The festival of lights, cheers and togetherness is just around the corner and nothing shouts out diwali better than those intimate card parties at home. While you have sent out invites for your annual diwali party, we bring to you a round of festive cocktails, mocktails and snacks that you can make at home to spruce up your diwali party and be the talk of the town.
Regent’s Punch – Cocktail
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup cubed pineapple
- 2 lemons
- 2 oranges
- 1 seville orange bitter or sour orange
- 2 tsp. green tea leaves
- 1 cup brandy, preferably VSOP cognac
- 1⁄4 cup dark Jamaican rum
- 1⁄4 cup arrack liquor, preferably Batavia-Arrack van Oosten, or cachaça
- 2 (750-ml) bottles brut champagne, chilled
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- In a 1-qt. saucepan, combine 1⁄2 cup sugar and 1⁄4 cup water. Stir over high heat until sugar dissolves; transfer to a bowl along with pineapple. Allow to macerate in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours to make a pineapple syrup. Strain and reserve; discard solids.
- Using a peeler, peel lemons, oranges, and seville orange, taking off as little white pith as possible. Transfer peels to a heavy bowl; reserve fruit. Add remaining sugar; use a muddler or a wooden spoon to vigorously crush sugar and peels together until sugar turns faintly yellow and slushy.
- In a medium bowl, steep tea in 2 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain tea over lemon and sugar mixture; stir until sugar dissolves. Juice reserved fruit into tea mixture. Strain through a sieve into another bowl; discard solids. Stir in pineapple syrup, brandy, rum, and arrack. Chill mixture. To serve, combine mixture and champagne in a punch bowl along with a large block of ice. Garnish with nutmeg.
Lemongrass Jasmine Iced Tea – Mocktail
- Muddle 4-5 pieces of cut lemon grass
- 15 Ml simple syrup
- 15 Ml lemon
- 120 ml jasmine tea
- 60 ml lychee juice
Add all the ingredients. Shake with ice. Double Strain into highball glass. Add cubed ice. Top with crushed ice. Garnish with lemon grass.
Gujiya Or Goan Nevris – Traditional Diwali Sweet
For Outer Pastry Of Nevri
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 5 tablespoons Ghee or oil
- ¼ to ⅓ cup water or add as required
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For Nevri Stuffing
- 1 tablespoon Ghee or oil
- 1 cup freshly grated coconut
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoon grated jaggery
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 7 to 8 cashews, chopped finely
- 19 to 20 golden raisins (or 1 tablespoon of golden raisins), chopped finely
For The Outer Pastry Of Nevri
Mix 1 cup of whole wheat flour with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Keep aside. Heat 1.5 tablespoons of ghee/oil in a small pan or tadka pan. Add the hot ghee/oil to the flour+salt mixture. Just allow the ghee/oil to cool if using your fingers, else you might burn them. Rub the melted ghee in the flour, with your fingers. The flour should have a bread crumb like texture. Then add 1/4 cup water and begin to knead the dough. Add more water if required while kneading the dough. Knead to a smooth dough. The dough should be neither too soft nor too thick. Wrap the dough with a damp muslin or cotton cloth and allow it to rest for 10 to 12 minutes.
Making Stuffing For Nevri
In a pan, melt 1 tablespoon of ghee. Add 1 cup of fresh grated coconut. Stir and saute the coconut for 2 minutes on low heat. Add the chopped cashews and raisins. Now add 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon of grated jaggery. Stir well and saute the mixture for 2 to 3 minutes on low flame. Don’t saute the jaggery for a long time, just mix well. Switch off the gas and sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder. Transfer the mixture to a plate. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
Assembling And Making Nevri
Uncover the dough. Knead the dough again. Then roll and form into a log. Cut the log in equal slices. Roll each dough piece between the palms of your hands and then gently flatten into a round or oval shape. Just ensure the balls have no cracks in them. I got 7 balls from the dough. Dust some flour over it. Roll the dough round in a 4 to 5 inches diameter circle. Similarly roll all the dough balls into thin circles of almost the same size and thickness. Brush some water towards the edges of the nevris. Place 1 tablespoon or 2 to 3 teaspoons of the stuffing in the center or on one side of the circle, keeping the edges empty. Make sure you don’t over stuff as then it becomes difficult to shape the nevris. They may also break while frying. Fold from one side. Seal the edges properly. Now with your fingertips, start pinching and pleating the pressed edges. Keep on pleating till you come to the end. Seal the end carefully with a pleat. Just ensure the edges are sealed properly else they might break while frying. Make all nevris this way. Keep the prepared nevris covered with a moist kitchen towel, so that the dough does not dry out.
Heat 2 to 3 cups of oil in a pan. Once oil is hot, deep fry 1 to 2 nevris at a time depending upon the size of pan or kadai. Once one side is crisp and golden then flip the nevris and deep fry the other side until golden brown. Flip once or twice for even browning and cooking. Place them on kitchen paper towels or napkins, to absorb excess oil if any.
