Celebrate Diwali, India’s biggest and brightest festival, with our quick guide and specially selected recipes

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Rangolis are arranged out of flower petals, lights and fabric to celebrate Diwali


So what's Diwali all about then?

Diwali (also known as Deepavali) is the Hindu festival of lights and the beginning of the Hindu new year. (Basically, it's a pretty big deal.)


Hindus the world over celebrate by lighting a row of candles or clay oil lamps (known as diyas) all around their home to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Families tidy and clean the house beforehand, put on their finest clothes, and cook up a massive feast. 


When's it happening?

The festival lasts for five days and begins on Wednesday 11 November 2015 – like Easter, the date changes every year according to the lunar calendar. 


Now the important bit. What about the food?

We love any excuse for a party, so why not get into the spirit at home with a special feast using these nine hand-picked recipes from around the web?


Or you could just get a takeaway. But don't say we didn't try …


The nibbles to start

Juicy samosas and Bombay mix-style munchers will keep everyone happy. In fact, once you’ve made these for Diwali, you might begin to crave them all year round.



This recipe comes with a handy GIF to show you how to fold your filling up in filo.

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Never heard of poha? It's crispy beaten rice. But if you’re looking for a shortcut, just use cornflakes and skip heating them in the microwave (as per step 1).

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Eaten instead of flatbreads such as chappati on festival days, pooris are way more indulgent and tasty – probably because they're fried in ghee (purified butter). If you don’t have atta flour (available from Indian shops) use wholemeal flour instead.

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Main courses


Easy chana dal

Ever popular on the takeaway menu, it’s super simple to make your own chana dal and if you serve it in a special dish, it looks even more delicious.

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Kashmiri chicken korma

Fragrant and creamy, use diced chicken thigh meat instead of chicken breast for even more flavour.

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Kashmiri chicken korma

Photo: Homemade


Saag paneer mini pizzas with salad

Yeah yeah, we know pizza is Italian. But these spinach and cheese naan pizzas are quick and delicious.

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Naan pizzas

Photo: Homemade



Diwali is all about sweets, or mithai, as they're known in India, and they're often eaten with masala chai (milky black tea flavoured with aromatic Indian spices).




Traditionally made from a mixture of flour, sugar and fat, this coconut version uses condensed milk and only takes 15 minutes to prepare. Nice work.

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Similar in texture to fudge, this exotic apple barfi is flavoured with orange blossom and cardamom powder.

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A sweet dish of carrot or semolina boiled with milk, almonds, cardamom and butter, which might just become your new favourite rice pudding.

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