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10 Diwali Foods to Try Under the Lights This Year

Celebrate the "festival of lights" with these delicious Diwali food ideas.

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Woman hands with henna holding candle isolated on black

Diwali is a “festival of lights” celebrated each fall in India, Singapore and other countries in South Asia. This year, the main Diwali celebration is on Oct. 27. But in most of India, Diwali is a five-day celebration that includes traditions such as fireworks, candle-lighting and family gatherings—as well as a range of delicious treats. If you plan to join in on the festivities, these are the Diwali foods you need to try.

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Vegetarian samsa or samosas.Indian special traditional street food punjabi samosa or Coxinha, Croquete and other Fried Brazilian Snacks.beats1/Shutterstock


Samosas are small, triangular savory pastry pockets stuffed with spices—like coriander, pepper and caraway seeds—and vegetables. They are best served piping hot and with chutney. You can bake your own version of this ancient treat in under an hour.

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kheer or rice pudding is an Indian dessert in a brown terracotta bowl with dry fruits


Kheer is a pudding made by boiling milk and sugar with rice, broken wheat, tapioca, vermicelli or sweet corn. It’s usually made with cardamom, raisins, saffron, cashews, pistachios, almonds or other dry fruits and nuts. If you can’t find kheer, try adding spices to grandma’s classic rice pudding.

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Crispy Corn Tikki, pakora/pakoda or pattice also known as cutlet. served with green chutney. Indian Food Images/Shutterstock


Pakora is made by pairing vegetables—think onion, eggplant, potato, spinach or cauliflower—with spices, then dipping them in batter and deep-frying them. You can try a healthier, non-fried, version of the pakora-spice combination with an easy creamy cauliflower pakora soup.

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Aloo Tikki / Ragda Patties / Cutlet is a popular snack or snack from

Aloo tikki

Aloo tikki is a snack made from boiled potatoes, peas and curry spices. “Aloo” means potato and “tikki” means small cutlet or croquette. The potatoes are mashed, the spices and peas added and the whole combination is dipped into an egg wash before being fried. Here are 25 more Indian recipes you’ll love to make.

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Indian Traditional Special Sweet Food Gulab JamunIndian Creations/Shutterstock

Gulab jamun

Gulab jamun is a sweet snack usually made with powdered milk, a little flour, baking powder and ghee. The ingredients are kneaded to form a dough, shaped into balls, deep-fried and simmered in sugar syrup. PS: You can make your own ghee—it’s easy!

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Homemade Indian Potato Poori or Puri served with Alu Matar, selective focusvm2002/Shutterstock


Puri is a small, round, flat piece of bread made of unleavened wheat flour and deep-fried. While it is usually served with meat or vegetables—such as a savory curry—it may also be eaten with sweet dishes. Learn more about Indian street food.

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Chirote or Chiroti is a sweet dish from Karnataka and Maharashtra.Indian Food Images/Shutterstock


Chirote is a flaky, sweet layered snack made with refined flour. It’s fried in ghee and coated with powdered sugar. It can also be dipped in cardamom-flavored sugar syrup. Though this isn’t the traditional method, it can be made with a store-bought pastry sheet.

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Nachni laddu or Ragi laddoo or balls made using finger millet, sugar and gheeIndian Food Images/Shutterstock


Similar in shape to gulab jamun, laddoo is made with flour, ghee and sugar mixed with a range of other ingredients such as chopped nuts or dried raisins. In addition to being part of Diwali, laddoo is a traditional part of engagement and wedding celebrations.

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Dry fruit, whole chirongi nuts charoli buchanania lanzan on white backgroundMilind Arvind Ketkar/Shutterstock

Chirongi nuts

Chirongi nuts are about the size of lentils and have an almond-like taste. Rich in sweet-oils and sometimes expensive, they are the kernels of a tree native to Southern Asia. They can be eaten raw or toasted for a stronger flavor.

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Indian Masala tea ChaiAlphonsine Sabine/Shutterstock

Chai tea

Technically not a food, but this classic beverage can be paired with all the treats on this list. Hot or iced, chai tea is made by brewing black tea with a mixture of aromatic spices and herbs, like cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, pepper, fennel and star anise. You can find our favorite chai recipes here.

Cathryn Jakicic
Cathy Jakicic has written about everything from business and bacteria to beads and baking in her career —but she greatly prefers the last two. She is a baker and a crafter and loves to try new recipes for both.

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