Desserts: Indian cuisine
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Shuchi Singh Kalra SkyScanner Thursday, 12 February 2015
Bal Mithai, Uttarakhand
Shuchi Singh Kalra
Milk solids are roasted until they acquire a brown, caramelized, fudge-like consistency and cut into squares, which are then coated with tiny sugar balls. The crunchy-chewy texture makes sure that you cannot stop at one. While it is one of the yummiest desserts on this list, Bal Mithai isn’t easy to find unless you are in Uttarakhand. Grab a few boxes the next time you are in the area because it has quite an impressive shelf life.
6 cups Maida
8 cups Sugar
3 cups Water
1 tsp Soda (bicarbonate)
1/2 cup Pistachios
Ghee for frying
2/3 cup Ghee (for adding in maida to make dough)
- Mix maida, soda, and 2/3 cup ghee to make a stiff dough
- Roll out small balls from this dough
- Heat ghee and fry these balls till it turns brown
- Prepare sugar syrup of two thread consistency
- Dip fried balls in sugar syrup
- Garnish with pistachio
Shuchi Singh Kalra
Gujaratis are known to take their desserts very seriously, which is why some of the most delectable Indian desserts come out of this state. Basundi is a lipsmackingly creamy dessert made from super-thick milk flavoured with saffron. Pistachios and almonds are sprinkled on top to add some crunch. Traditionally served in small earthen pots or “kulhars”, Basundi is easily one of the happiest ways to end a meal.
1 cup sesame seeds
2 tbsp clarified butter
3/4 cup jaggery
1/2 Tsp Cardamom powder
1/2 cup Water
How to make it
- Roast sesame seeds on a pan on very low heat.
- Stir the sesame seeds constantly to avoid it from getting burnt.
- Take it off from heat. Cool and pound the seeds.
- Now make a thick syrup of jaggery by boiling it with 1/2 cup water over very low flame.
- Take the pounded roasted sesame and add it to the syrup. Mix well.
- Now, spread a thin layer of oil on a rolling board.
- Spread the jaggery-sesame mixture over oil film into 1 cm thickness.
- Cool the mixture and cut it into squarish pieces.
- The til gajak is ready.
- Remember to keep the gajak in an airtight container.
Shuchi Singh Kalra
Ghevar is a Rajasthani dessert typically made during the festival of Teej. Shaped like a disc, it is made from refined flour (maida), ghee (clarified butter), corn flour and Kewada essence, and then fried to crunchy crispness. While it can be eaten plain, it is sometimes topped with rabdi (condensed milk) and nuts. The sugar and ghee content make Ghevar a sinful indulgence – definitely not for the faint hearted!
Ghee or oil to fry
For the cover
500 gms maida 6 tbsp oil / ghee
For the filling
500-600 gms khoya
1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
25 gms chopped almonds
25 gms raisins
25 gms dried coconut (grated)
350 gms powdered sugar to taste
1) Mix maida with the 6 tablespoons of oil to make a soft but tight dough. Cover with damp cloth.
2) Take khoya in a frying pan and roast it till light brown in colour. Let it cool and add dry fruits, coconut, sugar and cardamom powder. Fry for two minutes and remove from the heat. Allow it to cool.
3) Divide the dough into small balls and roll each ball into a small flat round.
4) Take the khoya mixture and put it in the rounds and seal them using some extra dough. Make sure the filling doesn't ooze out.
5) Heat ghee in a kadhai and deep fry the gujiyas on a medium flame. Fry till golden brown in colour; then drain and remove. Store in an airtight container.
Healthy gulab jamun recipe
1 no lemon slice
1 L water
50 g chenna (milk solids left after removing the whey by way of curdling milk)
150 g mava
30 g maida (flour)
10 g corn flour
1 tsp green cardamom powder
¼ tsp baking powder
500 g sugar
canola oil for frying
Mix sugar, lemon slice and water and keep on fire to boil. Remove any scum. Reduce to 3/4th. Remove half of syrup, keep aside and boil the rest until it reaches 2-string consistency. Remove from fire and keep warm.
