Halloween was just around the corner and we got tons and tons of candy. We had to entertain a sugar high evil jester for an evening.
I could not wait for my husband and Sonshine to get going to their respective work and school, the Monday after Halloween. I had a very important task at hand that needed immediate attention... guess what the task was? Sorting the candy collected on Halloween into three different piles - Mine, my husband's and Sonshine's pile. There was some funky Hindi music playing in the background and I could attend to the task at hand with no disturbances whatsoever. My pile of candy usually consists of Almond Joy, Heath and Butterfingers. My husband's pile only has Snickers where as Sonshine's pile - the rest of it.
Halloween is over.
What next? Next up - Diwali - the festival of lights.
The festival of the triumph of good over evil.
Diwali is invariably the most looked-forward-to festival in India. The fun and festivities associated with Diwali or Deepavali is unmatched, especially in Northern part of India.
Back when I was a kid, most of these celebrations had more of a religious tone (my maternal grandmother lived with us and she was a very religious person) than a celebratory fun one. You know what I mean? Days were spent fasting, praying and offering special poojas (or ritual worship) than focusing on the fun aspects of the festival.
That changed when I got married and moved to Bangalore. I was given a chance to create my own traditions, and get influenced by people around me. Bangalore being a melting pot of varied and vivid cultures from all over India, it was easy to pick and chose the ones that I liked the most. I did not forget the religious aspect of it either, since it is not easy to leave what you have seen, believed and practiced almost your entire life.
So, there was this one year when I hosted a potluck party at our home in Bangalore and invited our friends home. Diwali means sweets, food (lots and lots of it) and of course firecrackers (lately, I have reduced the use of firecrackers due to their environmental issues and the controversies surrounding child labor - lets make earth a better place to live). So, every family had to bring a sweet, another dish and then some firecrackers.
Needless to say we had tons of food. After evening snacks and refreshments, we lighted diyas around the house and then the firecrackers session started. I am not sure who were more thrilled - the kiddos or the young-at-heart-not-in-age-kiddos. Anyway, it was all fun and frolic till we had a minor incident. There is this particular type of firecracker, that when lit spins on the ground; like a pinwheel (this type is called "chakram" in Malayalam) and sparks flying in all directions. There is no way to tell which direction it will go. If it is of good quality and is lit perfectly, it is a fun one to observe. So, we lit this one and of course, it was a rebellious one. A friend of mine who was standing a tad bit closer to it than the rest, got burnt and her beautiful Diwali dress was spoiled. We stopped the firecracker bursting session and did a first aid on my friend. Thankfully it was nothing major and she borrowed my dress. We were all a bit shaken, but my friend (who is one of the most calm-headed person I know among my friends; and she has proved this many times over) kept her cool, was her jovial self and did everything possible to distract us all from the incident. After a few minutes it was back to Diwali festivities.
So, at the end of the party we had so much food and sweets and firecrackers left behind, we shared it with the construction workers' kids who lived near us. Our happiness on that Diwali was multiplied a million times when we saw how happy the kids were. After all, sharing joy does multiply it.
Diwali Mithai Dhamaka
(Loosely translated means "Lotsa Diwali Sweets" )
I know this time of the year, you look for some easy to follow, yet sumptuous and rich Indian sweets. So, instead of letting you scour the Internet for easy recipes, I decided to bring them to you. So, along with my recipe for Doodh Peda, I am sharing with you recipes from my fellow bloggers.
- Shaheen Ali shared her recipe for some delicious Karachi Halwa. The colors are so festive, I am sure it will adorn your Diwali platter.
- Get this detailed pictorial to make Paneer Laddu from Anitha. It is so simple and uses only three ingredients, and with the detailed instructions and pictorial, you cannot go wrong with this.
- Does Badam Katli sound good to you? It sounds like yumminess to me. I am going to try this Badam Katli recipe by Meera Seetharaman.
- Kalakand is a very traditional recipe and Teena Sunoj shared her recipe with us. And guess what? It gets ready in less than 30 minutes.
- Richa shared her healthy Apple Quinoa Kheer recipe as well as a Phirni and Roasted Figs with Cardamom Yogurt recipe. They all look so festive.
- Makkan Peda by Meena Kumar has taken my breath away. Looks truly Nawabi, no doubts there, Meena.
- If you are more of an ice cream person, then here is TURmeric Icecream by Madhuri.
- Radha shared her recipe for Seven Cup Cake.
- These Strawberry Pedas by Ramya are so cute.
- Kesari Rajbhog by Shaheen looks so yum.
- Here is Gulab Jamun recipe by Brijdeep Kaur.
- If you are a fan of Kiwi Fruit Sandesh, Chhena Poda, Atta Ladoos or Rasabalis, please visit Alaka's blog
- From Sandhy'a Kitchen, we have a few modern recipes along with some classic ones. Pick one or all - Chocolate Truffle, Chocolate Fudge, Gajar K Halwa, Thatai, Maaladu.
- Does the flavors of Sev Paak and Gulkand Dry Fruit Ladoo tempt you? I know! right?
- Some yummilcious, festive, and delightful Diwali recipes from Dolphia. Send me some, will ya? 🙂
Notes about Doodh Peda
It is a pretty straight forward recipe. I stumbled upon this page while searching for a recipe for home made khoya (Khoya/mawa can be considered a milk cheese that is used extensively in Indian sweets). So, I started with the intention of making Khoya, but I realized that the mixture has the consistency of Doodh Peda mix and was super tasty and it also did hold the shape when shaped into discs. I make this in the microwave. Each microwave is different and the time required might vary a little bit, but you cannot go wrong with it. Keep a constant watch on it to ensure that the mix does not spill from the bowl. If by chance it spills, wipe the bowl as well as the microwave turntable with a damp towel immediately. Or else, you will end up with some extra sticky mass and instead of enjoying the Doodh Peda, you will end up cleaning the microwave. How do I know this? Been there, done that. And, fat is good ;). I did not like the texture of the doodh pedas that I made with Low-fat condensed milk.
Diwali is a time when it is socially acceptable to eat "well" and the opportunities to do so - infinite. So, I always make these sweets almost bite-sized. It satiates your need for sweet and also does not pile too many calories.
- 1 tin 397g/14Oz Condensed Milk
- 2 teaspoon Yogurt
- 2 teaspoon Ghee plus a little more for greasing.
- 1 Cardamom pod husked, seeded and seeds powdered; about ⅛ teaspoon
- Grease a microwave bowl lightly with ghee.
- Pour the condensed milk into the bowl along with yogurt and ghee. Mix well using a small whisk.
- Microwave (on HIGH or full power) for 30 seconds and remove from the microwave. Mix again.
- Repeat step number 3 for another 12-13 times - a total of 6-7 minutes or till the milk forms a cohesive mass and does not flow.
- After adding the cardamom powder, whisk once again to break the granules, transfer the contents to a greased parchment paper and let it cool enough to handle (about 6-8 minutes).
- Divide the mixture into 24 equal sized parts and roll into small balls. Grease your hands if the mixture is sticky. Flatten each ball into a small disc between your palms.
- Serve or Store.