This Diwali, twist the mithai

One of the most prominent festivals in Hindu culture – Diwali is celebrated with much fanfare throughout various communities in India.  Diwali signifies the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and truth over falsities. As with other Indian festivals, Diwali signifies different things to people of different religions, across the country and is celebrated in a unique manner. Not just in India, Diwali is also celebrated by Indians all over the world with great enthusiasm.

We cannot wait for the 11th of November this year to celebrate Diwali with friends. Sharing sweets and snacks is part of this year’s celebration along with just getting together and having fun. Yes, crackers are part of the deal too but we have decided to keep away from the noisy ones and stick to simple lights and chakras.

Make this holiday truly momentous and savour the differing tastes and cultures of India. Wishing all of you a happy, joyous and safe Diwali. May this festival of lights bring you peace, prosperity, success, health and great happiness!

Most of you must be busy preparing Diwali goodies to share with friends and family so sharing a few easy and different recipes which are tasty and perfect for this festive season.

 

Pumpkin and Apple Halwa

 

Pumpkin and Apple Halwa

An exotic halwa, made with the goodness of apples, pumpkin and dry fruits.

Procedure

Fry 50 grams of raisins, 2 tablespoons of grated coconut and 2 tablespoons of flaked or sliced almonds, individually in ghee/butter or oil. Keep aside.

Place 1 kg of peeled and diced pumpkin, 150 ml water and, 2 one inch cinnamon sticks in a saucepan. Cover and cook until tender. Drain and mash the pumpkin.

In a separate pan melt 2 teaspoons of butter/oil/ghee. Add 1 kg of peeled, cored and diced apples. Cover and cook over a gentle, flame until soft. Mash the apples and mix with, the pumpkin.

In a large pan, heat 4 tablespoons of butter/ghee/oil until hot. Add the pumpkin and apple, stirring, continuously. Allow the puree to reduce and thicken and darken, for about 10 minutes. Stir in enough sugar to sweeten. (150 grams approximately, but feel free to reduce or increase as per sweet tolerance)
Continue cooking until the halwa reduces into a deep amber & glossy mixture.
Spoon into a serving dish & serve hot, decorated with assorted dried fruits and, shreds of browned coconut.

Ramdana Ki Chikki

Ramdana Ki Chikki

 

 

Crisp treats made with ramdana (amaranth) and jaggery.

Procedure

Grease a flat plate with ghee/oil or butter and keep aside. This is to set the chikki.

Heat a pan to very hot and add 250 grams rajgira. It will start popping up almost immediately. When popped up, remove from pan and keep aside.

Place 750 grams jaggery and 3 1/2 cups water in a pan, and dissolve jaggery over low heat. When dissolved increase the heat and bring to a boil and cook over high heat till a 2 or 3 thread consistency is reached. Mix in the rajgira into the mixture.
Transfer at once onto the greased surface, pat to level and leave to set.

Baked Karanji

Whole wheat and semolina dough parcels stuffed with almonds and raisins. Baked and dipped in honey.

Baked Karanji

Procedure

For the Filling:

Heat 1 teaspoon butter in a pan. Once the butter melts, add 1/2 cup semolina along with 1 teaspoon cardamom powder and sauté the mixture at regular intervals. Once the raw smell of semolina has disappeared, add 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup crushed almonds, and 1/2 cup raisins. Mix well and take it off the heat. Keep it aside.

For the Dough:

Place 1 1/2 cups semolina in a large bowl and add 1 teaspoon onions seeds, enough salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Mix well. Now add 1 cup milk and let it soak until the semolina dissolves and turns soft. When the above process is done, add in 1 cup wheat flour and make a dough (add more milk if required). Keep the dough aside for 1 hour.

After an hour, take some dough required to make 4 inch pooris and roll it using the rolling pin. Add about 1 tablespoon of the filling on one side of the poori and seal by folding both the edges to make a half moon-shaped structure. You can use a little water while sealing the edges.
Twist the edges to form a design pattern and repeat the procedure with the remaining dough. Bake the karanjis in a preheated oven for 25 minutes at 180 degrees C. (Oven times may vary)

Let it cool. Dip in honey and serve. (Keep aside 1/2 cup of honey for this)

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