Manju Karkare, MS, RDN, LDN, CLT, FAND

In my family Diwali has always meant celebrating the light in our lives, good over evil and gratitude for all we have. All 5 days of Diwali have a different mythological story though each celebrates the blessings in life of health, joy and family relationships. We cherish all our relationships not only within our family but also among our neighbors and colleagues at work or school.

We decorate the home with lights inside and out along with hanging a lantern. When the kids were young, making a paper lantern at home was a yearly activity. The full moon before the holiday (which falls on New Moon) begins the preparations, from decorating the home to preparing special foods. I am fortunate to have some cousins in the area and we exchange the holiday goodies. Every year we have celebrated Diwali in the US by sharing a home-made meal with our family, friends and neighbors. My neighbors have come to expect it and begin to ask me when the Diwali Dinner will be as soon as we put up the lantern outside our home. Sharing what one has is also at the core of the celebrations and gifts are exchanged among family members. Every family that joins us for the Diwali dinner always leaves with a gift as well. 

Like many Asian Indians, I learned to cook and make all the special items for Diwali by observing my mother and grandmother. So I have done my best to note down the recipe for Chivda (a popular flattened rice snack seasoned with spices, nuts and raisins). 

Manju's Recipes:

Manju Recipe



  • 1 pound Thin Pohe (Make sure to get THIN and not thick)
  • 1/2 cup oil (I use peanut oil)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon Hing
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 6-8 Green Chilies, chopped in small pieces
  • 1-2 Curry Leaves sprigs, take leaves off the sprig and tear into smaller bits
  • 1/2 cup sliced Coconut (buy slices but cut them in smaller slices)
  • 3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, shelled
  • 1/4 Chana Dal Roasted
  • 1/2 cup unsalted cashew pieces or cashew halves
  • 1/2 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar


  1. Roast the pohe in a large shallow pan in 2 batches, on medium heat, stirring constantly (do not allow the pohe to brown). Set aside roasted pohe in another pan.
  2. Heat oil in the large sauce pot, add mustard seeds, turn the heat down, cover and let the seeds pop. When the popping subsides, add hing, turmeric powder followed by curry leaves pieces and chili pieces. Cover to contain the popping.
  3. Add coconut slices and Chana Dal. Stir to get the coconut and chana dal lightly browned. Add peanuts and cashews and continue to stir to brown the nuts.
    Add pistachios and raisins. Stir well. Add salt and sugar and combine well. Turn the heat off. Add roasted pohe to the spiced nut mixture and stir gently to mix.
  4. Leave in the pot over night to cool. It should be completely cool before being stored in an airtight container. Snack on!