At least a week before Diwali, traditional homes across India get a major 'spring' cleaning --- sweeping, scrubbing down and often a re-painted with white lime. Thereafter begins the back-breaking job of producing a delicious and dizzying array of sweets and salty snacks for the holiday season.
Time-consuming rounds of grinding, roasting, rolling, chopping, frying and basting produces some of the most mouth-watering sweet meats and savouries.
Badams, cashew nuts are ground to fine powder on the stone siloras and sugar, ghee or clarified butter and khoya ( solid milk) are coaxed into it to form a selection of barfis. Besan (gram/chickpea flour) or rice flour are roasted in ghee and thickened with sugar syrup to make laddus or pak. White flour is whipped into an unimaginably wide range of batters, then deep fried and coated with sugar to form sweet phyllo kind of pastries or Puas. Rice flour or gram flour is squeezed out of intricate machines into sizzling oil to make piquant but salty Sev, Murku, Chaklis and more. And then subsequently an assortment of fragrant paks, chudas, laddus, khajas, barfis and Balushais emerge from the kitchens of every home.
Most of these recipes are hundreds of years old and have been handed down, over generations, from mother to daughter or mother-in-law to daughter-in-law. Quite possibly a certain variety of laddu has been made in exactly the same manner in some homes for decades.
Each region in India, that celebrates Diwali, is famous for its own unique variety of sweets or snacks. We present a collection of recipes of sweets and savouries from all across India. These are all recipes for traditional homemade sweets and salty snacks collected from aunties, ammas and housewives who have been sweet-making for most of their lives. Read on!
Bihar | Tamil Nadu | Rajasthan | Maharashtra | West Bengal | Goa | Orissa | Palakkad, Kerala | Madhya Pradesh |
Uttarakhand | Karnataka | Gujarat | Haryana | Punjab | Andhra Pradesh | Himachal Pradesh
Illustrations: Dominic Xavier