Diwali is just around the corner, and this year we’re thinking, why not invite the family over and throw your own bash to celebrate the triumph of good over evil? But what to serve after eating so many jalebis, besan, barfis and our eternal favourite, gulab jamuns? Chef Gurj Dhaliwal lends a hand to help us celebrate this year’s festival of lights.

Delicious food, diyas burning, new clothes, and more food are the more traditional aspects of celebrating Diwali. But celebrating for five consecutive days can do a number on your waistline. These pan-fried potato and onion bhaji’s are half the calories compared to their original deep-fried counterpart, and the chickpea and paneer curry is a healthier vegetarian alternative loaded with protein (hey, any excuse to eat more paneer).

Pan fried Potato & Onion Bhaji with Mint & Lime Yogurt

2 yukon gold potatoes, peeled & grated
2 red onions, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 fresh green chili, minced
½ tsp. cumin seed
½ tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. turmeric powder
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
½ whole egg
2 tbsp. bread crumb
1 cup plain yogurt
1 lime, juice & zest
2 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
3 tbsp. vegetable oil


  1. After the potato has been grated use your hands to squeeze out all the remaining water.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine together the potato, red onions, green onions, chili, cumin seeds, garam masala, turmeric powder, black pepper, salt & egg.
  3. After all the ingredients have been mixed, stir in the bread crumbs.
  4. Form small patties out of the finished mixture about 2 tbsp. each.
  5. Combine together the yogurt, lime juice, lime zest & fresh mint for the dipping sauce. This sauce can be made a day ahead of time & kept in the refrigerator.
  6. Pre-heat a large frying pan over medium heat & add vegetable oil.
  7. Sear the bhaji’s on both sides for about 4 minutes in each side, making sure the final product is golden brown & crispy.
  8. Serve the bhaji’s alongside the yogurt sauce.


Chick Pea & Paneer Curry with Coconut Milk & Coriander

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of yellow mustard seeds
3 black cardamom pods, split in the middle
1 tbsp. ginger, minced
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. garam masala
1 green chili, minced
1 tbsp.  turmeric
1 tsp. red chili flakes
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 large tomato, chopped
1 can coconut milk
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. salt
1-400 gram can of chick peas
400 grams of paneer, cut into cubes and fried in oil and evenly browned
½ cup green peas
¼ cup fresh coriander leaves
1 tomato thinly sliced


  1. Pre-heat a large sauce pot over medium heat and add in the vegetable oil.
  2. To the pot add onion, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cardamom pods & sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Next add in the garlic, ginger, garam masala, green chili, turmeric, chili flakes, cayenne pepper & sauté for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add in the fresh chopped tomato & coconut milk, turn down the heat to medium low & simmer the curry sauce for 15 minutes.
  5. Now that the sauce is reduced & full of flavor use a hand held blender to puree the sauce, season with salt & pepper.
  6. To put the finishing touches on the dish add in the chick peas, the already cubed and fried paneer, the green peas & cook for 4 minutes.
  7. Pour the curry into a serving dish & garnish with sliced tomato & fresh coriander leaves.

*Paneer is a fresh Indian curd cheese & can be found in the dairy section of most Indian grocery stores.


Story By: Gurj Dhaliwal  |  Photography By: Sukhi Ghuman