Friday, March 14, 2014

Navratri and Diwali Specials 2013

Navratri and Diwali this year ( now last year) were enjoyable moments due to our new arrival and the presence of my dear Dad. I had some free time and I was able to use it to the fullest by making as many sweets as i possibly could. This mission was bolstered by my Dad - I did not have to worry about sweets going uneaten and thrown into the garbage pile after a week. My Dad can and will eat anything sweet even if it does not look or taste like it is supposed to :) So I gave myself full rein and went all out to make some easy, simple but delicious sweets. Take a look below:

1. Chocolate Khoya double layer Barfi (Fudge), Rating: 3 stars

The reason I rate this barfi only 3 stars is because the timing in the recipe I followed seems incorrect. I ended up with a smooth slightly dry barfi (kind of like besan laddoo texture) rather than the moist and soft kind I prefer. But the taste was nice. Next time I shall cook it at least 5 minutes lesser.

2. Putnala Pappunda or Maladdu, Rating: 5 stars

This sweet was the most unexpected hit of our festival season. It gets a 5 star rating because of the ease of preparation, the taste and the simple ingredients used. 

3. Instant Jalebi, Rating: NA

This is pictured here just for logging purpose. The Jalebi was made using instant mix hence I am not giving any recipe rating. But I do want to mention that it gets a 4/5 for taste and texture. The only thing missing was the slightly sour flavor in the background which is present in home made jalebis. So I will definitely recommend the 'Gits' jalebi mix for when you need to prepare sweets on a short notice.

4. Kaju - Atukula Kheer, Rating: 4.5 stars

This recipe is one of those happy accidents in the kitchens that lead us to newer and tastier foods. I was trying to make kaju (cashew) powder for use in a different recipe. My mixer/grinder (the trusted 'Sumeet' lugged over from India 10 years ago) turned the powder into paste, unfortunately. Or maybe it was me. The net result was a jar full of coarse cashew paste which I had to put to use. I remembered the Poha/ Atukula kheer (posted earlier) and thought of cooking the cashews the same way. Halfway through cooking I realized that maybe Poha would add some textural interest here. So I duly added it and Ta Da!! The result is this amazing, sweet and decadent dessert. Just have to remember to eat only 1/3 of a cup at a time in the interest of the waistline ;)

5. Lauki Halwa (Opo squash/ Bottle gourd Pudding), Rating: 3.5 stars

This is a traditional Indian dessert recipe, made mostly in the northern states. For those of you who may not have heard of it, this is similar to the ubiquitous "Carrot Halwa" featured in every Indian restaurant's menu here in the US. It is a fairly simple if time consuming recipe. It falls into the Healthy dessert category with a vegetable and milk as its main ingredients. The sugar quantity used can be adjusted to taste.
The reason it gets only 3.5 stars out of a 5 is due to the chewy texture. Ideally I was supposed to end up with a "melt in your mouth" mass of the vegetable. But for some reason (either I did not choose a proper squash or the gourds here are just made that way, I don't know) the lauki just stayed fibrous and chewy. But still as a recipe to add to my dessert repertoire, this is a worthy entry. I will definitely want to make it again for potlucks where friends are health conscious but still want to have a dessert once in a while

6. Easy Milk Cake, Rating: 4.5 stars

This is my new favorite recipe!!! It is very easy to make taking only one pot and 20 mins from start to finish. It is one of the simplest ones I've tried with readily available ingredients (just 2 essential ingredients!). Taste wise it gets a 5/5. I knocked off the half point in the rating above because, people, it's a rich dessert ( I did say it is a sweet/ dessert not daily or healthy food). For parties where friends are OK with eating a little unhealthy  (keyword "Little") this is my go to recipe from now.

Well, as the say, better late than never!! I have finally finished this log about 4 months too late but I got there in the end. The recipes for all the above pictures are in the works, I shall be posting those sometime soon.