Boondi Ladoo

It is festival time everywhere and celebrations are in full swing with lots of enthusiasm in the air. We enjoyed the colorful navratri by going to the musical dandiya , which is so full of life and buzzing with so many people dancing to the rhythmic beats.

Food, especially sweets are an integral part of any festival and are used for prasadam for the almighty as well as share them among your friends and family.

At home my friend  suggested we make some traditional boondi ladoo, I was very doubtful as I never made them and thought it is a difficult job of producing the small pearl like boondi and forming it into a ladoo. But it turned out to be very easy and quick recipe with fresh tasting ladoo which tasted so different and better than store bought one's. Thank you Jyothsna for sharing your recipe!

Ingredients

  • Besan (Gram flour)--2 cups
  • Water--1 1/4th cup water
  • Make a paste of besan and water and keep aside . It forms a very thin and flowy paste.
  • Sugar -- 2 cups
  • Water -1 and 1/2 cup water
  • Cardamon powder--1 teaspoon
  • Raisins--1 tablespoon
  • Cashews (optional)--1 Tablespoon (chopped finely)


Recipe

  • To make sugar syrup combine water, sugar, cardamon powder and boil for about 15 minutes until one string consistency is formed. As the sugar syrup is boiling start making boondi. Please see notes section for additional information on how to make one string consistency sugar syrup.
  • Heat oil in a pan and pour the besan batter over the boondi spoon as tiny droplets of bundi are  formed in the oil. Take it out as soon as the boondi pops up and put it in a bowl. 
  • As the sugar syrup gets ready pour the boondi in it, add the raisins  and press it to squeeze excess syrup thus forming a round ladoo . Reshape the ladoo once it cools down to form a perfectly shaped ladoo.

Notes

  • To check one string consistency take the syrup between your forefinger and thumb, a thin string is formed and then you know the syrup is ready to use.
  • You can buy the big spoon to make boondi in any Indian store.
  • Dont make the boondi crispy or golden as it becomes hard and cannot absorb the sugar syrup well.
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modak

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi ! This time of the year I miss home and the festivities there. I am sure all of us desi's living away from India feel the same way, especially during festival time.

Modak

Ganpati days in India were filled with lots of buzz and good food . As children we participated in lots of cultural activities during this time. My friend's grandmother was incharge of the programs and she prepared us children for plays, dances and skits.I have fond memories of all the preparations we did together, from stiching clothes to gathering things for play. The preparation time was filled with lot of excitement and when Ganpati finally arrived we roamed around the streets to check out the gigantic Ganpati statues and colorful decorations. Loud music played from every street corner and roads were adorned with lights of every possible color. Here is US we try to celebrate it with equal enthusiasm and cooking  food .It needs lots of work but it is all worth it!

Modak

Making Modak is essential part of Ganesh Chaturthi as it is considered to be Favorite food of gods..so here is how I made modak's this year

Ingredients

  • Whole Wheat flour ---1 cup
  • Milk--Half Cup
  • Salt--A Pinch
  • Coconut--( Grated )--4-5  Tablespoons
  • Jaggery--(grated)--3 Tablespoon
  • Cardamon powder--1 teaspoon
  • Poppy Seeds(khas-khas)--1 teaspoon(dry roasted)
  • Oil--2 cups 

Recipe

Heat a pan and add grated coconut to it along with Jaggery and mix well. Add the Cardamon Powder, poppy seeds to it and cook till light brown in color. Keep aside.

Make a dough of Whole wheat flour by adding milk and water if needed. Roll out a small round shape poori and fill the coconut gravy in the center. Gather all sides and shape the modak. Deep fry in oil till golden brown on low flame and serve.

Note--You can make quick gravy with

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Carrot Halwa (Gajar ka halwa)

Carrot Halwa is a well known dessert recipe in India. It is further glamorized by the Indian film industry aka Bollywood. Every happy occasion and the dialogue" gajar ka halwa banaya hain" is so common in movies that this dish is impossible to forget. 

Gajar Ka Halwa

I tried growing carrots at home and it was so much fun to dig them out and cook them into glamorous halwa recipe! One thing gardening teaches you..is patience, and cooking rewards you with excellent tasting dishes made from fresh ingredients. In this recipe the carrots are cooked in milk and mixed with sugar and dry fruits. This is a excellent dessert recipe or it can be eaten with puri also. 

