Mumbai Diwali faral guide: Cook, shop and savour

Diwali is much more than just a festival of lights. It’s especially incomplete without its special sweets and savoury dishes. During this time of the year, heavenly aromas waft from the kitchens of Mumbai households. As a part of family traditions, women of these households start with their Diwali faral preparation about a week before Diwali, setting the right mood for this five-day-long festival.  
With a plethora of mouth-watering sweet and savoury items that go into the faral platter, you are sure to have a foodgasm. For the ones unaware of what faral means, it is a combination of special sweets and snacks prepared during Diwali, especially by Maharashtrian families. These include shankarpali, karanji, anarse, ladoo, chakli, lasun shev, chivda, among others.   
This year, Diwali will be celebrated on November 12. With the festival approaching at ‘rocket speed’, it is time to prepare faral delicacies if you plan to or place your orders to relish the best from the food world.  
Either way, we have you covered. We sat with home chefs to note down their special faral recipes and hunted for faral sellers in Mumbai who deliver delicious delights to working Mumbaikars.   
Authentic faral recipes by home chef Anagha Ramakant Desai 
Anagha Ramakant Desai, home chef and author of the cookbook, ‘From Aajis Kitchen’, who shares her special recipes with us says, “We try to keep things traditional in our family. We wake up early on the first Diwali morning to relish the prepared Diwali Faral together during breakfast along with steaming hot Poha. My family enjoys munching on faral items throughout the five days of Diwali and a few days after the festival too.”  

The Desai family starts preparing Diwali Faral a week before the festive as it takes time to prepare faral items. Desai further adds, “The whole environment during making the faral is lively. My son and daughter-in-law are always there to help. Sometimes, our other relatives also join us in the making process. This time is great for family bonding.  
a) Shankarpali  

Ghee – 1 cup 
Sugar – 1 cup 
Milk –  1 1/2 cup  
Salt – 1/4 tsp 
All-purpose flour/maida – 4-5 cups  
Oil for frying 

1. Warm milk in a vessel. Add sugar to it, and let it dissolve. Cool the milk, and add salt to it. 
2. Whisk ghee in another vessel, gradually add the cooled milk and whisk again. Mix in flour and prepare a dough ball. Use as much flour as needed. Rest the dough for an hour. 
3. Pinch off big dough balls, and roll out a thick, flat chapati.  
4. Cut diamonds or squares from the prepared chapati and set aside.  
5. Heat oil in a kadhai and fry the cut-out diamonds on low heat till golden brown. 
6. Once done, store them in a tightly packed jar and relish them later.   
b) Chakali 

Rice flour – 3 cups 
Wheat flour – 1 cup  
Unsalted butter – 3/4 cups 
Salt – 2 tsp 
Chilli powder – 2 tsp 
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp 
Cumin coriander powder – 1/2 tsp 
White sesame seeds – 2 tbsp 
Water as required 
Oil for frying 
1. Mix all the dry ingredients and then mix the butter. 
2. Using water make a dough ball. Knead the dough well and using chakali press make chakli on a plate.  
3. Fry it in medium hot oil. Drain and allow to cool before storing in a container. 
c) Chanyachya Dalichi Karanji or Chana Dal Karanji  

For making karanji

Maida – 2 cups  
Fine rawa (Semolina) – 1/4 cup  
Salt to taste 
Water or milk to prepare the dough 
Oil – 2 tsp

1. Mix maida, semolina, salt, and two teaspoons of oil and prepare a stiff dough with milk or water. Let it rest for 30 minutes. 
For making karanji filling 

Chana dal (Split Gram) – 2 cups  
Poppy seeds – 1/4 cup  
Dry/desiccated coconut – 1/4 cup  
Sesame seeds – 1/4 cup  
Nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp 
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp 
Sungtha (Dry Ginger Powder) – 1/2 tsp 
Grated jaggery – 2 cups
Oil for frying the karanji 

1. Dry roast split gram till light brown in colour and grind coarsely. 
2. Dry roast poppy seeds, desiccated coconut, sesame seeds individually and grind coarsely. 
3. Mix the grounded ingredients. Add to it cardamom, nutmeg 
powder, and dry ginger powder. 
4. Gradually add grated jaggery and mix thoroughly. 

