We were asked about typical Diwali sweets and shared some of our family's traditions and favourite sweets to eat during the festival, including:
Ghatiya – chick pea flour noodles with spices, deep-fried snack
Chevda – deep-fried snack food with a medly of potato sticks, raisins, peanuts, spices
Gulab Jamun – milk based round doughnut-like balls simmered in a saffron syrup served warm
Barfi / Ladoos – various milk based sweets made with ghee, nuts and spices – various flavours like pistachio, almond, cashew, chocolate, coconut, mango
Shakarpara – All purpose flour sweetened with sugar syrup and ghee/oil with sesame seeds, deep-fried and cut into diamonds
Ghugharas – Gujarati pastry dumpling stuffed with sweetened semolina, nuts and spices, deep-fried
Matiya – Gujarati crispy bread made from moong dal, deep-fried eaten as a snack
Sutarferni – An all-purpose flour dough, deep-fried, fine noodles (looks like a bird’s nest) topped with sugar and pistachios
Talking about all these sweets brings back memories of childhood, which was a time when we used to make ALL of the above festive sweets - from scratch! One of our family traditions is to make Shakarpara which is only made once a year, during Diwali. We often make other sweets too, but this one is a mainstay on our Diwali sweet table!
For most of the above items, the common thread are the following ingredients -- sugar, ghee (clarified butter) and lots of deep-frying!
If you would like to try making a typical Diwali sweet in your home, here is an easy Indian-style shortbread called Nan Katai. It is perfect for dipping into a steamy cup of Masala Chai!