Ingredients

Gajar Ka Halwa

  • Carrots--4 cups (Grated finely)
  • Butter or Ghee--2Tablespoons
  • Sugar--1 1/2 cups
  • Milk --2 cups
  • Saffron--A pinch
  • Cashews--A fistful
  • Raisins--1 Tablespoon
  • Paneer --3/4 cup (Grated)

Recipe

Gajar Ka Halwa

Take a big Pan and heat the butter in it. Add the cashews and raisins and roast for few seconds. Add the grated carrots and stir for some time. Add the milk with saffron  till all the carrots are soaked properly and let it cook for about 10-15 minutes till the carrots are  soft. Now mix in the sugar and cook it for another 15 minutes.Add the paneer and mix well . The sugar and carrot juice will start to evaporate and the butter gets seperated from the carrot mixture. Take off and serve hot.

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Shrikhand a Sour-Cream Dessert Recipe

Shrikhand is a mouth watering sweet prepared mostly in Maharashtra. Saffron and sugar are added  with hung curd and mixed to a smooth and creamy texture. Over the years Shrikhand has changed ,and now is available in many flavors like mango, kesar, Chikku etc. But the original Shrikhand still remains my favorite! 

Shrikhand

We made Shrikhand at home on several occasions and get togethers. Hung curd was sometimes bought from the market and it is called "chakka" . All of the children present argued over who will mix the chakka with all the other ingredients. The thick creamy Shrikhand tasted great with hot puri or chapati and is  a favorite among kids.

Here in US I tried to make Shrikhand the traditional way but was disappointed due to the difference in yogurt. Then I tried using greek yogurt which is thicker and the shrikhand came out just the way I wanted. The pure saffron added a great flavor to this classic dessert and it has become a regular at all our get togethers now.

Ingredients

  • Greek Yogurt (oikos,chobani) Non -Fat---3 cups
  • Sour Cream ( Non Fat)--1  1/2 cup 
  • Sugar--3 cups
  • Saffron--1/2 teaspoon (soak in 1/2 teaspoon of milk overnight)
  • Cardamon Powder--1 teaspoon
  • Nutmeg powder--1/4 teaspoon
  • Chopped Almonds--(soak for 4-5 hrs,peel the skin and chop)--1 Tablespoon

Recipe

Shrikhand

Take a Cheesecloth and double it in thickness. Spoon the yogurt and sour cream into the cloth, gather four corners and tie it with a string . Hang it above the sink overnight so that the excess water in it drains out.

Take a mixing bowl and mix the yogurt-sour cream with sugar. Mix it well and add the cardamon powder, nutmeg powder and chopped almonds. Add the saffron and mix well. Mix this one day in advance so that it becomes thick and consistent. Serve Chilled.

Note: You can change the proportion of sugar as per your preference. Use normal yogurt if Greek yogurt is not readily available.

Shrikhand

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Kalakand Anjeeri (fig milk-cake)

Kalakand is one of the oldest sweets made in India during festivals and celebrations. A huge pan is  kept on a flame and large amount of milk is boiled stirring it continously till it is thickened to perfection with sugar and dry fruits. I certainly missed this sweet after coming to U.S  and specially the "anjeeri kalakand" which is made of fresh figs or anjeer . This kalakand is brown in color unlike the regular white one and tastes great with the grainy texture of anjeer contributing to the traditional kalakand. 

Fig Milkcake

I was happy to find lots of fresh figs ( anjeer)  in a farm and tried this recipe and it bought back the memories of the grainy kalakand back in India. It is very easy to make and lasts around a month when refrigerated.

Ingredients

  • Figs (anjeer) --6-7
  • Condensed Milk--15 oz
  • Ricotta Cheese--14 oz
  • Cardamon Powder--1/2 teaspoon
  • Chopped Almonds--1 teaspoon

Recipe

Combine the figs with sugar and cook them on a low flame until they become soft . It takes about 6-7 minutes ,cool them and grind them in a mixer or mash them until they become smooth. Dont grind them too much otherwise they might lose their grainy texture.

Fig Milkcake

Step 1-- Mix the condensed milk and Ricotta cheese in  a greased pan. 

Step 2-- Place it in microwave for 5 minutes,take out and stir well.

Fig Milkcake

Step 3--Place it in microwave for another 5 minutes,take out and stir.

Step 4- Add the cooked figs mixture and place it in microwave for 3 minutes, take out and stir it.

Step-5 -Place it in microwave for 3 minutes,take out and mix well and REPEAT for another 3 minutes.

Fig Milkcake

The fig  mixture will be thick in consistency by now, take it out and place it on a greased plate. Cut into desired shape and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Place chopped almonds and cardamon powder on top and Enjoy!

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