For assembling and frying 
1. Pound the prepared dough with a mortar and pestle or on a grinding stone to make it 
smooth and pliable. Make twenty balls out of it. Roll each one into a flat circle of about 10 centimetres in diameter. 
2. Place the prepared stuffing/filling in the centre of a circle. Fold in half, moisten, and seal the edges by pressing firmly. Cut and trim the edges with a karanji cutter or pastry cutter. 
3. Heat sufficient oil in a kadhai or deep pan. Pinch off a small piece of dough and drop in 
oil. If the dough piece rises in the oil, it indicates the oil is hot enough for frying. Lower the heat to medium-low. Fry the karanjis two at a time in the oil till evenly golden brown. Drain oil and remove on a plate. 
4. After the karanjis cool down to room temperature, store in an airtight container. Their shelf life is about 7-10 days. 
d) Anarase 

Rice – 1 cup 
Jaggery – 1/2 cup  
Ghee – 2 tsp
Poppy seeds – 1 cup
Ghee for frying

1. Soak the rice in sufficient water for three days, changing the water daily. On the fourth day drain the water and dry the rice on a cloth for four to five hours. Grind the dry rice and sieve the flour with a fine sieve.
2. Take one cup of prepared flour, add two teaspoons of ghee and scraped jaggery. Mix and bring it together like a dough ball. Store in a container for three to four days. 
3. To make Anarasa knead the ready dough. Take a small ball of the dough. Flatten it in a disc on a layer of poppy seeds. Fry the disc on low (but not very low) heat with poppy seed side up.  
4. Drizzle hot ghee from the pan on the upper side to fluff up the Anarasa. Fry till light brown. Drain and cool to room temperature before storing. 
Faral recipes with a modern twist 
Another Mumbai-based home chef and entrepreneur, Bijal Shah who too begins with her faral preparations a week before Diwali shares with us some of her special dishes for the festival.  

Nachni Chakri 

Ragi flour- 3/4 cup  
Wheat flour – 1/4 cup 
Water – 3/4 cup  
Til or sesame seeds – 1 tbsp 
Ajwain or cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp  
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp  
Oil – 2 tbsp  
Salt to taste
Oil to fry 
1. Boil water with red chilli powder, sesame seeds and ajwian.  
2. Now add both flours into it and mix well.  
3. Cover for 20 minutes. Now in a thali remove the flour and knead it until smooth adding two tablespoons of oil. In a chakli press add this dough and make chakli. 4. Deep fry in hot oil. Strain the oil and place the fried chakli on a plate. Once dry, store it in a dry container.  
Peri peri twisters 

Maida – 1 cup 
Oil – 1/4 cup 
Peri peri masala – 2 tbsp  
Red chilly powder – 1 tbsp  
Salt to taste 
1. In a thali mix maida, oil, red chilli powder and one tablespoon of peri peri masala.  
2. Make dough out of it using water. Rest for 15 minutes.  
3. Now take a big ball from the dough and roll out a big thin roti.  
4. Cut it into strips and twist each strip using your hand.  
5. Fry them in medium-hot oil.  
6. Sprinkle some peri peri masala over it.  
7. Store it in an air-tight container. 
Walnut Chocolate Truffles 
For Chef Nikita Varma, Diwali is her favourite festival. She loves cooking festival special dishes. “Since my childhood, I have been watching my mother prepare mithais at home during the festivals I love sweets made of chenna so ras malai and rasgullas are my favourites.”

During Diwali, the chef loves to light lots of diyas at home and decorate her home with fresh flowers. “I also love to make rangoli with my sister every year. It is something we have been doing since we were 5. Now, it has become a family tradition,” she says.  
Varma begins her faral preparations a week in advance due to the large number of guests that visit them during the festival. Sharing her recent favourite recipe with us, she says, “We love serving them the homemade delicacies when they visit us.”  
Walnuts – 1 cup  
Ghee – 2 tbsp  
Coconut powder – 1/2 cup  
Deseeded dates – 1 cup  
Roasted Khas Khas – 2 tsp  
Chocolate to coat  
1. In a pan take ghee, add walnuts, and roast them for three to four minutes.  
2. Then in a bowl, take out the roasted walnuts, and add coconut powder, khas khas and dates. 
3. Mix everything and shape them into ladoos. 
4. Once shaped coat the ladoos in melted dark chocolate and freeze.  
5. Once they solidify, you can store them in a jar and relish them when you please. 

Kesar Pista Sandesh  
“This dessert is my family’s favourite recipe. Being from Kolkata, it’s one of the first sweets that I remember enjoying as a child. Today, I love prepping this with my healthy twist. I have replaced white sugar with highly nutritious dates paste making it a low-calorie recipe which everyone can relish guilt-free,” says food blogger, content creator and fitness enthusiast, Varsha Kabra.    
Low-fat milk – 1.5 ltr  
Curd – 2 tbsp  
Lemon juice – 1/2 tbsp  
Water – 2 tbsp  
Chhena – 1 cup  
Dates paste – 2 tbsp 
Desiccated coconut – 1/3 cup  
Milk powder – 1/3 cup  
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp  
Few saffron strands  
Crushed pistachios for topping  
1. Prepare a curd mixture with curd, lime juice and water. This will help you to curdle milk.  
2. Bring 1.5 litres of low-fat milk to a boil and add the prepared curd mixture.  
3. Curdle milk until your whey gets separated from chhena/paneer. 
4. Add all the ingredients (chhena, dates paste, desiccated coconut, milk powder, cardamom powder and saffron in a big bowl) and rub until the mixture gets soft and well combined.  
5. Make small circles and give a thump impression in the middle and top with crushed pistachio. 
Dry Fruit Cup – Recipe by Chef Jaybir Negi, pastry chef, The Deltin, Daman
Dry fruits make for a major ingredient for most of the special dishes prepared during Diwali. Considering this, Chef Negi has innovated with a new mithai made completely from dry fruits. Loaded with the goodness of creamy cashews and dry fruits of your choice, this Dry Fruit Cup is a unique variation of Indian mithai that you can offer your guests during the festival. 

