Diwali Sweets are known for their popularity. Observed by more than a billion people in India and around the world, this five-day festival of lights, Diwali, is known for its sweet offerings to goddess Lakshmi in addition to colors, prayer, and candles to mark the Hindu New Year.
Although there are plenty of Diwali legends among different locations and communities in India, all agree that Diwali marks the victory of good over evil, the triumph of light over darkness. Therefore, the five-day celebrations feature candles, lightened clay lamps, colorful sands, fireworks, new clothes and family gatherings. Hindus visit the temple and get together with family members to exchange gifts and to share mithai, the traditional Indian desserts.
A popular legend claims that Diwali is the celebration of Lord Rama and his wife Sita return to the city of Ayodhya after 14 years of exile after defeating the demon king Ravan in the 15th century BC. A different story claims that is a different celebration, the victory of the Hindu god Vishnu whose role is to restore the balance between the good and evil.
Beyond the legends though, all agree that Diwali honors Laskhmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity and good fortune. As Diwali marks the end of harvest season of the year, farmers express their thanks to the goddess for the abundance of crops and the good harvest by gifting her sweets. The gifts mark the beginning of the new farming and business year.
The most popular Diwali Sweets you should try
What are the most popular Diwali Sweets you should try? Start with the Indian sweets known as Mithai. Their name is derived from the word mitha which means sweet, represent the old tradition of offering sweets to the Gods. They vary in their shape, colors and flavors and are a must in all religious festivals and celebrations including Diwali. They are commonly made with flour, semolina, rice flour, chickpea flour (besan), sugar, clarified butter, nuts, and milk evaporated to a fudge-like consistency.
Try a tweaked WD recipe for Vegan Almond Barfi Tell us what you think!
The common Diwali sweets that are largely available are:
- Barfi: the fudge-like cakes made with condensed milk, sugar, cardamom and nuts
- Laddu: round-shaped, made with sugar, chickpea flour, cardamom and ghee
- Jalebi: a saffron-flavored deep-fried dessert that is made with wheat flour, sugar, ghee, cardamom and of course saffron.
- Kulfi: the Indian creamy ice cream made with condensed milk, evaporated milk, dry milk solids, heavy cream and sugar
You can find most of them at your local Indian grocery store for sure. If you can’t or you don’t live close to one, try online here
Get our recipe for the Bandar Laddu here. Make the recipe and give us some stars!
What is a Mithai?
Mithai are Indian sweets that literary mean “sweet” as their name derives from the word mitha which means sweet. They vary in their shape, colors and flavors and are commonly offered in all religious festivals and celebrations including Diwali.
What is a Barfi?
Barfi is the Persian and Urdu word for snow. This is a popular Northern Indian sweet with a fudge-like consitency. The classic Barfi is made from finely granulated sugar and khoa, milk solids produced by slowly boiling milk until it becomes thick, These two ingredients are cooked together and, when thick, spread over a greased plate. Once the mixtre is cooled, it is cut into squares, diamonds or circles.
According to the book, Indian Cookery, a sugar to khoa ratio of 1 to 4 is the preferred based for Barfi. You can find Barfi in various flavorings included saffron, rosewater, vanilla, orange, mango, and cardamom powder.
Can Barfi be vegan?
Yes, Barfi can be made vegan. The varieties made with pistachios and almonds, do not contain khoa (which is milk). If the sugar used is vegan, then you have a vegan sweet Barfi! Try our recipe for the Vegan Almond Barfi here
In the meantime, try a tweaked WD recipe for Ve