Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Diwali Treats and the stories behind them

Hi friends,
Hope all of you had a fantastic Diwali and back again to your normal routine. I had a great one too. The past one week was too hectic. That's why I couldn't reply to any of your comments or upmdate my blog with a new post. Anyway, Thanks for your understanding.So, let me tell you about my diwali treats. This time I decided to do the sweets and snacks based on what I already had in the pantry. No special shopping.Then I went thru my favorite blogs and picked the recipes. Believe me...the list was huge. I had such a hard time in narrowing it down. Finally, I came up with 5 sweets and 1 snack item. They are:

Kesar Mawa Rolls:
I found this recipe from Sirisha who owns a great blog Ambrosia. This is the first time I tried a sweet with homemade khoya. I never knew that it was this easy. But I had a few pitfalls too. If you look at the original recipe you can see how the layers are distinct in color. But ,when I did mine i did not soak the saffron in milk for a long time. Moreover I guess mine needed a little more saffron. But the taste was great. A little like the cheesecake , a bit sticky to the palatte. This sweet laid the foundation for me to try the other khoya sweets with a better confidence in me.Thanks Sirisha for all your guidance thru the comments. Truly appreciate it. The original recipe can be found here.

2 cups Grated Khoya( To make this u need evaporated milk and 1 cup of full cream milk powder) 1/2 cup powdered sugar
4-5 Saffron Strands (dissolved in 1 tbsp warm milk)
1 tsp Elachi powder

First step is to make Khoya - Take 1 cup milk powder in a bowl and slowly add evaporated milk to it until it forms a smooth sticky dough. Freeze for 30 mts and then grate.This grate is called Mava. Combine the above Mava and powdered sugar in a heavy bottomed thick pan and cook on a slow flame stirring continuously till the sugar has dissolved and the moisture evaporated (10-12 mts).Remove from fire and divide the mixture into 2 equal parts.

Mix the elachi powder in one part to make the mava mixture and allow it to cool completely. Add the Saffron to the other part to make the Kesar mixture. Mix well and allo it to cool completely . Put the mava mixture between 2 plastic sheets and roll it to form a rectangle of 4"* 6" (i.e. Ur rolling pin is not directly on the mava mixture,but is on the top of the plastic sheet covering it).Roll out the Kesar in the same way.Place the Mava rectangle on a thin food wrap.Place the Kesar rectabgle on top of the mava rectangle.Carefully roll along with the food wrap taking care to see that no cracks are formed on the surface.Cover tightly and refrigerate till firm (30-40 mts) and then remove the plastic sheet .Cover completely with silver leaves(optional) and cut into slices.U may garnish each with slivered Pistachios........Delicious Mava Kesar Rolls ready :-))

Next is..... Mango Coconut Truffles:

The original recipe was for Mango coconut burfi. Actually the first time I saw this recipe was in Asha's blog and I bookmarked it. Later when I decided to make it for Diwali I saw that it was originally Viji's recipe. So I combined both by using canned mango pulp and fresh coconut. Check out Aroma of Asha's and vcuisine of Viji's versions.

I was following the recipe good, suddenly fate came in the form of my hubby. Out of no where he popped up to help me. When I was about to add sugar (1 1/2 cups) he stopped me at 1/2 a cup and said this would be perfect. He also gave me a big lecture on cooking with some common sense too. Finally I listened to him b'coz he had been my guru & critic in cooking. You know what happened in the end?

The burfi did not set. I could not make slices nor would it hold it shape as it did not have enough sugar in it. I even set it overnight in the fridge. Nothing much changed. My hubby said that we cannot serve it this way to the guests and he asked me to discard it. OMG! How can I do it? The taste was out of the world and the aroma was unbelievable. I had to save it somehow.

So, This is what I came up with. I greased my palms with ghee and made the mango burfi into mini balls. Then I rolled them in powdered sugar so that they don't stick to the serving dish. Finally I garnished with a bit of pistachio and also came up with a new name....Mango Coconut Truffles. I served it chilled.

You won't believe it. This was the super-hit item in the party. Everbody enjoyed it and never knew that something was wrong with it. And, I was really proud of myself to have used my common sense to save the dessert although it was ruined by Mr. Perfect.

1 cup Mango pulp
1 cup coconut (I used fresh grated coconut)
½ cup milk powder
1 ¼ to 1 ½ cup sugar
Ghee 4 tsp (yes only 4 tsp!)
1 tsp elaichi powder
Pista powder for garnishing

Grease a small plate with 1 tsp ghee and keep it ready.Wash, peel the mangoes and cut into small chunks. Blend it to puree.Grate the coconut and keep it ready.

Cook mango pulp in a non-stick pan over a low flame stirring continuously for 2-3 mts. Since I don’t add any liquid to blend this, it took only 3 mts for me to solidify.Switch off the gas, add the milk powder, coconut and sugar and mix well.Switch on the stove and keep stirring for about 5-7 mts. Add 2 tsp ghee and elaichi powder. Once it forms into a mass like burfi texture, add the remaining ghee and pour into the greased plate. Sprinkle the pista powder on top of it. Leave it to cool for some time.

