[By Gloria Ngu]
Lights, sweets and music! What else could this describe other than the Festival of Lights, Deepavali? And though we might be a bit late, we have decided to present you with some recipes for whipping up quintessential Deepavali desserts, right in your homes!
New to this? Don’t worry – we have found some of the simplest recipes for these delectable treats. Read on to learn how to prepare dodha burfi, peanut laddu, pumpkin halwa and jalebi!
‘Burfi’ translates directly as ‘fudge’, and it does bear much resemblance to the Western confection. The traditional way of making this would include caramelizing milk and simmering it over the stove for hours, but nowadays these milk solids, known as khoya or mawa, can be found in stores.
This recipe makes 6 small pieces. Preparation time is 5 minutes and cooking time is 20 minutes.
What You Need
1 and ½ cups khoya or mawa
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp ghee
A pinch of cardamom powder
Almonds and pistachios (as garnish)
Heat the ghee in a non-stick pan. Crumble the khoya and add it in.
Let it roast on a low flame until it turns brown. Then, turn off the flame and set aside.
Mix the sugar and 2 tbsp of water and stir till the sugar dissolves completely.
Boil the sugar solution for 3 – 4 minutes.
Add this sugar syrup and the cardamom powder to the khoya and ghee, and mix everything together.
Keep stirring on a medium flame for 2 – 3 minutes or until it leaves the side of the pan.
Pour the mixture onto a greased pan.
Sprinkle the nuts on the top and press gently.
While it is still warm, cut it into small pieces.
Let it cool completely, and it is ready to be served! Store in an airtight container if it is not consumed immediately.
[Recipe adapted from blendwithspices.com – http://www.blendwithspices.com/2013/12/dodha-burfi.html%5D
Laddoo is one of the most famous traditional Indian sweets. It is essentially flour and sugar, and the other ingredients that are added make up the various types of laddoo. Just to name a few, there is motichoor laddoo, besan laddoo, atta laddoo, sabudana laddoo and of course, peanut laddoo.
This recipe makes 15 – 20 pieces.
What You Need
2 cups peanuts
¾ cups jaggery
3 tbsp ghee
½ tsp cardamom powder
Crushed cashew nuts
Heat up a heavy-bottomed pan and roast the peanuts on medium heat till they turn golden brown (or, if the skin is still on, dark brown spots will appear when it’s done. The skin comes off when they are roasted right).
Turn off the flame and let the peanuts cool on a wide plate. If there is still skin on the peanut, peel it off completely.
Grind or pound the peanuts into a coarse powder.
Add the jaggery and grind it together to mix the jaggery and peanut powder. You should end up with a dough-like mixture that can be rolled into balls.
Optional! Transfer the mixture into a wide bowl and add ghee, cardamom and cashew nuts. Mix well.
Shape into small round balls and you’re done! Store in an airtight container if not consumed immediately.
[Recipe adapted from Udupi Recipes – http://udupi-recipes.com/2014/03/peanut-laddu-recipe-groundnut-laddu-recipe.html
and blendwithspices.com – http://www.blendwithspices.com/2010/08/verusenagapappu-chimmili-peanut-laddu-2.html]
This dish is thick and sweet, and is perfect as an after-meal dessert. If you’ve tried making pumpkin pie, pumpkin mash and pumpkin soup, why not try this? It’s easy to make, delicious and would be something unique for a Halloween party, another celebration this time of year.
What You Need
2 cups grated pumpkin
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp melted ghee
10 – 15 almonds (chopped)
½ tbsp cardamom powder
Heat the ghee in a wide, heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the almonds and fry till golden brown, then remove and set aside.
In the same pan, add the grated pumpkin and fry on a medium flame.
Continue frying for 5 – 10 minutes, or until the raw smell disappears.
Add two cups of milk and stir well.
Cook the mixture until the milk evaporates. The mixture should look moist and might still be a little watery.
Add the sugar and mix well.
Allow the sugar to melt and cook the mixture until the ghee separates from the halwa.
When the halwa leaves the side of the pan, turn off the flame.
Add the cardamom powder and almonds and mix well.
Serve hot. Enjoy!
You can garnish it with cashew nuts as well!
[Recipe adapted from blendwithspices.com-http://www.blendwithspices.com/2012/12/gummadikaya-halwa-pumpkin-halwa-step-by.html
and Kitchen Secrets and Snippets – http://www.kitchensecretsandsnippets.com/2013/05/yellow-pumpkin-halwa.html#.VEtTvvnLf54]
Traditionally, this sweet, crispy dessert includes at least ten hours of fermentation for the batter, but modern recipes have been tweaked, using yeast to quicken the fermentation and lessen the preparation time. This recipe is yeast-free and includes a 24-hour fermentation period, so if you’d prefer an instant recipe, do look it up on the internet.
There are three parts to making jalebi: preparing the batter, making the sugar syrup and making the jalebis.
This recipe makes 15 – 20 jalebis.
What You Need
1 cup maida or all-purpose flour (alternative: 1 cup urad dal flour and 2 tbsp rice flour)
2 tbsp corn flour
¾ cup sour yoghurt
½ tsp baking soda
2 tbsp ghee
A pinch of turmeric powder (for colour, or you can use food colouring)
Oil (for deep frying)
For the sugar syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
A few strands of saffron
Preparing the batter
Mix the maida, corn flour, baking soda, ghee and turmeric powder in a medium-sized bowl.
Add yoghurt and very little water to the mixture and combine them to make a thick batter. The consistency should be similar to that of butter cream batter.
Cover the jalebi batter and place in a warm place for 24 hours or overnight till it is fermented.
Stir the fermented batter in a cut and fold motion. Do not over stir so that the air pockets will remain. These make the jalebi crispier and can help it absorb the sugar syrup better.
Fill a piping bag (a Ziploc bag with a small hole cut at the corner works fine) with the batter. The batter should be thick and firm in order to hold the shape of the jalebis.
Making the sugar syrup
Boil the sugar with water and saffron in a small bowl on medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
The sugar syrup should be thick and consistent in texture. Turn off the heat and keep aside.
Making the jalebis
Heat up the oil as preparation for the deep-frying. A wok works best for deep-frying. The oil is considered hot enough when a drop of batter added in rises to the top almost immediately.
Pipe spirals of the jalebi batter onto the oil until you get at least 3 concentric circles.
Fry the jalebi on medium heat until golden brown and crisp. Make sure the oil is not too hot or the jalebis might end up burnt!
Drain the excess oil from the jalebis and immediately dip into the hot sugar syrup. Let the jalebis rest in the sugar syrup for a minute, then drip off the excess syrup and serve.
If you are not serving it immediately, keep the jalebis and sugar syrup separately in the fridge, but for no more than two days. When ready to eat, warm them up, dip the jalebi in the sugar syrup and serve!
[Recipe adapted from Archana’s Kitchen – http://www.archanaskitchen.com/recipes/indian/indian-sweets-mithai-recipes/1443-homemade-jalebi]
If you do try out these recipes, let us know how it goes! Comment with a photo of your masterpiece or tag us in a post. If you have a different method of preparing these sweets, share it with us too!