Diwali, popularly known as the Festival of Lights is a captivating Hindu celebration that represents the triumph of illumination, over darkness virtue over wickedness and wisdom over ignorance. This year Diwali will be joyously observed on October 24 2023. Among the delights of Diwali, the scrumptious cuisine and delectable sweets hold a place. Engaging in activities with loved ones, in the kitchen while preparing Diwali desserts and mithai is an enjoyable way to embrace the festive ambiance. If you want to celebrate Diwali at home with some easy yet impressive homemade Indian sweets and desserts, this beginner’s guide is for you!
Traditional Indian Desserts and Sweets for Diwali
Firstly, let’s look at some of the most popular Indian desserts and sweets that are made during Diwali festivities:
- Barfi – A dense, sweet fudge made with condensed milk and sugar. Flavors like pistachio, almond, coconut, or chocolate are added. Barfi has a smooth texture almost like a cake frosting. It is often cut into diamond shapes.
- Laddu – Flour, coarse semolina or ground nuts are combined with ghee or oil and then bound together with sugar or jaggery syrup to form balls. Different varieties like motichoor laddus, besan laddus, coconut laddus are made.
- Halwa – Sweet puddings made by cooking fruits, vegetables, grains or legumes in ghee and sugar. Some examples are carrot halwa, moong dal halwa and sooji halwa.
- Kheer – A creamy rice pudding made with rice, milk, sugar and assorted dry fruits and nuts. It has a comforting, smooth texture.
- Gulab Jamun – Deep fried soft dumpling balls made of thickened or reduced milk and soaked in rose flavored sugar syrup. A scrumptious, melt-in-your-mouth dessert.
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Tips for Making Homemade Indian Sweets
Next, let’s go over some helpful tips to keep in mind when preparing these traditional Diwali sweets at home:
- Use high quality ingredients – This is key to get the classic taste and texture. Sugar, milk, ghee, nuts, khoya should all be fresh.
- Avoid shortcuts – Don’t swap condensed milk for mawa or readymade milk powder for khoya. Authentic recipes rely on cooking and reducing milk.
- Master the cooking method – Whether frying oil-based sweets or simmering milk-based ones, follow recipes closely to reach the ideal consistency.
- Let sweets cool fully before storing – Hot jalebis or gulab jamun soaked in syrup will become sticky. Letting them cool prevents this.
- Use hands for shaping – For laddus, barfis etc., shaping by hand creates a smooth, round shape. Allow the mixture to be kneadable.
- Work quickly while preparing batter – For sweets like jalebi and imarti with fermented batter, work briskly once batter is resting time is up.
- Prepare syrup in advance – For soaking sweets like gulab jamun, prepare sugar syrup in advance so sweets can soak as soon as they are fried.
With these tips in mind, let’s get started on the recipes!
1. Besan Laddoo
First up is a nutritious and delicious besan ladoo made with gram flour, ghee, and sugar. Besan (gram flour) has a nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the fragrant ghee. Here is the easy recipe to make this Diwali favorite at home.
- 2 cups gram flour (besan)
- 3⁄4 cup ghee
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1⁄2 cup warm milk
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- Chopped nuts and raisins for garnish (optional)
- In a pan, roast the gram flour on low heat until fragrant and lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
- In another pan, heat ghee until melted. Add the roasted gram flour and combine well.
- Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes as the mixture becomes crumbly. Add the powdered sugar and combine thoroughly.
- Add warm milk as needed if mixture seems dry. Mix until a smooth dough forms that holds its shape when rolled into balls.
- Add cardamom powder for flavoring. Mix in nuts and raisins if using.
- Roll into balls while dough is still warm. Place on tray and let cool completely before storing.
The grams provide protein while the ghee gives flavor in every bite. Make a big batch to last throughout the festivities!
2. Coconut Barfi
Chewy coconut barfi is a must-have Diwali sweet to make at home. With just a few ingredients like coconut, condensed milk and sugar, you can create a tray of these rich, fudgy coconut delights. Follow this easy recipe:
- 3 cups desiccated coconut
- 1 cup condensed milk
- 1⁄2 cup powdered sugar
- 1⁄4 cup milk
- 1⁄2 tsp cardamom powder
- In a saucepan combine condensed milk and powdered sugar. Heat over heat while stirring consistently until the mixture thickens and reaches a consistency to dough.
