Festive Foods–Diwali


Mikaylie Sosnowski, Staff Writer

Fall in Minnesota can be associated with many things: the changing colors of the trees, carving pumpkins, apple picking, visiting family or even (heaven forbid) drinking a hot pumpkin spice latte. There are also many exciting holidays to look forward to, but not just the ones we see most commonly advertised three months in advance (did someone say Halloween and Thanksgiving?). 

Diwali is an Indian festival celebrating the triumph of light over darkness that was celebrated this year on October 27th. It is typically observed over the course of four to five days.

Celebrants – including many students here – took part in many wonderful traditions and activities during Diwali, such as spending time with loved ones, setting off fireworks and making vibrant, detailed designs out of colorful powder. 

The special decoration is called rangoli, and it helps welcome the gods into the homes of those who pray to them. “It’s kind of like a coarse powdery colored substance which you use to decorate,” said senior Stuti Thakkar. “You can draw any design with it and some talented people draw the god’s faces in them. It’s very impressive!”

Most wonderful of all is the food. Many hours of preparation go into making the various dishes, which are eaten in the company of family and close friends.

“After we pray, we go to our dinner course which can vary, but usually people make a lot of food,” said Thakkar. “What my family will usually do is we’ll have puri, a fried snack, curry, lentils and the god’s prasad in our plate.”

Sweets are also customary during Diwali as what better way to celebrate the victory of good over evil than with a delicious, sugary treat?

“My favorite food that we make at home is shankar pada,” said Thakkar. “I love it because it’s so rare in our house. It only comes once a year and so its the only time we get to have it [which makes] it very special.”

A crispy, sugar-coated diamond shaped biscuit, Shankar pada (also known as shankarpali or shakkar para)  is quite simple to make, and it tastes great too! 

“Shankar pada is made with a different type of flour called maida and a coarse wheat called suji […] and mix in the sugar, ghee and salt,” said Thakkar. “Separately, combine water and sugar and let it sit for two hours so that it becomes a paste. You combine those two until you create a dough, which is the hardest part. After that, you roll the dough out very thick, cut small diamond shapes into it and fry it.”

I’m obviously no expert, but after making it myself, I can definitely attest to the subtle, sweet taste of shankar pada. The biscuits were sugary and crispy, and I loved the complex, earthy flavor of cardamom mixed throughout. 

You can make this sweet treat for yourself. Who knows: maybe one day, we’ll find ourselves in a world where shankar pada has risen up to replace pumpkin spice as the new supreme autumnal snack! 


4 cups maida (flour)

½ cup rava

1 cup sugar

¾ cup oil


Soak sugar in water and keep aside for 2 hours to allow sugar to dissolve.

Make a dough with all ingredients and keep it aside for ½ hour.

Take a part of the dough and roll it (not too thin).

Cut the rolled dough into diamond pieces and fry on simmering gas until golden brown

(do not fry on high flame).

Enjoy your delicious shankar pada!

Where to Buy Ingredients:

India Spice House Restaurant and Grocery

Poornanand Foods 

India Market

Cub Foods