Once they come at room temperature, store them in an air-tight container. You could also keep them in the fridge. You can serve goan nevris warm or at room temperature.
Bhakarwadi – Traditional Diwali Savoury
For Bhakarwadi Dough
- 1 cup besan or 100 grams besan (gram flour)
- ¾ cup maida or 90 to 95 grams maida (all purpose flour)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
- 1 pinch asafoetida (hing)
- ¾ to 1 teaspoon salt or add as required
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 5 tablespoons water or add as required
For Bhakarwadi Stuffing
- 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
- ½ cup desiccated coconut
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 pinch asafoetida
- 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice or add as required
- Salt as required
- 5 to 2 tablespoons sugar or add as per taste
- Oil as required for deep frying
Making Bhakarwadi Dough
In a mixing bowl or large tray or plate, take gram flour (besan), all purpose flour (maida), turmeric powder, asafoetida (hing) and salt. With a spoon mix everything well. Next add 3 tablespoons of oil. with your fingertips, mix the oil with the flours, till you get a breadcrumb like texture. Take a portion of the flour and press it. It should be able to hold itself and not crumble. Next add water in parts. Amount of water to be added depends on the quality of besan and maida, so add in parts and add as required. Overall you can add 4 to 5 tablespoons of water or add as required. Add water in parts, begin to mix and knead the dough. Knead to a semi soft dough. In case the dough becomes sticky, then add some maida. If it looks dry, then sprinkle some water and continue to knead. Cover the dough and keep aside.
Making Bhakarwadi Stuffing
Heat a heavy pan or kadai. Add 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds. On a low to medium-low flame, stirring often roast sesame seeds till they crackle. Do not brown them. Keeping flame to a low, add ½ cup desiccated coconut (40 grams) and 1 tablespoon poppy seeds. Mix very well. Then Add ½ teaspoon fennel seeds. Mix again and roast on a low flame. Stirring non-stop, roast till coconut is light golden. Switch off the flame and keep the pan down.
Add the following spice powders one by one – 1 pinch asafoetida, 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder and ½ teaspoon garam masala. Also add salt as per taste. The spice powders will get cooked with the residue heat from the pan and the coconut mixture. Mix very well and let this mixture cool. Then take all of the roasted stuffing mixture in a grinder jar. Add 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of sugar. You can add less or more sugar as per your taste buds.
Grind to a semi fine powder. Do not grind fine as then oil releases from coconut and sesame seeds. Use the pulse option and grind or grind in intervals of a few seconds. Take the stuffing in a bowl. Add ½ tablespoon lemon juice. For a more tangy taste in bhakarwadi, you can add 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Alternatively add 1 to 2 teaspoons dry mango powder or 1 to 2 teaspoons of tamarind pulp (note: not tamarind paste). The sourness can be made less or more, by adding less or more of the souring ingredient.
Mix very well. Check taste and if required add more salt, sugar or spice powders or lemon juice.
Assembling And Making Bhakarwadi Spirals
Take the dough and roll it into a log. Cut the log in 4 to 5 equal parts. Take one part of the dough and roll between your palms to get a round shape. Flatten and keep the dough on a rolling board. Sprinkle some besan before you begin to roll the dough.
Roll to a medium thick round or square or rectangle. Make sure that the dough is not rolled thinly or thickly. Now brush lightly with water all over the rolled dough.
With a spoon spread masala on the dough, leaving a space of ½ to 1 inch at the edges. Then lightly press the stuffing masala with a spoon. Now begin to tightly roll the dough. roll to a tight and neat log. Then join the edges. Cut the rolled log in equal parts. You will get the bhakarwadi spirals or pinwheels. Place them with the pinwheel surface facing you.
Gently press each bhakarwadi pinwheel with the heels of your palm. This way, make bhakarwadi pinwheels with the entire dough and stuffing mixture. Keep them in a bowl. Cover the bowl.
Heat oil in a kadai or pan. Keep the flame to medium-low or medium. To check if the oil is hot, slide one bhakarwadi in the oil. If the bhakarwadi comes up gradually to the surface of oil, you can begin frying bhakarwadi. Add the bhakarwadi pinwheels in the oil. Do not overcrowd the pan or kadai with bhakarwadi. Begin to fry at medium low to medium flame. Do not fry on a high flame as then the center of bhakarwadi can be slightly soft and uncooked.
When one side is light golden, turn over with a slotted spoon and fry the second side of bhakarwadi. Continue to turn a couple of times to get even a golden color. Fry them till the crust becomes crisp & golden and the oil stops sizzling. Remove the fried bhakarwadi with a slotted spoon draining extra oil in the kadai itself. Place on kitchen paper towels to remove the extra oil. Similarly, fry the remaining bhakarwadi.
When they cool down at room temperature, then place them in an air-tight jar or box. Serve them as a diwali party snack.