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Sunday, Nov 11, 2001

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Sweets for a festival

Deepavali is not just the festival of lights but is also a time for good cheer. A few recipes in celebration.

THE festival of lights — Diwali or Deepavali — is a happy event. It is a time for gifts and new clothes and special delicacies. Here are a few recipes for the festive season, different but easy to prepare.

Carrot poli (sweet carrot rotis) (Serves 10)

Ingredients:

Grated carrot 4 cups
Maida 3 cups
Sugar 2 cups
Ghee 4 tabs
Saffron 1/2 tsp
Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
Salt a pinch

Method:

Cook the carrot with two cups of water, till all the water dries up. When cool, grind into a puree in a blender, without adding any water. Add sugar and cook in a pan, till the mixture becomes dry. Add two tabs of ghee, the saffron and the cardamom. Cook till the mixture becomes thick.

Remove and keep aside to cool and harden. Mix the maida, the remaining tabs of ghee and salt into a firm dough. Take a small ball and with a greased palm, spread it thinly on a greased plastic sheet.

Place 1/2 teaspoon of filling (carrot) in the centre. Cover with the dough and pat again into a round circle. Shallow fry till golden on both sides with a little ghee. Serve hot. This amount makes 40 small polis.

* * *

Dry fruit halwa (Serves 10)

Ingredients:

Bread crumbs 2 cups
Deseeded, chopped dates 2 cups
Sugar 1 1/2 cups
Dry figs 1 cup
Chopped walnuts 1 cup
Chopped raisins 1 cup
Ghee 1 cup
Peeled and chopped almonds 1/2 cup
Chopped cashewnuts 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder 1 tsp

Method:

Soak the walnuts in a cup of water for five minutes. Drain and wash well. Keep aside. Fry the crumbs in half a cup of ghee till well roasted. Transfer to a plate.

In a non-stick casserole, add the dates, the figs, the walnuts, the almonds, the cashewnuts, the raisins and four cups of water.

Stir and cook over moderate heat till the mixture becomes semi-thick and the dry fruit is cooked. Add the crumbs and stir till thick.

Mix in the sugar and cook till dry. Add the remaining ghee and the cardamom. Stir till the ghee starts oozing from the mixture. Remove and serve hot or at moderate temperature.

To make bread crumbs, break four or five slices of bread into medium sized pieces. Run dry in a blender for a minute.

* * *

Makhana kheer (Serves 10)

Ingredients:
Milk 6 cups
Makhana (lotus seeds) 4 cups
Sugar 1 cup
Cream 1 cup
Ghee 2 tabs
Chopped dates 2 tabs
Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp

Method:

Fry the makhana in ghee till reddish brown in colour. Keep aside. Cook the milk, stirring all the time and till it becomes half the quantity. Add the makhana and cook till the kheer becomes thick. Reduce the heat and add the sugar, a small quantity at a time. Add the dates and allow to cool.

Mix in the cream and cardamom. Serve well chilled. The makhana can also be fried in a bit of ghee and served with a sprinkling of chilli powder and salt.

* * *

Vermicelli fruit kheer

(Serves 10)

Ingredients:
Milk 6 cups
Fresh chopped fruits 2 cups
Sugar 1 cup
Thin vermicelli 1 cup
Cream 1 cup
Ghee 2 tabs
Ice cream, butter scotch or vanilla essence 1/2 tsp

Method:

Gently break the vermicelli into smaller pieces. Fry in ghee till red in colour. Keep aside. Cook the milk, stirring all the time till it becomes half the quantity. Add the fried vermicelli and cook the kheer till it becomes thick. Reduce the flame and add the sugar a little at a time. Do not allow the kheer to burn. Let it cool and mix in the cream, the fruits and essence. Serve chilled.

(Adding all the sugar at once to the simmering kheer tends to curdle it. Hence add the sugar a little at a time).

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