Gather the fam and set the festive spirit up a notch this Deepavali with a fun sweets-making sesh. Psst...It always ends on a very sweet note!
Deepavali without that oh-so-vibrant and decadent mithai platter (sweets platter) just does not make the festival feel festive enough. And if you have not tried Indian sweets till now, then we say you are missing out on some hard-core dessert heaven! But getting your hands on Indian sweets does not mean you need to scour the streets endlessly for the best mithai stores in town. Fret-not, cause we have a whole line-up of mithai recipes for you to try making from the comfort of your own kitchen with the fam. All you need are a few key ingredients in your pantry cubby, and you are good to go! Best part? With these recipes at hand, you can churn out some Indian goodies any time of year. Yay!
A few interesting facts about most Indian sweets are that they are centuries-old recipes made with simple pantry ingredients, and are mostly available in bite-sized portions. Before you feast on these bite-sized desserts, our advice is to brace yourselves and not underestimate their tiny appearances. Cause you’ll be surprised by what each bite can offer – a whopping EXPLOSION of flavour!
Where to get ingredients to make Diwali sweets in Singapore
Mustafa in Little India is a one-stop shop to buy a few key ingredients like whole spices, fresh nuts and dates, saffron, khoya (evaporated milk solids also called khoa or mawa), ghee (clarified butter) and other ingredients. If you can’t make it to Mustafa, there are a few online home-delivery options too that provide the same ingredients, like Murugan and Waangoo.
Most recipes include making a dough or batter and then working with it to shape it into bite-sized forms. The shaping stage is where the fam can participate in most recipes. Be warned though, because some sweets are bound to vanish from the scene before reaching the mithai platter.
10 Diwali sweet treats to make with the kids
1. Kaju Katli
One of the most popular Deepavali sweets is Kaju Katli or cashew fudge. The traditional recipe definitely has its place, but if you prefer to make a healthier version with the kiddos, try using honey instead of sugar. Yum! The recipe only takes approx 30 minutes to make and requires just four pantry staple ingredients, including cashews, sugar, ghee and flavouring (usually cardamom). The kiddos will have great fun kneading the Kaju Katli mixture, rolling it out flat with a rolling pin and cutting it into diamond shapes with a butter knife.
2. Kesar Pista Kulfi
Celebrating Deepavali in hot and humid Singapore calls for chilled traditional Indian treats. Good news – Kesar Pista Kulfi or Indian pistachio ice cream will hit the spot and is a fave during festive seasons, it’s easy to make and is packed with flavour! So head over to your pantry and pull out all those spices sitting there because this Kesar Pista Kulfi recipe by Hebbars Kitchen is absolutely decadent! We suggest your littlies can be the official food-tasters for this sesh while you churn out the recipe. Wouldn’t they gladly take up that role?
3. Besan Ladoo
Are you looking for a fam-bonding recipe that will set off some fun festive vibes for the season? Besan ladoo or sweet gram flour balls are little bursts of flavourful fun, which will be a hit with the kids and is a great fam-bonding activity. We love this Besan Ladoo recipe by Swasthi’s Recipes, and it’s so easy to put together. The key to this recipe is the stage of roasting the gram flour, and we suggest no kiddies be part of this. Once the mixture is ready, it’s all about shaping the cooled dough, and here’s where the fam can have great fun. Psst…don’t be surprised if a few ladoos vanish from the scene…
4. Gulab Jamun
This dessert is a fave for most Indians and is a highlight at festivals and special occasions. Gulab Jamun is little juicy balls of heaven made with khoya (evaporated milk solids) and other ingredients, served in a gooey rose sugar syrup. The fam will love participating in forming the Jamun balls while you prep the syrup (which is an adult-only job). Enjoy it hot or cold, either way, this dessert is a winner in our books. It pairs especially well served hot with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
This piece of heaven melts in the mouth like magic! Deepavali is never complete without fudgy and gooey milk Pedas on the mithai platter. The best part? It mainly requires two ingredients, including full-fat milk and sugar, and an optional garnishing. Once that dough is cooked and cooled, the kiddos can pitch in to shape-forming the Peda dough into disks. The kids can also add their personal touch by decorating each Peda with dry fruit like raisins, pistachios or almonds
6. Gajar ka halwa
This dessert not only looks enticing because of its bright orange tone but is a very flavourful sweet treat as well. We categorise it as a healthy dessert as it’s made with a load of carrots, milk and sugar, garnished with spices. Delish! You can definitely let your little ones to dig into more than one bowl of Gajar ka halwa with little guilt attached. Isn’t it a great way to get the littlies to eat their veggies? To prep Gajar ka halwa, you will require a lot of grated carrots, which would be a great activity for the kiddos (with adult supervision) to be part of during the making process. A scoop of vanilla ice cream is the perfect accompaniment.
7. Motichoor Ladoo
A word to describe Motichoor Ladoo? Fun! These bite-sized desserts are vibrant in look, delish to taste, and we know the kiddos will have a great time making them, not to mention eating them too! The main ingredient you will need for making Motichoor ladoos is gram flour, and the recipe requires a little more TLC and patience while prepping. The key steps include making the boondi (gram pearls) batter, deep frying the batter to make the boondi, making syrup and finally moulding it into ladoos (tiny bite-sized balls). Forming the ladoos is a safe stage for the kiddos to jump in for some good mithai-making action.
8. Dry Fruit ladoo
This dessert belongs to nutty heaven! Dry fruit ladoo are bite-sized balls made with an array of dry fruits like dates and nuts and do not require any added sugar. Yay! We say it’s a perfectly healthy festive dessert for the fam to feast on! It takes approximately fifteen minutes to prep, and you can add any nuts and dry fruits of your choice. A word of advice? We say cooking the mixture is in the parent’s department. The littlies can jump into the prep process after cooking the dough and the mixture has reached a warm temperature, to form into bite-sized balls. Ready to go nuts over each bite?
Soft and fluffy cottage cheese clouds (dumplings) soaked in sugar syrup? Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? Rasmalai is made with curdled milk and is another fave on our list of noteworthy mithai. It’s juicy, melts in your mouth and makes for a decadent Deepavali treat! Just the sound of that will get the littlies excited to help with forming those cloudy dumplings. The grown ups can make the gooey thickened milk syrup, and then leave the decoration to the kids – sprinkle chopped pistachios for the finale. Rasmalai is best enjoyed chilled, straight from the fridge.
10. Baked Shakarpara
These tiny diamond-shaped cookies are a fun snack and always appear on one of those drool-worthy mithai platters. Shakarpara is quite a versatile recipe as it can be enjoyed as a sweet or savoury snack. You can even choose to make it a healthy snack by baking it instead of taking the deep-fried route. For the ingredients, you may also choose to use whole wheat flour for the dough instead of refined flour, and jaggery in place of refined sugars. This recipe includes a few steps that could be fun for the littlies, like kneading the dough, rolling it out flat and cutting it into diamond shapes. Leave the deep frying of your kiddo’s masterpieces to the adults. Store in an air-tight jar to retain its crispiness.
And there you have it! A perfectly sweet ending to our list of yummy sweets to churn out with the kiddos this Deepavali. Have you thought of what the littlies are going to wear this Deepavali? Check out our complete guide to kit out the fam in the most lovely ethnic outfits. Happy Diwali!