The elaborate Kerala sadya (feast) is incomplete without the sweet and rich payasam (dessert). This culinary extravagance is indeed the most amazing thing about Onam and other festivals that are unique to the state. Similarly, every state in India celebrates its unique festivals by sharing and enjoying their special culinary delicacies. It is often a particular dish, like a delicious payasam or a laddoo that is the highlight of the festival feast.
Gujia or karanji is a sweet deep fried dumpling which is cooked in the North Indian states during holi. Its delicious stuffing is made with khoya (evaporated milk solids) and dry fruits.
Pongal is a special delicacy served during the harvest festival of pongal in Tamil Nadu. This sweet dish is commonly available in the Tamil vegetarian restaurants in Kerala as well. Pongal is prepared by using the first harvested rice grains of the season. Jaggery, masala and dry fruits too are added in this tasty dish. The anarsa, which is a pastry sweet, is as colourful and amazing as the Diwali festival during which it is prepared. Jaggery, rice flour, khus khus and ghee are the main ingredients of anarsa.
Khichdi is prepared using basmati rice and lentils to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Durga puja. It is usually eaten with the accompaniment of a flavoursome curry cooked with lots of vegetables and homemade masala. Meanwhile, sandesh is a Bengali sweet dish made with milk, sugar, paneer and dry fruits. Khara Prasad is served to celebrate the Guru purab which is one of the sacred festivals of the Sikhs. Generous amounts of ghee and sugar are mixed with wheat flour to make the khara prasad. This dish, however, is packed with calories.
Hemis is a major festival of Ladakh which is celebrated by sharing steaming hot noodles and momos. The variety of sauces served with the momos is the highlight of this feast. Modak is cooked during the Ganesh chathurti festival of Maharashtra. All purpose flour, coconut and cardamom are the main ingredients of modak which is cooked in steam. It is often had with ghee.