We, as a country, are collectively a civilization with a sweet tooth. Across the length and breadth of India, Diwali sweets and snacks differ from region to region. The snacks were introduced to the region by a variety of rulers and cultural influences that impacted them. There are some sweets and condiments that are common to our culture while others that change with the Indian state that you are living in. With Diwali snacking (most snacks are loaded with calories so there are no guilt-free options available) the unique factor is that with every sweet laddu, there is a spicy sev and with every sweet and fermented Anarasa there is a Murukku or a Chakli or a Chivda to correct the spice and sweet balance. CitySpidey picks a few snack options to munch on through thought and indulgence both!!
This is one of the most singularly unifying Diwali snacks that people across India gorge on. The Jodhpuri Bundi laddoo owes its allegiance to Rajasthan whereas the besan and Sooji variants are found throughout the country. The origin of laddoos dates back to Sushruta, the father of Indian medicine who it is believed mixed medicine with sesame seeds, jaggery and peanuts to make it palatable and consumable for his patients back in 800 BC. The round shape thus became a mainstay for laddoos made over centuries. The richer Punjabi variety of Panjiri ke laddoo replete with dry fruits and nuts owe their origin to the Middle East exports of the same to India a few centuries ago.
Chakli or Murukku
Made with an assortment of millet and rice flour this is typically south of the Vindhyas snack. Called by different names the round, crispy and fried snack is a mainstay with tea and evening snacking the whole year. However, Diwali is a special time for gorging on it. It is called Chakli owing to its wheel-like round shape in Maharashtra. It is called Murukku in South India.
Karanji or Gujiya
The semi halves look of the sweet with a Maida coating and a sweet filling is again a sort of a unifier in North, East and West India. In UP and Bihar it is popularly called Gujiya stuffed typically with sweetened khoya and dry fruits. It is a mainstay in North India during Holi whereas in West India it is eaten during Diwali and more popularly called Karanji in Maharashtra and Gughara in Gujarat. Interestingly the word Karanji also resonates and finds a mention in Odisha.
Made with fermented rice, poppy seeds, jaggery and ghee this unique fermented and crispy sweet is made in Bihar and Maharashtra. The author also found anarasa being made across the border and sold in neighbouring Pakistan.
This is one snack that you just can’t ‘save’ for tomorrow. The bad pun notwithstanding the fried, crunchy noodle-like Indian snack is a mainstay in most Indian homes. The basic sev is made out of besan flour with a variety of spices mixed in it and then shaped like noodles and fried. However, garlic sev is a popular variant of this Indian snack. In Jabalpur or Indore the clove sev or the ‘laung sev’ available in most sweetmeat stores is highly recommended. A Gujarati variant of this snack is called ‘Sev Gathiya’. It is thicker and is infused with whole cumin and other spices to give it a good punch.
The author is in a dying hurry to munch and try, some of these snacks after having written about them. Hence, here is wishing you a Happy Diwali and Happy snacking as well!!