Diwali 2023: 3 Indian Chefs Share Unique Festive Recipes

During Diwali, the significance of food transcends mere sustenance; it becomes a symbol of celebration, community, and tradition. Families come together to prepare an array of sweets and savouries, each dish carrying its own historical and cultural significance. Food during Diwali is not just about taste; it is a symbol of love and goodwill. Exchanging sweets and homemade treats is a customary gesture that strengthens bonds between friends, family, and neighbours. For those in the culinary industry, food is a career, but it’s also a passion, so when Diwali rolls around, each Chef is sure to know their favourites.

We caught up with a few Chefs to learn more about what they love to make on Diwali.

Chef Vikram Arora,  Culinary Consultant, Founder & Chef, Nksha, Tamak, Zao Cha House

During his childhood, Chef Arora always found fireworks more entertaining than food, and he remembers eagerly waiting for the household puja to finish so he and his cousins could go outside to play. One dish that he does remember fondly is the kala chana, made with the chana used during the puja, and the jalebis soaked in milk. As an adult, he still loves Punjabi comfort dishes like chole and rajma chawal for Diwali that remind him of home. 

Orange Zest & Kesar Malpua


For Malpua Batter:

  • 2 cup Refined flour (maida)
  • 1 cup mawa (khoya), crumbled
  • 1 cup semolina (sooji)
  • 2 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp fennel, crushed
  • A pinch of baking soda
  • Desi Ghee for frying

For Sugar Syrup:

  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • Saffron strands 
  • 2 tsp Orange Zest 
  • Chopped nuts for garnish (almonds, pistachios)


Prepare the Sugar Syrup:

  • In a saucepan, mix  sugar and water. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer until you get a one-string consistency. 
  • Add cardamom powder, orange zest and saffron strands. Mix well and set aside in a flat cooking utensil so that it have more surface to soak malpuas. We need to use it in when it becomes warm not hot.

Prepare the Malpua Batter:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine refined flour, crumbled mawa, semolina, crushed fennel seeds. Slowly add milk and water to make a smooth batter. Ensure there are no lumps.
  • The consistency of the batter should be similar to that of pancake batter. Add baking soda and keep it aside for an hour for fermentation.

Fry the Malpuas:

  • Heat desi ghee in a shallow frying pan. Once the ghee is hot, pour a ladleful of batter into the pan to form a small pancake.
  • Fry until the edges are golden brown, and then flip to cook the other side.  
  • Remove from the pan and drain excess oil by placing the malpua in dip. Immediately place the fried malpua into the prepared sugar syrup.
  • Allow it to soak for a minute or two, ensuring that both sides absorb the syrup.
  • Garnish it with chopped nuts, and  mawa malpua is ready to be served.

Chef D Prakash Kumar, Executive Chef, Woodrose Club by Brigade Group

Channar Payesh is a traditional dessert from Bengali cuisine that is especially popular around Diwali. Also referred to as cottage cheese pudding or paneer kheer, this is a delightful and timeless sweet dish that can be made without sugar, instead relying on condensed milk to sweeten the dish. 

Channar Payesh


  • 1 litre Milk
  • 300 grams Paneer (grated)
  • 200 grams Sugar
  • 0.75 grams Dry Nuts (finely chopped)
  • 0.50 ml Condensed Milk


  • In a saucepan, heat the milk until it reduces to half.
  • Add sugar to the milk and mix until fully dissolved.
  • Introduce grated paneer and let it cook for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Incorporate condensed milk and turn off the flame. Allow it to cool.
  • Garnish with finely chopped nuts and serve chilled.

V Chef Ragvendra Singh From Meetha By Radisson 

Gold is an inherent part of the Diwali celebrations, and what better way to include it than in a delicious sweet treat? This nutty delight features a collection of delicious flavours in a dessert that is both nostalgic and luxurious. 

Pista Vati


  • 500 grams Pista
  • 250 grams Sugar
  • 100 grams chopped roasted Almond
  • 100 grams Chopped roasted Cashewnut
  • 1 gram Saffron
  • 100 grams chopped roasted Pista
  • 100 grams Cashewnut Paste
  • Gold wark
  • 100 grams Almond without skin
  • 100 grams Glucose


  • Boil water and add half a kg Pista. Blanche it and remove the skin. Make Pista paste and incorporate sugar.
  • Place this paste in a pan and let it simmer on a slow flame for 30 minutes. Form a dough from the mixture.
  • Shape small balls from the dough, each weighing 15 grams, and set them aside.
  • For the filling, mix 50 grams of sugar with Cashewnut Paste. Cook it on a slow flame for 20 minutes, then add Saffron, chopped nuts, and 100 grams of glucose. Blend well to form a dough.
  • Now take the small balls (15 grams each) that were set aside. Stuff them with the prepared filling and shape them into balls. Press them slightly and garnish them with Gold Wark and Pista. Your Pista Vati is ready to be served.