The Sweet Dumpling That's A Must-Have For Diwali Celebrations

Most food lovers can agree that the best part of any holiday is the opportunity to indulge in that celebration's typical treats, whether they're refreshing beverages, tasty bites, or both. From Thanksgiving turkey to Easter ham to Hanukkah latkes, we love digging into the festive dishes served on these special occasions. As much as we enjoy lighting the Hanukkah menorah, going on Easter egg hunts, and Christmas caroling, we get way more excited about the food-related activities that our favorite holidays offer.

And since we're the first to admit to having a sweet tooth, one holiday we always look forward to is Diwali. The "festival of lights" that is India's largest national holiday, Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs alike. Observed by the lighting of small clay lamps as well as the setting off of an abundance of fireworks, another integral part of the five-day celebration of Diwali is the savoring of a vast assortment of sweet, colorful Indian desserts (via National Geographic Kids). 

Delighting in the desserts, feasting with family and friends, and participating in other fun activities are said to be a way to celebrate the triumph of good over evil represented in various mythologies across the region, according to Republic World. And among delicious treats including sweet carrot halwa and cardamom-scented semolina pudding, there's another Diwali indulgence that's a must-try.

Karanji is a sweet, fried dumpling stuffed with coconut meat

If you love celebrating Diwali, which this year kicks off on October 22 and concludes on October 26 (via Mint), then you already know the holiday offers up dozens of traditional Indian sweets, from the cashew fudge known as kaju katli to funnel cake-like jalebi soaked in saffron sugar syrup (via Dassana's Veg Recipes). It can be hard to choose a favorite Diwali dessert, but Serious Eats contributor Mithila Phadke, who grew up celebrating the holiday with her family in Mumbai, makes a strong case for karanji, a crimped half-moon dumpling made from flour and ghee, stuffed with either fresh or desiccated (i.e., dried and finely shredded) coconut meat, and fried in vegetable oil or ghee (via Dasana's Veg Recipes).

Phadke notes that while so many traditional Indian sweets can go heavy-handed with sugar and syrups, karanjis are quite moderate in their level of sweetness since their wheat flour crust is unsweetened. Hailing from the western state of Maharashtra, karanjis feature a shredded coconut filling studded with tasty additions including toasted sesame seeds and nuts, dried fruit, and dried spices (via Dasana's Veg Recipes). While the mix can be made with dried coconut, Phadke prefers versions prepared with fresh, shredded coconut, which helps the filling stay nice and moist. Once fried in hot oil or ghee and drained on paper towels, the karanjis emerge puffy and lightly golden brown — perfect for snacking on all Diwali long, accompanied by hot mugs of milky chai.