Festive food for Diwali

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Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the biggest festivals in India, which brings families and friends together. It is celebrated not only in India but by people all over the world. This year I am delighted to be working with Sainsbury’s to celebrate this exciting time of year by sharing these Diwali recipes with you.

On Diwali people come together for the festivities and, like all Indian festivals, food is always at the centre of it all. There are big festive meals prepared on the day followed by varieties of Indian sweets.

I remember every Diwali my mum would start cooking days in advance making a range of snacks, both sweet and savoury like chakli, gujiya, namkeen, papdi, ladoos and more. She would then gift it to family and friends on the day of the festival. On Diwali evening she would always cook a massive meal for us, food that all of us thoroughly enjoyed.

When I think of cooking for Diwali I like to make food that is not only special and delicious but also something that does not take all day to prepare.


Here I am sharing 2 amazing recipes for you to try this Diwali.

These recipes have a little special ingredient, A little twist of ‘Coriander seeds’ which are one of the most amazing spices. Most of us would be used to coriander powder, which is very commonly used in cooking, but these little seeds are even more powerful and flavoursome than the powder. These coriander seeds add a wonderfully rich flavour, which takes the dish to a different level.

img_1115Here I have used all the ingredients from Sainsbury’s, including their coriander seeds, which are of amazing quality and flavour. Dry roasting these seeds brings out the aroma and intensifies the flavour and when they are crushed they release these beautiful qualities.

Coriander Paneer curry


This fresh and light coriander paneer curry is made more delicious by the addition of the whole coriander seeds to the sauce. The addition of other spices gives it a more rounded flavour. You can enjoy this with some fluffy rice or any kind of flat bread like chapati or naan. It is also great with a side of some salad and raita.

1 tbsp coriander seeds
4 dried red chillies
50 gms fresh coriander leaves
3 garlic cloves
1 inch ginger
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
450 gms paneer, cut into small pieces
50 gms double cream
1 tbsp lemon juice

In a pan dry roast the coriander seeds with the red chillies for 2 minutes until they begin to change colour. Roughly grind the seeds in a pestle and mortar and keep the chillies aside.

Grind the coriander, ginger and garlic to a smooth paste and leave aside.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and the roasted red chillies, when they start to sizzle add the onions. Let the onions cook till deep golden brown. To this add the coriander paste and cook for 5 minutes. Then add all the spices to this with the roasted coriander seeds and mix well.

Throw in the paneer and mix it all well. Add 50 ml of water and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the cream and cook for another 2 mins. Finish with the lemon juice and mix well. Serve hot with rice or naan.

Spicy and Sour coriander potatoes


This combination of flavours for the humble potato in this dish makes it extraordinary to enjoy this Diwali. The combination of the coriander seeds with all the other spices gives it a very balanced taste. Try it with some flat bread like puri, chapati or naan. Also great as a side to any dal or a curry to make a complete meal.

2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 green chilli, finely chopped
750 gms small potatoes
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
100 ml water
1 tbsp coriander seeds, dry roasted
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp chilli powder
100 ml water

Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they begin to sizzle add the green chillies followed by the potatoes, salt, turmeric and water. Bring it to a boil, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes until the potatoes are 3/4th cooked.


In a pestle and mortar roughly grind the coriander, fennel and mustard seeds. Add this to the potatoes with the sugar, chilli powder and water. Mix well and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are done. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve.


6 thoughts on “Festive food for Diwali”

  1. I’m in the States so I have a question about what you call chilli powder. I know it is not the same as our chili powder, which is a combination of paprika, cumin and other spices. I bought your book “The Cardamom Trail” and you mention Degi Mirch. Is that the kind of chilli powder I should use when your recipes say chilli powder? I live in an area with lots of Indian grocery stores with products from India. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • Hi! You could find Degi Mirch in Indian grocery stores in US. It’s red chilli powder from Kashmir ( I think ) which is not very hot/ spicy but gives a bright red color

    • Hi , you can use cayenne pepper powder instead of chili powder. Deghi mirch is a variety which gives bright color but is not very hot …


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