Celebrating Diwali, the festival of light, with Indian sweets

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photo 1Diwali takes place on 23 October this year, and you’ll probably know that by the sound of fireworks exploding in the sky near you – what a perfect way to celebrate the festival of lights!

Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival which is celebrated in Autumn each year, although the date differs each year depending on the full moon between October and November.

Diwali generally starts with Hindu families cleaning and decorating their houses and lighting candles around the home (and outside as well). After prayers and fireworks, families and friends exchange Indian sweets with eachother, celebrating light triumphing over darkness.

I was lucky enough to be in Mauritius for Diwali last year and greatly enjoyed their celebrations, photos of which are shown here. Everyone was included in the celebrations and blessings, and I ate more than I should have of the very sweet Indian sweets! Delicious, but probably just as well they are only shared once per year!

Here is a recipe for Indian sweets to celebrate Diwali with – make some for your friends! These are simple to make in the microwave.

Nariyal burfi (Indian coconut sweet)

225g desiccated coconut, 1 1/2 (397g) tins condensed sweetened milk, 70g flaked almonds, 1 tablespoon ground cardamom (optional)

Grease a 23cm tin.

The coconut and condensed milk should be mixed together in a bowl which can be used in the microwave. Heat the mixture on high for 7 minutes, but take the bowl out every thirty seconds to give the mixture a quick stir. When hot and bubbling, stir in the almonds and cardamom. Then pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top of it with a spatula.

The mixture should be cooled for an hour in the fridge, then cut into squares with a greased knife. Or alternatively you can roll the mixture into balls and roll in desiccated coconut.

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