All along the preparation I was informing Viji ka about my mistakes. So, she took pity on me and emailed me her Almond peda recipe just for me although she hadn't posted it in her blog yet.I was so happy to see the simplicity of the recipe . So the next sweet was almond peda.

Almond Pista Peda:

Here is another recipe that I got from Viji. It was so easy to prepare and it turned out really good. I did it without any disturbances as I was alone. Using my knowledge of handling khoya when I did mawa kesar rolls i handled this like a pro.

Everyone thought that it was store-bought. I did not make plumpy pedas as Viji's as I had a lots of sweets and didn't want people to feel full with just one. (All the sweets were done for the Diwali party we had at our friends place. It was not a potluck. Infact the dinner was ordered from outside. but I just made these to share it with my friends and all of you.

Gulab Jamuns:

I made this with the MTR mix. Most of you might think what's so special about doing jamons with mix. But you what? So many things matters. The jamons should be the perfect shape, fried to the right consistency, soaked enough in the sugar syrup and all that. I've done jamuns so many times in the past and it had always been a success. But this time....OOPS. It went wrong.I was already late for Kavin's gym classes. So I fried the jamuns and dropped them in hot sugar syrup. I mean really hot syrup. With 10 to 15 mins the jamons absorbed the syrup and they looked supersoft and spongy. In my mind I was imagining all the compliments I was going to get from my hubby.

After that I left for the classes. On my return, I tried to tranfer the jamons to a serving bowl. Alas, the disaster happened. All the jamons started loosing their shape and just melted just like that and the I ended up in one big mess. I was so mad. I wanted to scream at myself for being so idiotic. I couldn't fix it at all. I tried saving a few but it wasn't that great. I couldn't save it in anyway. With a heavy heart I threw away everything and did a fresh batch taking enough care all the way through. This out turned perfectly good and it made up my heart for the jamons I lost. So, next time guys...don't think jamons from mixes are damn easy. Everything has to be done in a certain way to get it right.

Next was...Chocolate Pista Rolls from Viji's:

I know, I have done 3 of her recipes this time. I wanted to try something else, but the chocolate had got me pinned to it. I had no other go. This also turned out great and I also shapped them into balls and placed the pista stuffing inside.

Also, I did the chocolate khoya once again and rolled them with the plain khoya to make a marbled effect. Altogether it was good and it was specially "B"'s fav. For the original recipe go here.

Khoya/Unsweetened Gova - 1 cup
Full cream milk powder 1 cup
Condensed Milk ½ cup (Milk maid)

Powdered sugar ½ cup
Cadbury’s coco powder 3 tbsp
Pista powder 4 tbsp
1 tsp ghee to grease your hand

Grate the Khoya and mix it with milk powder, milk maid and sugar and boil it at medium temperature. In 5-6 minutes, it will form like dough. Remove 40% of it to a plate and add pista powder to it. Grease your hand with ghee and mix well. Roll this into cylindrical shape and leave it the fridge for 15 minutes.With the remaining 60% add 3 tbsp of coco powder and greasing your hand with ghee mix well. Roll this into a rectangle – the height must be the same length of pista roll. Keep the pista roll on one end and roll it tightly with the choco roll. Refrigerate it for 15-20 minutes. Then slice it. That’s it.

Pottukadalai Murukku:

It's been years since I made this. So, I had a hard time in searching for the murukku aachu. Finally when I found it ,the star plate was stuck to the aachu. I couldn't change anyother plate whatsoever. That's why I did only one item this time.

This is my friend's Valli Meyyapan's recipe. She is not a blogger but is a good cook. We were neighbours when we were in Michigan. This recipe of hers has always been a hit in my house. Hope you like it too.

Diwali Breakfast:

Usually we have idlli and brinjal gosthu for our diwali breakfast. But this time I donno , I couldn't find time to get the batter done. My hubby was a little disappointed with that b'coz this is what he had been eating traditionally on every diwali for as long as he could remember. So, I had to do something that is equally good.Luckily I found the 'Rava Dosa' recipe from Prema's cookbook.

Thanks to her, my hubby really really enjoyed it so much that he kept eating it in jet speed not allowing me to take even one pic. Finally I took one, but by that time the chutney was all gone. Still he finished it off with some sugar. I just got to taste just one piece of it. But I was glad that it made up for the idlli-gosthu breakfast.Thanks Prema once again. (The picture is not that great. But it tasted so good. Will update this post with a good pic soon).

Anyhow, the celebration was great and all the guests enjoyed everything. I was also satisfied with the net result although I had a little bit of downfalls here and there. I know, that it is a long post. Just wanted to share with you what all I went thru in the process of preparing everything. Sorry for boring you guys. Will continue with my normal posts and reply back to all of your comments soon. Thank you all for inspiring my Diwali. I had so many other items on the list, but didn't find time. Will do it all for the next festival.

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