News | 3 November 2021
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Create a taste of Diwali at home

Celebrate the festival of lights with these delicious recipes for mysore pak, chole masala and gajar ka halwa.

A dessert made up of grated carrots, nuts and condensed milk in an ornate bowl on a wooden table.

Carrot Halwa or Gajar Ka Kalwa

Course: Dessert 

Carrot Halwa popularly known as Gajar Ka Halwa is a classic, rich and decadent pudding packed with dry fruit and nuts.

3 cups carrots tightly packed (peeled and grated)
2 tbsp butter or ghee
4 tbsp milk
6 tbsp condensed milk 
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp cashews roasted
2 tbsp almonds roasted
2 tbsp pistachios roasted 
2 tbsp raisins 

1. In a non-stick pan on medium heat, melt butter. Add grated carrots and saute on medium flame until carrots are tender and cooked and any moisture has dried out. This may take around 5 to 8 minutes.
2. Add milk and stir for two minutes until absorbed.
3. Add condensed milk and stir nicely. Add cardamom powder and dry fruit and nuts of your choice. 
4. Simmer on low flame and stir the halwa till the mixture dries up. Keep stirring to avoid sticking to the bottom. 
5. Your carrot halwa is ready! Serve warm or chill in refrigerator and serve cold.

Read more:
Diwali Festival

Square pieces of mysore pak stacked on a white plate.

Mysore Pak

Course: Snacks 

Faral or Snacks are an integral part of the Diwali menu and celebrations at home. Families usually make them days in advance in anticipation of guests. These can be savoury or sweet snacks. 

1 cup - 250ml  
Chickpea flour - 1/2 cup 
Powdered sugar or icing sugar - 1 cup 
Melted ghee - 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp 
Boiled & cooled milk - 2 tsp (at room temp) 

1. Powder 1/2 cup of crystal sugar to a fine powder. 
2. Melt ghee and measure it and set aside.
3. Keep a plate ready greased with ghee.
4. In a wide bowl, sieve the flour and keep aside.
5. In a microwave safe bowl (preferably glass), add 1 tbsp of melted ghee and the sieved flour. Mix well and microwave on high for one minute.
6. Remove the now roasted flour and set aside. 
7. In the same bowl, take 1/2 cup of melted ghee, add the powdered sugar or icing sugar and 2 tsp of milk. Mix well.
8. Add the roasted flour without any lumps. 
9. Mix well and microwave on high for one minute. Remove and stir well then microwave for another minute.
10. You will be able to see a foamy texture with bubbles in it. If it's not foamy, mix well and put it back in the microwave for another 20 seconds.
11. Remove and pour onto the pre-greased plate. Press and smooth it with the back of a spatula. It's ok if the mixture is slightly crumbly.
12. Leave aside for 10-15 minutes. 
13. Once warm, cut into shapes but leave on plate.
14. Remove once completely cooled and serve. 


A glass bowl full of chickpeas.

Chole masala 

Course: Lunch or dinner

Punjabi chole masala or chana masala is one of the most popular curry dishes from India. In fact, in north India no wedding or party is complete until you have chole masala on the menu. 

To pressure cook:
2 cups + 2 tablespoons raw chickpeas
5-6 green cardamom pods
4-5 black peppercorn
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks 
Salt to taste 
5 cups water

For the chole masala:
1 tablespoon oil
3-4 cloves
3/4 cup puréed onion from two small onions
2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
2.5 cups puréed tomatoes (4 medium tomatoes)
3 teaspoons chole masala powder (found at any Indian store)
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder or to taste 
1/2 teaspoon paprika powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin powder
Salt to taste 

To garnish:
1/2 tablespoon crushed kasuri methi also known as dried fenugreek leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Soak the chickpeas overnight in enough water to cover them. In the morning, drain the water.
2. In a pressure cooker, add the soaked and drained chickpeas, bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, salt and 4 to 5 cups water. Pressure cook at high flame till you get one or two whistles. After that, lower the flame to medium and let the chickpeas cook for another 10-12 minutes.
3. In a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add cloves and grated onions. Fry the onions till raw smell goes away and they are light golden brown.
4. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for 3-4 minutes till the smell of ginger-garlic goes away.
5. Add tomato purée, stir and let cook for 12-15 minutes on medium-low flame. Cover the pan to prevent it splashing around.
6. Add the chole masala powder, red chilli powder, paprika powder, cumin powder, salt and mix for 1-2 minutes.
7. Add the chickpeas and stir till they are coated with spices, around two minutes.
8. Add water used for boiling chickpeas, cover pan and let simmer at medium heat for around 30 minutes. The gravy will thicken after 30 minutes so add water accordingly.
9. Sprinkle some kasuri methi and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
10. Serve with roti, paratha or plain rice. 

Special thanks to our friends at Community Actions Trust NZ (CATNZ) for putting these recipes together and to our event sponsors ANZ. 
You can download the PDF version of the recipes here