- Add coconut and cardamom powder. Stir well until thoroughly combined.
- Add milk as needed if mixture seems dry. Cook for 2 more minutes until mixture leaves sides of pan.
- Transfer mixture to a greased plate/tray. Spread evenly using a spatula.
- Cut into square or diamond shapes before it sets completely. Let cool and store in an airtight container.
The natural flavor of coconut combines irresistibly with the richness of condensed milk. For special touch, you can also garnish with pistachios or almonds.
3. Carrot Halwa
Carrot halwa is a dessert that requires some effort but is definitely worth it. Grated carrots are cooked in ghee, milk and sugar to create a halwa with hints of cardamom. Let me guide you on how to make this treat at home.
- 1 kg carrots, washed and grated
- 11⁄2 cups sugar
- 11⁄2 cups milk
- 1 cup ghee
- 5 green cardamoms, powdered
- 1⁄4 cup chopped nuts for garnish
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt the ghee over medium heat. Add the grated carrots and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the milk gradually, stirring continuously as it thickens. Cook for 15-20 minutes till carrots are soft.
- Add the sugar and cardamom powder. Keep stirring until all liquid evaporates and halwa leaves sides of pan.
- Serve garnished with chopped nuts while still warm. Can also be chilled and cut into pieces.
The natural sweetness of carrots combines with warm spices for a festive dessert. For extra richness, use khoya instead of milk. Enjoy this nutritious halwa for Diwali!
4. Malai Kulfi
Creamy malai kulfi is a frozen dessert that is a must-try. Made by slowly cooking and freezing homemade khoya and cream, it has a decadent, ice-cream like texture. Follow this easy recipe:
- 2 cups full fat milk
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 1⁄2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1⁄4 cup pistachios, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup almonds, chopped
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- In a heavy pan, boil milk on medium heat while stirring. Cook until milk volume reduces to 1 cup. Set aside the khoya.
- In another pan, combine condensed milk and heavy cream. Cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat.
- Let the mixture cool slightly, then add the khoya and cardamom powder. Mix well.
- Pour mixture into kulfi moulds or small containers. Insert nuts and refrigerate overnight or until set firmly.
- Unmould and serve chilled. Can garnish with rose syrup or falooda.
With such few ingredients, you can experience rich kulfi right at home. Customize with your choice of mix-ins like saffron, pistachios or dried fruits.
5. Motichoor Ladoo
Finally, we have the beloved motichoor ladoo to end the Diwali sweets on a high note. These spheres of tiny deep-fried gram flour balls dunked in cardamom-flavored syrup have a delicate texture that literally melts in the mouth. Here is how to prepare them:
- 1 cup besan (gram flour)
- 1 cup water
- Oil for frying
For Sugar Syrup:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- To make motichoor, mix besan with water to form a smooth batter. Heat oil for frying.
- Pour small droplets of batter into hot oil. Fry until golden and crunchy. Drain on paper towels.
- To make syrup, combine sugar, water and boil until it reaches a sticky 1-string consistency. Add cardamom.
- Add fried motichoor balls to syrup and soak for 2-3 mins. Drain excess syrup.
- Shape into balls and place on greased tray. Let sit for 30 mins before storing in airtight container.
The delicate motichoor melts with the cardamom-infused syrup to give a unique flavor and texture. Make sure to pace yourself when eating these addictive laddoos!
Share the Joy of Homemade Sweets with Loved Ones
In conclusion, Diwali is a time for joy and celebration with loved ones. Make this year’s festivities extra memorable by preparing these 5 homemade Diwali sweets together. The traditional flavors will transport you right into the festive spirit. Don’t be intimidated looking at the steps, just take your time as you shape the laddoos or cook the milk for kulfi. Before you know it, you’ll have a beautiful spread of besan laddoo, coconut barfi, carrot halwa, malai kulfi and motichoor ladoo ready! Pack them in festive boxes or thalis as gifts for family, friends and neighbors. The happiness of sharing homemade mithai that is made with care is what Diwali is all about. I hope you have a wonderful Diwali full of sweet moments and memories.