Cashew nuts/Kaju – 2 cups 
Sugar – 1 cup 
Ghee/Clarified butter – 1 tbsp 
Water – 1/2 cup 
Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp
Mix dry fruits – 1 cup 


To prepare cashew dough: 
1. Blend the cashews along with half a cup of water, cardamom powder, and one cup of sugar in a mixer-grinder to make a smooth paste.  
2. After making the smooth cashew paste, transfer it onto greased butter paper using ghee. 
3. Fold the mixture with a spatula until it thickens and forms soft dough. 

To shape the cups: 
1. Take a portion of the cashew dough and flatten it in your palm. 
2. Shape it into a cup by pressing it gently against the sides of your palm to create a hollow in the centre, forming a cup shape. 
3. Once you have the cup-shaped cashew dough, carefully fill it with your favourite dry fruits. You can use a variety of chopped nuts and dried fruits like almonds, pistachios, raisins, or dried figs. 
For assembling:  
1. Place the filled dry fruit cups on a plate or serving tray in a neat arrangement. 
2. You can garnish the cups with additional chopped nuts for a decorative touch if desired. 
Your dry fruit cups are now ready to be served. Enjoy these delightful treats as a dessert or snack. 

Note: Remember to store any leftovers in an airtight container to keep them fresh. 
Faral treats Mumbaikars can order at home 
1. Na Nafa Na Tota Homemade Diwali Faral Vikri Kendra
Amar Kashinath Patil,59, has been selling homemade faral dishes for the past 29 years all across Mumbai. Besides his affordable pricing, the one thing that makes his faral business stand out from the rest is that he lets his customers taste the items for themselves before placing an order. He says, “For me, serving quality dishes to my customers is of utmost importance. It is because of the premium taste and quality of the food that my customers keep coming back to me every year.” You can order bhajani chakli, besan ladoo, rava ladoo, loaded dry fruit karanjis, layer karanjis, anarse, and more.  
Call: 8975769755
Starting price: Rs 350 per kg (prices may vary depending on quantity and dishes) 

Delivers all over Mumbai and India.  
2. Shidori, Ek Chavishtha Aathvan
Sameeda Sandeep Fansekar, 56, is a resident of Kurla. She has been making Diwali faral for the past 23 years. Her special faral dishes include, lasun (garlic) shev, chakli and Malvani karanjis. One can place an order with Fansekar till Diwali Laxmipujan. At Shidori, the preparations for faral start on the day of Anant Chaturdashi, i.e. last day of the Ganpati festival.   
Call: 9773209064/9773021080 
Starting price: Rs 350 per kg (prices may vary depending on quantity and dishes) 

Delivers between Borivali and Thane. People living outside these areas can order using online delivery apps.  
3. Swagat Fast Food  
A popular food joint in Mumbai’s Dadar west, Swagat Fast Food is known for its special homemade faral dishes. Mayur Suhas Jawali, a 34-year-old owner of the store tells us, “We don’t just sell ready faral items but also ready mixes and flours that people can use to make faral at home.” The food joint has been selling faral for the past 12 years. This year it has come up with faral hampers, especially for NRIs residing in countries like the UK, USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada and more.

The last day to place an order is November 5, 2023.

Call: 9820682828
Price: Rs 400 per kg (prices may vary depending on quantity and dishes)
Hamper of three, four and six kgs is priced starting at Rs 7,000 and goes up to Rs 14, 500.

Delivers to neighbouring vicinities like Mahim, Wadala, Matunga, Prabhadevi, Worli, Parel, Lalbaug, Bandra and Naigoan. For Mumbaikars wanting to place an order, the delivery is free of charge.   
4. Tanvi Homemade Ladoo 
Tanvi Kishore Shitap, a resident of Dahisar, has been selling homemade faral for the past six years. This 47-year-old faral expert specialises in making 12 various kinds ladoos made from pure ghee and jaggery. She prepares them all around the year. However, customers get to relish her special faral only during Diwali. She starts preparing the faral items a month in advance.  
Call: 8169164996 / 8424926242 
Starting price: 770 per kg of ladoo (prices may vary depending on quantity and dishes) 
Delivers between Churchgate to Virar, Kalyan and Dombivli. Customers can place the order with her using online delivery apps.

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