddu is made in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.


  1. Sift together the besan and baking powder through a sieve. Mix in 2 tablespoons of melted ghee, milk and enough water to make a thickish batter.

  2. Heat enough ghee in a karhai or wok for deep frying. When the ghee is smoking hot, take the perforated spoon and with one hand, hold it over the karhai. With the other hand, rub some batter through the perforations in the spoon. The batter will fall in tiny droplets. Tap the spoon handle against the rim of the vessel to help it fall through .

  3. Fry these droplets till they are golden. Take these boondis out with another perforated spoon or ladle, resting it on the rim of the pan for a while, so that the extra ghee can drip down to the karhai. Fry the rest of the boondis in the same way

  4. Prepare the sugar syrup of three-thread consistency. Add color and essence. Keep this syrup hot. Add the fried boondis into the syrup, almonds, elaichi powder and mix thoroughly. When cooled enough to touch, form into round balls with greased palms. Apply a layer of chandani vark or special silver foil to them , if you wish.

  5. These laddus will be quite soft. If you want harder ones, cook the syrup till it is of 'hard-ball ' consistency.

Bihar: Besan Laddoo


  • 500 gm chick pea flour or besan, sifted

  • 500 gm ground sugar

  • 200 gm ghee

  • 1 tsp green cardamom or elaichi, powdered


These chick pea or besan balls are savored with great relish all over the North, as well as Bihar and is a favourite at all auspicious functions.


  1. Heat the ghee until it smokes, then lower the heat Add the besan and fry on a medium heat until it is a golden color. Take it off the fire for two or three minutes and add the sugar

  2. When it is cooled to a comfortable temperature, grease your palms with ghee and form the mixture into balls.

  3. Set aside to cool and harden.

  4. Store in air-tight containers These will keep for several days.

Gujarat: Magaj


  • 500 gm chick pea flour or besan

  • 250 gm sugar

  • 50 gm khoya. Khoya is made by reducing a large volume of milk to a solid by very slow boiling, for many hours; about 3 liters of milk will produce hardly 200-300 gms of khoya.

  • 10 almonds peeled and blanched

  • 10 pistachios blanched

  • 2 tsp green cardamom powder

  • 250 gm ghee

One of the most popular sweets served by Gujaratis during Diwali or on the New Year, the day after Diwali.


  1. Mix the chick pea flour or besan with 1/2 of the ghee. And sift it through a sieve.

  2. In a karhai or wok warm the rest of the ghee and the sifted besan. Fry till besan is golden but not brown. Add the khoya. Stir over low heat. Keep aside.

  3. Make a sugar syrup of one thread consistency. Add the syrup and cardamom powder to the fried besan. Mix well. Pour on a plate that has been lined with oil. Decorate with blanched pistas and almonds. Cut into diamonds. And allow it to cool.


Haryana: Pinni


  • 250 gms ground rice flour

  • 175 gms bhurra or powdered mishri sugar (or powdered ordinary sugar if mishri is not available)

  • 100 gms ghee

  • 25 gms raisins

  • 25 gms meva or mix of chopped dried fruit and nuts -- cashew nuts, almonds, pistachios and dates

This yummy sweet, a kind of a fudge made from rice flour, is a must for Diwali in Haryana and Punjab. If properly made and stored, it will keep for several days!


  1. In a flat pan or karhai or wok roast the rice flour with ghee. Let it not burn or get 'colored'. Let it roast till it gives of an aroma and take off the fire. Add in powdered sugar, raisins and chopped nuts.

  2. When it has cooled a little, and you can handle it safely without getting burnt, take a fistful and press into an oblong shape. Your fingers will leave a a ridged imprint pattern.

  3. Store or serve when completely cooled.

Madhya Pradesh: Balushahi


  • 500 gms white flour

  • 1 pinch baking soda

  • tsp baking powder

  • 200 gms thick fresh yogurt or curd

  • 500 gms sugar

  • ghee for deep frying


Balushais, khasta or crumbly doughnuts without holes are part of the traditional offerings at Diwali in Madhya Pradesh and Bengal.


  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and the baking soda through a sieve. Keep aside In a bowl, cream the yogurt and 100gms of the.
    Gently and lightly, knead in the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture. Do not do it vigorously. Put the dough aside for an hour and allow it to rise.

  2. Make a sugar syrup using the sugar in 6 cups water. Boil it till it has a two string consistency.

  3. Knead dough lightly, once again. Divide it into small three inch diameter balls. Flatten the ball by pressing lightly. Make a depression in the centre with your thumb.

  4. In a karhai or wok , heat the ghee, for deep frying. Lower the heat and deep fry the dough cakes or balushais, two or three at a time allowing room for them to expand. Ladle ghee over the balushais as you fry. They will puff out and almost double in size. Fry them till they are a light biscuit color. Remove them one by one, with a slotted spoon. Drain
    off the extra ghee by holding the spoon against the rim of the karhai.

  5. Slip the balushais into the sugar syrup or chaasni. When well soaked, remove and keep aside to cool. As they cool they will have a thin sugar-coat on each balushai.

