Celebrate Diwali The Goan Way With These 6 Dishes

When we talk about Goan cuisine, more often than not it’s in relation to the Catholic community. Their Christmas sweets and menus often get the limelight but Goa also has a thriving native Hindu community for whom Diwali is the most important festival of the year. Over the course of a week festivities for Dhanteras, Chaturdeshi, Laxmi Puja, Govardhan Puja and Bhai Dooj, a host of delicious sweet and savoury dishes are served up for every meal of the day. 

The most important part of the celebrations however is the day of Narak Chaturdasi which falls one day before Diwali and celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna over the evil Narakasura. Also known as Choti Diwali, it marks when Krishna and his consort Satyabhama, kill Narkasur and made the world free from his evil reign. Grass and hay are used to construct vast effigies of Narkasur, which are then dressed in colourful paper clothes and armed with swords and then paraded down the streets while people jeer at him hurling taunts and insults. After dawn, he is then beheaded and cremated to signify the dawn of a new and peaceful day. 

During these days there are a few dishes which are seen in every Hindu household in the state and on the day of Diwali, the household first eats a bitter fruit called karit to signify the triumph of good over evil and only then can the feasting begin.


Diwali breakfast usually consists of Fov a spin on the Maharashtrian staple of Poha. Flattened rice flakes are cooked in a number of unique ways including Doodhatlye Fov which is made with milk, Rosathle Fov made with cardamom coconut milk, Takatle Fov with buttermilk, Kalayile Fov with coconut, jaggery and spices and a savoury version with potatoes called Bataat Fov.


Similar to gujiyas these crescent-shaped delicacies are thought to have originated in the forts of the Chandela Rajputs in the 16th century. The Goan version is stuffed with desiccated coconut, cardamom, sugar, poppy seeds, and nuts. 


Traditional crunchy snacks made with deep-fried dough and flavoured with chilli powder, ginger and jaggery are the meeting point between sweet and savoury. Parents usually send a basket of sweets called ‘Waje’ to their married daughters around this time and this crushed treat is always included.


Layers of crispy deep-fried dough each sprinkled with powdered sugar, these sweet treats sell out in minutes wherever they’re made. Usually made in advance and stored for the big day these flaky snacks are a Diwali staple. 


A traditional porridge-like sweet similar to a Payasam, this dish is made with chana dal and sabudana. It’s flavoured with coconut milk, jaggery, turmeric leaves and cardamom and often enhanced with dry fruits and nuts. 


These are a snack known to people around India but Goa puts its own stamp on it during Diwali. Usually savoury, at festival times this coiled snack is made sweet with coconut and jaggery that not only makes it sweeter but also improves the crunchiness.