What to Bake For Diwali


With Deepavali just around the corner you may be wondering what to bake for Diwali this year. Perhaps you will be inspired by some of the contents of Amma’s Diwali Parcels. Though Diwali treats essentially consist of sweetmeats, Amma made a variety of sweet treats ranging from sweetmeats and biscuits to savory Samoosa’s and Bajia.

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I recall how excited Amma used to be about baking for Diwali. She would often plan a week or two in advance.   I was between the ages 10-16 years old at the time- enlisted by Amma to write the shopping list of all ingredients needed for Diwali Baking.  Amma would make between 10 or 11 different treats to fill Diwali Parcels for the neighbours.  Back then (early 1990’s) the budget for Amma’s Diwali shopping was between R 20- R 30.

Amma used to bake each item then store it them in ‘biscuit tins’…an assortment of collectible metal biscuit tins – which Amma had collected over the years- each decorated with various motifs. These treasures were stored on the pelmet above our dining room windows and usually came down only for mass baking during Diwali. Amma would identify each treat by the motif on the tin. I recall a few of them-there was a red tin with black and white horizontal stripes, it had a black lid with a bunch of 5 red roses on it – this tin was reserved  for the  Hungrian Tarts. 

Amma’s Diwali Parcels were usually a paper plate covered with a colored serviette spread with one or two of each of her treats. Finishing details usually included colored cellophane wrap which looked much like wedding trays or a simple white plastic or cellophane wrap to seal off her Diwali Parcels. These were usually  delivered to neighbours by my younger sister and I on Diwali day.

What to Bake for Diwali: Amma’s Diwali Treats

Some of the treats Amma made for Diwali usually included:


1.    Samoosa’s
2.    Hungarian Tart
3.    Gulam Jamun
4.    Snowballs
5.    Romany Creams
6.    Butter biscuits
7.    Crunchies
8.    Burfee
9.     Chana Magaj
10.    Coconut Ice
11.    Poli
12.   Date Rolls
13.    Bajia
14.    Custard Biscuits

Diwali Baking Shopping List

If your Diwali ensemble resembles Amma’s Diwali parcel then the following shopping list will also be of use to you:

  1. Almonds
  2. Baking powder
  3. Bicarbonate of soda
  4. Brown Sugar
  5. Butter
  6. Cardamom
  7. Cellophane Tape
  8. Cellophane wrapping
  9. Cherries
  10. Chillies
  11. Cinnamon
  12. Cocoa powder
  13. Condensed Milk
  14. Cooking Chocolate
  15. Coriander
  16. Cream of tartar
  17. Dates
  18. Decorative beads
  19. Desiccated Coconut
  20. Eggs
  21. Evaporated Milk
  22. Flour
  23. Food colouring
  24. Fresh Cream
  25. Gram Flour
  26. Klim/ powdered Milk
  27. Milk
  28. Minced meat
  29. Oats
  30. Onions
  31. Paper plates
  32. Raisins
  33. Rose Water
  34. Salt
  35. Semolina
  36. Serviettes
  37. Shallots
  38. Smarties
  39. Syrup
  40. White Sugar

Diwali Recipes

Stay tuned for all of Amma’s Diwali Recipes over the course of the next two weeks. If you would like a particular recipe then feel free to fill out the recipe request form. If you have tried any of the recipes on the blog…you are also welcome to leave a review of the recipe.


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