Maharashtra: Anarsa or Anaarsi


  • kg rice

  • kg brown sugar or gur or jaggery, crumbled

  • 3-4 tbsp poppy seeds or khus-khus

  • 250 gms ghee, for frying


This is a typical sweet especially made for Diwali in many states, but it is known by different names. Though the ingredients are quite common, this net-like sweet , requires technique to turn out right! This is placed as an offering in the Lakshmi puja as well as served as prasad. In Maharashtra, they make it this way:


  1. Grind rice into fine flour. Knead the gur and flour. Make flattened balls. Roll out into thick rounds, approximately 3" diameter Sprinkle poppy seeds on top of the rounds.

  2. Heat the ghee hot. In piping hot ghee, lightly fry the rounds Remove and drain off excess ghee by placing in a colander Take care, as the delicate net-like texture may break.

Mangalore: Unda


  • kg boiled rice, washed and dried in the sun.

  • kg jaggery or gur or brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp ghee

  • 2 coconuts, grated

  • 6 pods green cardamom or elaichi, powdered


A typical sweet of the Konkan belt, these laddus are made from rice flour and jaggery


  1. Dry roast the boiled rice till crisp and grind to a coarse flour.

  2. Pound the grated coconut and mix with the jaggery, which has been gently melted to syrup on a slow flame.

  3. Add in the ground rice and cardamom powder and mix well.

  4. Apply the ghee to one's palms and make into three-inch balls. Cool and store in air-tight container.

Palakkad: Rawa laddoo


  • 2 cups semolina or rawa

  • 3 cup sugar

  • liter milk

  • 10 pods of green cardamom or elaichi, powdered

  • 10 cashews broken and fried golden

  • 20 raisins, deep fried

  • 4 tbsp ghee


Parts of northern and central Kerala, where Palakkad Tamilians live, are the only areas of the state where Diwali is celebrated. Palakkadi have special rituals and cuisine that are very particular to their community. Rawa laddus are a standard Diwali fare.


  1. Roast the semolina or rawa with the ghee on a low fire till pink. Set aside. Make a thick syrup of sugar and milk of about one thread consistency. Add the semolina to the syrup and the remaining ghee, cardamom powder, cashews and raisins. Cook till quite thick.

  2. Coat one's palms with a little cold milk. And make little balls or laddus of two inch diameter while the batter is still warm. Cool and store in air tight containers.

Punjab: Pedhas


  • kg khoya. Khoya is made by reducing a large volume of milk to a solid by very slow boiling for many hours; about 3 litres of milk will produce hardly 200-300 gms of khoya.

  • 250 gms ground sugar

  • 250 gms milk

  • 2 drops rose essence or a few strands saffron or kesar

  • 2 tbsp almonds, finely slivered

  • 2 tbsp pistachios, finely slivered

  • 1 tsp green cardamoms or elaichi powder

This milk fudge is a favorite all over India. At Diwali, pedhas are a must in both, Uttar Pradesh as well as in the Punjab.


  1. Mix the khoya and sugar well, and warm it over a medium fire. Add 2 tablespoons of the milk and stir with a heavy ladle smoothening out any lumps. Continue stirring and add more milk, little by little, till all the milk is used up. Lower the heat, if it sticks at the bottom.

  2. Add the rose essence or saffron dissolved in milk, and take off the fire. Mix the flavoring and khoya properly.

  3. In a plate, mix the finely slivered nuts with the cardamom or elaichi powder. Make small balls of the khoya mixture and press on the nuts for decoration. You can also make depressions along the edges with a spoon handle or other stamp moulds for surface designs.


Rajasthan: Pura


  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 cups wheat flour

  • 4 tbsp yogurt or curd

  • 10-15 whole peppercorns

  • Milk

  • Water


This is the Rajasthani version of malpua but it is made slightly differently. Served with cream or garnished with pista, it is a Diwali favorite.


  1. Make a batter of all of these dry ingredients and the dahi, using milk and water till it is thick and of pouring consistency, similar to pancake or dosa batter. Whip till smooth. Add the 10 peppercorns. Keep aside and allow it to rise for about two hours.

  2. Heat oil on a medium flame. Drop large ladlefuls into the oil to form circles of 6-8 inches. Typically the dough will sink and line the bottom of the karhai and rise up in the shape of a disc. Fry till golden. Drain and pat off the oil.

  3. Serve with cream or garnished with pista. Serves five.

Sindh: Kuti


  • kg wheat flour

  • kg ghee

  • kg sugar

  • 10-15 almonds

  • 5-6 green cardamom pods, powdered

A very traditional Sindhi sweet, this somewhat dry halwa should ideally be eaten hot and fresh. Kuti is cooked for most Sindhi festivals and pujas and for Diwali too.


  1. Heat the ghee gently. Add the wheat flour and keep frying on a medium flame till golden brown and somewhat dry.

  2. Take off the stove.

  3. Mix in the sugar, the cardamom powder and finely chopped almonds. Serve immediately.