Get your crowd-pleasing menu ready for this year’s Festival of Light – here are some delightful Diwali food and drink ideas.
Diwali is a wonderful time of light, celebration, and delicious food. There are plenty of Diwali food and drink ideas that will make your festival just that extra bit special. From traditional Indian dishes to luxurious drinks, there’s something for everyone here. So why not get started on your Diwali menu today?
If you’re looking to add a touch of cacao decadence to your celebration this November, explore our Diwali chocolate range. We have dozens of irresistible treats that make fabulous gifts for loved ones. Plus, our Diwali packaging adds an extra special element.
Diwali: the festival of light
Translating from Sanskrit as “rows of lights”, Diwali is a Hindu festival celebrated each year sometime between October and November. In 2023, Diwali falls on Sunday 12th November.
Where does the Diwali festival come from, though? According to Hindu legend, Diwali is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana to their home kingdom after a long period of exile in which Rama defeated the demon Ravana.
The holiday celebrates different important occasions and legends in Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism, but the triumphing of good over evil, and of light over darkness, is the true spirit of Diwali.
The five-day festival worships Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. Diwali is a time to spruce up your home, buy new clothes and treat your loved ones to special gifts. Around this time, you’ll see lights and oil lamps illuminating homes and brightly-coloured Rangoli designs adorning floors and tabletops. Vibrant fireworks also take centre stage, lighting the sky.
All over the world, eating and drinking are at the heart of religious festivals, so of course Diwali is no exception. Keep reading for some menu inspiration if you’re planning a celebratory feast with family and friends.
Diwali food and drink ideas
The highlight of Diwali for many is throwing and attending extravagant celebrations. A feast of tempting treats is at the heart of many Diwali gatherings, so we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite sweet and savoury food ideas.
Savoury snacks for Diwali
Is there anything better than a table full of snacks at a party? Especially if they’re all homemade…
A failsafe crowd-pleaser, samosas are essential for any South Asian-themed feast. They’re perfect as an appetiser or part of a spread of small dishes.
You can keep it traditional (and vegetarian) with a filling of potatoes, onions and peas with flavourful spices, or get creative and fuse favourite Indian flavours, such as these keema samosas made with lamb.
Alternatively, for something a little more unusual, you could give your samosas a chocolate twist. Technically belonging to our Diwali desserts section, these chocolate samosas unite dark chocolate with pistachio for a rich and satisfying filling. Opt for dark chocolate with a high cacao content for a deep and nuanced flavour.
Murukku or chakri
You will find murukku or chakri in huge quantities at festivals across India. The names of these unique snacks translate as ‘twisted’, a reference to their unusual and very satisfying shape. Deep-fried and biscuit-like, they’re buttery, crunchy, and moreish.
Their extra crunchy texture and flexibility to be made as spicy as you like are just two of the reasons that make these beloved snacks a staple of Diwali feasts. Moreover, you can adapt the recipe to feature a range of flavours and spices.
Of course, the classic onion bhajis come to mind, but the special thing about these pocket-sized treats is they can be made with anything sliced or grated. This feature makes them ideal for using up leftovers or personalising with your favourite vegetables!
Making bhajis is as simple as combining your ingredients in a bowl, adding water to make a batter then deep-frying. Bhajis are best served fresh from the pan with plenty of chutney for dipping.
Follow up all that spicy goodness with some delicious sweet treats. You can always intersperse your Diwali food spread with indulgent chocolate nibbles, too. Our Chocolat Granolas are perfect for keeping guests happy between bigger dishes! Turkish Delight is another excellent option for those who enjoy aromatic rose and lemon flavours.
Classically made to celebrate Holi (but at home at any celebration), gujiya are crescent-shaped deep-fried pastries with a sweet filling, resembling Mexican empanadas.
Traditionally this filling features sweetened khoya or mawa (milk solids), cardamom and nuts. But of course, you can make it your own, so why not get creative?
From grated coconut to raisins and other dried fruits, explore some flavour combinations. We might be a little biased, but we think this chocolate gujiya recipe is something truly spectacular. The pastry casing is incredibly easy to make yourself, too!
Barfi is a dense, milky Indian fudge. It’s so easy to make in a big batch, chilled into a slab, and chopped up to feed a big group.
As with many Indian sweets, it’s often topped with nuts, stem ginger or dried fruits. Naturally, here at Hotel Chocolat, we like this recipe best, which uses dark chocolate as a topping.
Gulab jamun is one of India’s most cherished festival desserts and is an iconic part of most celebration feasts. They are delicious round dough balls, much like doughnuts, with a sugar syrup and rose water glaze.
Recipes for gulab jamun are easily scalable, so you can make a big batch and pile them high or keep small batches coming and serve them warm.
Alcohol isn’t traditionally part of a Diwali celebration. So if you’re planning to keep it authentic, here are some soft drink ideas to accompany your delicious Diwali food.
Masala chai – literally ‘tea with spices’ – is a delightfully warming variant of the classic cup of tea. It’s ideal to enjoy while relaxing after all the excitement.
For best results, use loose-leaf tea. Boil it up in a small saucepan with your spices (usually cardamom, cinnamon and cloves). Strain it and stir in milk and sugar to suit your preferences. Leave to infuse for a couple of minutes before serving in mugs.
Refreshing, hydrating and perfect to cut through rich Diwali food, nimbu pani is essentially Indian lemonade. Make it with fresh lemon juice (or lime, if you prefer), sugar, and varying measures of salt and black salt depending on your recipe. Then add in chilled water and serve over ice.
This Diwali beverage is deceptively simple and always a big hit at dinner parties.
While it may not be a traditional Diwali drink, hot chocolate can make a comforting and satisfying accompaniment. If you’d rather opt for an autumn flavour blend of drinking chocolate, we’d recommend our Apple Pie Hot Chocolate Sachets, or keep it simple with our classic Milky 50%.
For best results, pair your chocolate flakes of choice with our revolutionary hot chocolate system, The Velvetiser. This unique machine heats, stirs, and whips milk and hot chocolate into an unbelievably smooth texture. It’s sure to impress any guests at your Diwali feast.
Diwali treats and gifts from Hotel Chocolat
Alongside quality time together and sharing delicious food, Diwali is a time for generosity and goodwill. Exchanging gifts is a popular Diwali pastime for many families and friendship groups.
Chocolate makes an excellent Diwali present, especially when wrapped in our elegant firework packaging. Make your Diwali extra special this year, with luxurious chocolate gifts.
From classic H-Boxes and Sleeksters to the Everything Luxe Collection, we have bitesize tokens of affection and big showcases of generosity to suit every taste. Browse our entire collection of Diwali gifts for inspiration to bring light and joy to your celebrations this year.