The Indian celebration of Diwali, which symbolizes the triumph of light over dark, is officially set for November 14 with festivities lasting over a five-day period of November 12–16. To mark the day, Indians decorate their homes and businesses with lights and enjoy feasts with plenty of sweets, with, when originating from the Indian subcontinent, are called mithai.
Houston has one of the largest Indian populations in America, and a few restaurants in the Bayou City are hosting dinners for Diwali and offering mithai to customers this year. If you're looking for a place to enjoy the celebration, here's what we know so far:
For Diwali chef Anita Jaisinghani is hosting a multi-course meal at the Pondicheri Bake Lab with two seating times (6 p.m., 8 p.m. November 13). On the menu will be local vegetables, truffles, rare mushrooms, and plenty of ghee. A seat is $95, including gratuity but not including alcoholic beverages; get yours here.
The restaurant is also featuring two specialty thalis during Diwali, a rama thali—seven-vegetable stew, chicken kebabs, spinach kachori (deep-fried snack), buckwheat pooris (deep-fried puffs), and halwa (sweet dessert)—and a sita thali—seven-vegetable stew, paneer kebabs, spinach kachori, buckwheat pooris, and halwa.
Also, you can buy celebration boxes, like a $50 sweet box with crack balls (round sweets with chocolate, caramel, milk cake, and nuts) and banana Pondi bars, or a $40 masala box with spiced nuts, mithai, and other sweets.
The new Uptown restaurant is throwing a Diwali celebration from Sunday, November 8, to Saturday, November 14, by offering a five-course feast from chef Mayank Istwal. Among the menu items, get dal pakwan (flour-cumin crisp, chana dal creamux, tamarind chutney, cilantro, Serrano chiles, and gold), palak murgh (chicken morsels, spinach, fenugreek, and beetroot leaf crisp), and besan ladoo (gram flour praline and white truffle chocolate soil).
The upscale River Oaks restaurant from chef Sunil Srivastava is crafting plenty of treats for Diwali, including milk sweets like chum chum and paan rasmalai; maida sweets like ghee nuts and khaja; and other goodies like chocolate truffles. Call 281-501-0258 to place an order.
Where Else to Get Mithai
For your pick of sweets, try Raja Sweets (5667 Hillcroft St), Bombay Sweets (5827 Hillcroft Ave), and Dilpasand Mithai & Snacks (14621 Beechnut St). In Sugar Land, there's Al Rehmat Sweets & Confectionery (15550 W Airport Blvd, #C, Sugar Land).