Diwali Dishes at Shakinah

Also known as the Festival of Lights, Diwali is one of the most celebrated and cherished festivals in India and among the Indian diaspora. It signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. It’s a time for family gatherings, elaborate decorations, and of course, indulgent feasting.

Linked to the powers of Ganesh and Lakshmi, Diwali is celebrated on the darkest day of November, and it is marked on the third day of the festive period. Those who practice it cleanse and decorate their homes with oil lamps and rangolis, and dress in bright colours to welcome their family and guests for a festive feast. It is also a harbinger of good fortune to leave a light on overnight on this, the darkest day of the month.

Diwali is a time for indulgence, and these traditional mouthwatering dishes are household staples in India, as well as at Shakinah. It’s also common practice but not obligatory to stick to meat-free options during this time, so this is definitely one for the vegetarians:

Samosas – Samosas are a permanent party food at Diwali. These are triangle-shaped pastries made from chickpea flour, filled with Indian-spiced potatoes and peas. They’re absolutely divine when dipped in fresh mint sauce or mango chutney.


Chat Pata Jhinga  – Another street food that makes its way into the household, these are juicy king prawns which have been marinated in a selection of medium-strength spices, then deep fried to perfection. They’re a favourite to dip into some raita.


Aloo Tikki – Competing for the top spot with samosas, Aloo Tikki are another family favourite at the Diwali table. These are made from boiled potatoes that have been flavoured with fresh coriander and ginger, then lightly smashed and coated in breadcrumbs and fried in butter ghee.

Vegetable Biryani – Biryanis take centre stage during Diwali, as it’s such an opulent and hearty meal that requires so much love and preparation. This is a fragrant, fluffy and flavourful basmati rice dish that has been cooked with mixed vegetables and aromatic spices.

Saffron Tikka – As it is the Festival of Light and prosperity, it is only fitting that saffron should be present at the table. This is a dish of tender chicken pieces that have been marinated in saffron, yoghurt and coriander.


Indian Flatbreads – These are fantastic accompaniments to a sumptuous repast. We recommend a mix of Peshwari naan, lamb keema paratha and butter roti to scoop up curry sauces, chutneys and raita.


Gulab Jamun – Also known as the Traditionally Sweet at Shakinah, Gulab Jamun is an immensely popular and centuries-old dessert in India. It is presented as a cluster of rich milk dough balls, which are deep fried and soaked in a beautifully fragrant syrup of cardamon and pistachio. We give it a little flourish with fresh orange segments to complement the syrup, and a side of plain yoghurt for extra richness.