Shankarpali: The Delectable Diamond-Shaped Treat That's A Diwali Staple

Fall is a season of holiday celebration around the world, be it Halloween and Thanksgiving in the U.S., or the Mid-Autumn Festival in China. For millions of Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains, late October and early November means it's time for Diwali. According to the Hindu American Foundation, Diwali is known as the "Festival of Lights," and is a celebration of good triumphing over evil, symbolized by the lighting of firecrackers and small clay lamps. This five-day celebration is accompanied by traditions like gift giving and debuting new clothes, and like any big social holiday, gathering together and feasting also take center stage.

While American fall holidays may be time for pie or cookies, Diwali lays claim to a truly outstanding array of enticing sweet treats. Whether it is semolina pudding halwa, or the creamy barfi, topped with the striking silver leaf warq, Diwali sweets are endless in variety and built for constant snacking throughout the holiday (via Taste of Home). While it would be hard to pick any one of these baked and boiled delicacies as a symbol of the season, one of the most popular introductions to Diwali eating is a bingeable fried snack called shankarpali.

A sweet or savory crispy snack

Run through a list of the best words to describe your ideal snacking treat – crunchy, flaky, sugary, spiced — and you'll be describing shankarpali. Its deliciousness belies the simplicity of the preparation, a basic dough of the Indian flour maida, milk, and ghee, and maybe some spices, mixed up and rolled out (via Goya). Then, the dough is cut into diamonds and deep-fried. According to Serious Eats, they are made to be consumed by the handful, the kind of special snack that causes people to hover near the kitchen, waiting for a fresh batch.

While shankarpali may be a sweet Diwali standby, it can also be made in an array of savory applications, according to Vegan Recipes of India. Sub out the sugar for salt, then add in cumin or pepper and your holiday dessert becomes crispy, crunchy mini-bombs of salty goodness that will knock anything bagged and branded out of the water. We would tell you not to eat them all in one sitting, but with a handheld snack this good that's kind of the point.