November 11, 2007

Diwali Sweets


Till we moved to Kochi 3 years back, we lived in Goa. There, we had neighbours from various parts of the country. So Diwali was a whole lot of fun. Many of us would exchange sweets while those among us who did not celebrate Diwali would come by to wish us and sample the fare. After dusk we would light lamps and burst firecrackers. Children would have a wonderful time.

We miss this a bit as Diwali is a not a big affair in Kerala. Only migrant communities here celebrate Diwali.
This year, apart from my regular mysore pak and pokkuvadam (from my palakkad iyer repertoire), I also made thattai and carrot-coconut burfi. Thattai is a snack made from rice flour and urad dal flour and resembles the Gujarathi matri, somewhat.





Pokkuvadam




Ingredients:


3 cups fine rice powder, sieved

3/4 cup gram flour (besan), sieved

1/4 cup Bengal gram (dalia/ pottukadalai)

1 tbsp unsalted butter

1/4 tsp asafetida powder

chilli powder and salt to taste ( I prefer a little less of the fire!)

oil for frying



Method:


Roast Bengal gram till golden, cool and powder very well. Now mix all the ingredients together. Add enough water to mix into a stiffish dough. Fill into the dough press fitted with the proper plate for the pokkuvadam.

When the oil is hot, press dough into the oil in a circular motion so the pressed dough spreads and cooks well. Fry till golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels, cool and store in airtight containers.



Thattai


Ingredients:


2 cups fine rice flour

1 handful urad dal

1 handful Bengal gram (dalia/ pottukadalai)

1 handful chana dal soaked for an hour

1 tbsp unsalted butter

chilli powder and salt to taste( this snack is meant to be a bit spicy)

oil for frying



Method:


Roast Bengal gram till golden, cool and powder very well. Now mix all the ingredients together. Add enough water to make a stiffish dough.
Grease a medium sized plastic sheet and taking a small ball of the dough, press it out into a circle (reasonably thin and about 3 inches in diameter) on the sheet using middle three fingers. Oil your palm lightly so the dough does not stick when being pressed out.

Heat the oil and slowly peel off the circles from the plastic sheet and slide into the oil. Fry on both sides till golden brown. Drain on paper towels, cool and store in an airtight container.


Mysore pak





Ingredients:

1 cup gram flour (besan), sieved

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 cup ghee

1/2 tsp cardamom powder



Method:


Use a heavy bottom deep pan. This ensures that cooking is at constant heat without the food sticking to the pan. I use the pan of my pressure cooker.
Dissolve the sugar in ½ cup of water and boil to prepare a one-string syrup. Switch off the heat and add the gram flour. Mix well till blended.

Meanwhile melt the ghee and keep warm. Keep the pan back on heat and stir constantly or else the mixture will stick to the pan. Adjust the heat as required. When the mixture starts thickening, pour a ladleful of melted ghee. Keep stirring carefully till ghee is absorbed. Add all the ghee, a ladle at a time, stirring all the while. Once all the ghee is absorbed and the mixture starts leaving the side of the pan to form a mass, pour into a greased thali.

Allow to spread uniformly and use the back of a greased spoon to smoothen the top without pressing down. You have to work quickly or the mysore pak will set and look unattractive. Mark into squares while warm. Cut when cool and store. This recipe makes about 20 small pieces.
Be prepared for quite a bit of stirring and bicep-strengthening exercise!

This recipe (and the ones for mysore pak and pokkuvadam) comes down from my grandmother and mother and uses much less ghee than some recipes. The mysore pak will not be as soft as the SreeKrishna sweets variety (to those familiar with this) because of this.



Carrot-Coconut Burfi


This recipe is adapted from one of my cookbooks – The Vegetarian Menu Book by Vasantha Moorthy. I have made it many times and the burfi combines the taste of coconut burfi with carrot halwa.


Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups grated coconut

2 cups grated carrot

2 cups sugar

2 cups milk

2 tbsps ghee

½ tsp cardamom powder

halved cashewnuts, as required



Method:


Fry the cashewnuts in 1/2 tbsp ghee till they start to turn golden and keep aside. Cook the grated carrot in the milk till tender and the milk is reduced by half. (This can be done in the microwave too) Add the coconut and cook till a little thicker. Add the sugar and boil till the mixture thickens.

Now add the ghee and keep stirring till the mixture leaves the side of the pan. Allow to cool till it can be handled. Make little balls of the mixture, flatten slightly and press a cashewnut half onto each piece. Allow to cool. This burfi will dry out as it cools and tastes best the next day.

Alternatively, pour the hot mixture into a greased thali, press down and allow to cool. Cut into pieces and store. This recipe makes about 16 – 20 pieces.

P.S. I had wanted to do this post before Diwali but could not quite manage it.

14 comments:

Jeena said...

What fantastic recipes they sound beautiful. Your picture looks amazing I bet you had a lovely time. :)

aparna said...

Thanks again, Jeena.

sunita said...

Aparna, love those sweets...hope you enjoyed the festival...nice to know about your kind of celebration .

Mansi Desai said...

great recipes and a lovely dish that you served it in!

aparna said...

Thanks for the appreciation, Sunita and Mansi

Sanhita said...

Hey, I made Mysore Pak for Diwali for the first time using your recipe.It was great. Thanks a lot. I have posted the recipe on my blog. Please feel free to check it and leave comments.
Happy Diwali and happy cooking!!

Aparna said...

I'm glad the Mysorepak turned out well, Sanhita.
Happy Diwali.

Argus Lou said...

Dear Aparna, your delicious-sounding coconut-carrot burfi is something I'd like to try making. I've made coconut-cardamom burfi a couple of times already - very addictive!
(Perhaps you saw my funny Murukku in Daring Bakers?)

Happy Baker! said...

I tried your mysore pak and it dissappointed me soooo badly.. the water qty was sooo less because of which the whole thing dried up and besan was not cooked well!!!

Pure waste of my precious Ghee :(

Aparna said...

Hi Happy Baker,
Its sad that my recipe didn't work for you. I'm not sure what went wrong as I have been using this recipe for the last 15 years and its worked everytime for me.

Another blogger has left a comment here saying it worked for her.

All I can think of is that perhaps you were expecting a more soft mysorepak that is usually found in the shops. My recipe doesn't make that but a drier version. And you have to work on a medium to low heat throughtout.
As for the uncooked besan, that has me puzzled!

Anonymous said...

I know why Happy Baker's Mysore Pak did not turn out well. The gram flour has to be dry-roasted before you add it to the sugar syrup. If you don't do that, it will sure end up in a disastrous mass of wasted ingredients!
Also, just so you know: Cardamom is never used to Mysore Pak.

Aparna said...

Anon, there are people who dry-roast the gram flour before making mysorepak, and there are those who don't.
Its just a preference and does not affect the outcome.
There are also different types of mysorepak as far as the amount of ghee, taste and texture goes depending on who is making it.

I have used the above recipe (and my mother and grandmother before me) and it has never failed us so far.

As for waste, that does happen sometimes when recipes do not work which is why one should always scale down recipes for a first time effort!

Again, you might realise that adding cardamom or not to mysorepak, is also a preference and I always do.
Thanks for enlightening me!

Geetha said...

Hi
Tried the pokkuvadam for krishna jayanthi. Came out very well. Thankyou. I never used to get pokkuvadam taste this good and crunchy with my previous recipes.

Aparna said...

Geeta, happy to know my recipe worked for you. I remember my mother telling me that its the butter that makes the pokkuvadam nice and crunchy.
Thanks for getting back to me.