Must-try sweetmeats for Diwali

Published Nov 7, 2023


Diwali, which is celebrated by the Hindus as the Festival of Lights, is one that is eagerly looked forward to, especially by children as they are most excited about indulging in delectable sweet treats on the special day.

And the fun of making Diwali sweetmeats at home is doubled when you have your family around.

This Diwali, surprise your family with delicious sweet delicacies. To help, we asked chefs and foodies to share their tasty and delightful recipes.

Dainty saffron burfee bites. Picture: Supplied

Dainty Saffron Burfee Bites


1 tbs Parmalat salted butter

1 pinch of saffron

1 cup icing sugar

2 cups milk powder

1 cup condensed milk

½ cup Parmalat vanilla-flavoured custard


To a pot, add a tablespoon of salted butter.

Bloom a pinch of saffron in a teaspoon of water.

Add saffron water, icing sugar, milk powder, condensed milk and custard to the mixture.

Cook the ingredients until thick and sticky. Allow to set in a tray or silicone mould.

Cut into squares or remove from moulds.

Decorate with white chocolate and rose petals.

Recipe by Kajal Maharaj.

Gulab jamun. Picture: Supplied

Gulab Jamun


6 cups water

3 cups granulated sugar

1 tbs ground cardamom

2 tbs rose water

3 cups powdered milk

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ tsp baking powder

1 cup double cream, thickened

Oil for frying

For the sugar syrup

400g sugar

450ml water

½ tsp cardamom powder

¼ tsp saffron

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp rose water


Pour the water and sugar into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

Turn off the heat and stir in the ground cardamom and rose water, then set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the powdered milk, flour and baking powder, then add the cream – a little at a time – while kneading to make a dough that is soft but not sticky.

Once the dough is ready, divide it into walnut-sized balls, rolling it between your hands until smooth.

Next, fill a wide pan with enough oil to deep fry the balls, and heat to around 180°C.

Fry in batches so as not to crowd the pan, turning often to brown all sides.

Once cooked, remove with a slotted spoon to allow oil to drain, then place immediately into the syrup mixture. Allow all the gulab jamun to soak in the syrup for at least 2 hours before serving.

Chef’s tips: Make sure there are no cracks when rolling the dough and that the balls of dough are smooth. Also, do not fry the gulab jamun over very high heat as it will burn on the outside and remain raw inside.

Shankarpali. Picture: Supplied



¼ cup ghee

⅓ cup milk

½ cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp vanilla extract

Oil for frying


Add ghee, milk and sugar to a saucepan.

Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar completely dissolves. Allow it to cool. In a mixing bowl, add all-purpose flour, salt and vanilla.

Gradually add the cooled milk mixture to form a soft dough. Allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. The dough will continue to harden as the ghee starts to solidify.

Divide the dough into 4 parts and roll each one into a ball. Take one dough ball at a time and roll it into a 20cm to 25cm circle.

Cut into 2½cm squares then, using a flat spatula, place them on a tray. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat.

Using a slotted stainless steel spatula, place some shankarpali into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Wait for a minute, then lower the heat to medium-low.

Fry the shankarpali on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

Once they turn golden brown on both sides, take them out with a slotted spoon. Lower the heat while taking out the shankarpali, so those left behind do not become darker.

Once the first batch is out, increase the heat back to medium and allow the oil temperature to rise, then add the next batch.

Allow the cooked shankarpali to cool on a large baking tray. Store in an airtight container. They will store well for at least a month at room temperature, and they freeze well.

Chef’s tip: Do not fry the shankarpali on a high heat. Make sure each batch is slowly fried on medium-low heat to perfect golden colour. Frying on high heat may result in the outsides turning brown without making the Shankarpali crisp.

Recipes by chefs at Capsicum Culinary Studio.

Masala-infused custard. Picture: Supplied

Masala-infused custard


250ml fresh cream

500ml full cream milk

2 tea bags of Tetley masala chai flavoured blend

4 large egg yolks

2 tbs corn flour

100g castor sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence


In a pot, on medium-high heat, add your cream, milk and tea bags. Bring to just below boiling point. Remove tea bags at this point.

In a large bowl, add your egg yolks, corn flour, sugar, and vanilla. Slowly pour the hot mixture into the egg mixture while constantly mixing.

Add your mixture back to the pot. Place on low heat and mix gently with a wooden spoon until the custard reaches your desired consistency. Enjoy hot or cold.

Recipe by Shahistah Khan.