Traditional Diwali recipes: Sepu Wadi, Hando Mangsho and more
Here are some authentic, home-made festive recipes for you to try and share with your loved ones this Diwali.
Rice Kheer in Sugarcane Juice
My first Diwali was with my landlord, the Bajwas, in Richmond Hills, Queens, which has over 500 Sikh families.
The Bajwas took pride in preparing non-standard dishes.
When the fresh sugarcane became easily available in Indian shops 15 years ago, having been imported from the Caribbean, the family would make a delightful desert out of rice and the juice, sprinkled with dry fruit.
Preparation: 30 minutes including the time to soak rice and sultanas
Cooking: 45 minutes
- 4 cups basmati rice
- 8 cups fresh sugarcane juice
- 6 pods green cardamoms
- 6 cloves
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup almonds, crushed
- 1/4 cup cashews or pistachios, crushed
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
- 1/4 cup sultanas, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
- Soak the rice in warm water for 30 minutes.
- Pour the sugarcane juice in a pan with the cloves and green cardamoms and bring to the boil.
- Add the rice, lemon juice and sultanas, and simmer over a low heat for about 30 minutes or until most of the juice has been absorbed.
- Stir all the while so that the rice does not burn at the bottom of the pan.
- Remove from the heat; allow to cool for about 10 minutes.
- Transfer the pan contents to a serving bowl.
- Garnish with the nuts and coconut and put in the fridge until needed.
Recipe Courtesy: Arthur J Pais
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Image: Rice Kheer in Sugarcane Juice
A traditional Himachal Pradesh Diwali dinner recipe.
- 350 gm yogurt or dahi
- 1 tsp turmeric or haldi
- 250 gm whole black or sabut urad
- 175 gm chana dal
- 200 gm spinach
- 2-3 pieces whole red chilli or akkhi lal mirch
- 1/8 tsp asafoetida or hing
- Mustard oil or sarson ka tel, as required
- Garam masala, per taste
- Mix urad dal and chana dal.
- Soak the mixture overnight and grind it into a paste.
- Add turmeric and garam masala (as required) and grind until all ingredients are uniformly fine.
- Boil the spinach and grind it into puree.
- Take the paste in your hands and roll it into balls.
- Boil the balls a covered pot.
- Heat sarson ka tel in another kadhai and add whole red chilli and hing to it.
- Add haldi and salt to the mixture and fry for a few moments before adding the spinach puree.
- Add curd to make the puree rich and thick in consistency.
- Add wadi and cook the dish for another 20 minutes on a low heat.
Recipe Courtesy: Rashmi Sharma
Image: Sepu Wadi
- 500 gm fine rava
- 500 gm sugar
- 3 cups grated coconut
- 1 (additional) cup of sugar*
- A few cardamoms
- A few raisins
- A few chiraunji seeds
- 1 cup ghee
- In a non-stick pan, add ghee and roast the rava for about five to seven minutes.
- To this, add the grated coconut and roast the mixture for five minutes.
- In another pan, add all the sugar and add water till it covers the sugar. Ensure that the water is just a little more than the sugar.
- Boil the mixture of water and sugar into thick sugar syrup.
- Mix the rava and coconut mixture in this syrup really well.
- Once it is becomes cool enough**, start rolling out the laddoos.
*The two quantities of sugar are written separately on purpose. While the rava to sugar ration is 1:1, coconut to sugar is 3:1
**At the end, ensure the rava-coconut mixture doesn’t get completely cold because you’d find it difficult to make the laddos.
Recipe Courtesy: Sandhya Mande
Image: Rava Laddoos
We make chaklis out of a flour called bhajani.
Bhajani is a mixture of dals, rice and a few spices.
Today ready-made bhajani flour is freely available in the market.
However if you want to make chakli from the scratch, you'd need a grinder at home or send out the mixture of dals, rice and spices to your local grinding mill.
To make bhajani flour you will need:
- 4 cups uncooked rice
- 1 1/2 cups chana daal
- 1 ½ cups vati moong daal
- ¼ cups urad daal
- 3 tbsps coriander seeds
- 2 tbsps jeera
Roast these ingredients separately and grind them.
To make the chakli you will need:
- 1 1/2 tbsps red chilli powder (to taste)
- Turmeric (about 1/4th the quantity of the red chilli powder)
- 1 tbsp ova (ajwain)
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Water (enough to make the flour into a thick dough)
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 cup oil (to fry)
- A chakli mould
Boil the water and add red chilli powder, salt, turmeric, ova and sesame seeds to it.
Add the flour, cover this mixture for about 30 minutes and beat the dough.
Apply oil to the chakli mould from inside so the dough doesn't stick to its sides.
Stuff the dough into the mould and press the dough out of it while moving the mould clockwise (or anticlockwise if you like being the odd one out).
Roll out these chaklis on a plastic sheet.
Heat the oil meanwhile and turn the chaklis into the oil one by one.
Ensure that the flame of the gas is on simmer when the chakalis are being fried.
Once the chakli looks crisp, remove from oil and serve with curds or home-made butter.
Recipe Courtesy: Sandhya Mande
Traditionally animals would be ritually sacrificed and offered to the goddess Kali on the night of Kali puja, which coincides with Diwali.
While the ritual has almost died, mutton curry remains a favoured traditional meal on this day.
This dish is usually made with goat meat in India, but translates well to lamb too.
- 1 kg mutton
- 1 cup yogurt or dahi
- 1-inch cinnamon
- 20 whole black peppercorns
- 6 tbsp garlic paste
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled
- 1 tbsp garam masala powder
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 onions sliced
- 4 green chillies, sliced lengthwise
- Grind the cinnamon, ginger, black pepper and mix with dahi, garam masala and garlic paste.
- Marinate mutton with the paste overnight in the refrigerator overnight.
- Fry the onions in butter till they turn slightly brown.
- Add marinated mutton pieces on very low.
- Before serving, add green chillies.
Image: Hando Mangsho