Take clean marble or wide paraat; mix chenna and khoya together and mash with base of palm to ensure there are no grains. Mix in maida, cardamom powder, corn flour and baking powder.
Make into tight round balls of approximately 30 g each. Heat canola oil to medium-hot and gently slide gulab jamuns in oil.
Make sure you don't put any spoon now as there are chances it may break; wait till the gulab jamun starts to float. Gently increase flame and cook until golden brown.
Remove and drop gently into light sugar syrup. Keep there for 10-12 minutes. Transfer the same into sugar syrup with 2-string consistency. Let rest for half an hour. Before serving, gently heat with syrup.
Yield: 4 servings. Serving size: 2 nos, 30 g each.
Note: When shaping into balls, make sure there are no cracks or the gulab jamun will split on frying.
Nutritional Analysis per Serving
Carbohydrates - 58g
Protein - 7g
Fat - 25g
Saturated fat - 9g
Cholesterol - 64mg
Fiber - 0 g
Sodium - 102mg
Calories – 485
Halwa, badam ka
1 cup of wheat flour
1Â½ cup of blanched almonds
1 tsp cardamom powder
Â¼ tsp crushed kesar
1 tbsp of warm milk
8 to 10 blanched almonds finely chopped in to slivers
1Â¼ cup of ghee
3 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1) Take the kesar and dissolve in warm milk. Keep it aside.
2) Dry and powder the blanched almonds. Keep aside 10 almonds for garnishing.
3) Melt ghee in a pan and add some flour to it. Stir and fry mixture for a couple of minutes. Then add almond powder to the mixture and stir again. Fry the mixture till it becomes golden brown and you can smell the aroma.
4) Stir the mixture continuously. Add some water and again stir. Add some sugar too. When the ghee froths, add cardamom and kesar to the mixture and stir.
5) Serve with garnishing of chopped almonds.
Halwa, gajar ka, Punjab
Shuchi Singh Kalra
A hot winter favourite across the plains of North India, Gajar ka Halwa has its roots in Punjab. This delicious carrot pudding is made from sweet succulent carrots cooked in milk and ghee, and roasted till they turn deep red in colour. Some like it piping hot while some like it cold, but almost everyone likes a generous garnishing of almond slivers. This is one dessert you can never have enough of.
A lot of heat, sweat and patience goes into the making of khurchan, a milk-based sweet that has been selling in Old Delhi for more than a hundred years
It takes a bit of jostling past the wedding shoppers to reach this Kinari Bazaar shop, run by a third-generation sweet maker, before you can lay your hands on a delicacy that is slowly disappearing from Old Delhi’s palate.
A lot of heat, sweat, and patience goes into the making of khurchan, which traces its roots to Western UP, probably Khurja, more famous for its pottery than the milkbased sweet sold at Chandni Chowk’s Hazari Lal Jain Khurchan Wale.
The shop opens by 7am and, soon, five gas-fired stoves are lit up in a row, with karahis filled with milk kept to boil. A skilled worker handles each karahi, stirring the milk continuously and, from time to time, skimming off the malai from the top to the sides of the vessel with a twig.
“It takes at least two hours and 7kg of milk to make one kilo of khurchan,” says Sunil Kumar Jain, 55, sitting in the shop named after his father.
The malai is left to cool, with karchis resting on top of discarded autorickshaw tyres. Then begins the layering process; each layer of malai is cushioned with a dusting of sugar and the final layer is topped with kaju and pista.
“My grandfather, hailing from Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind, started making khurchan over a century ago, from a godown near the Marwari Hospital along this very lane. He shifted to this shop in the ’60s,” says Jain, who could be the last from his family to make this sweet.
“It is difficult now to get skilled workers who must squat for hours in the heat to make khurchan. Five years ago, we started using Amul Diamond (creamy milk) after facing problems in sourcing buffalo milk,” he says. “I don’t want my son, who is a BTech, to take up my profession.”
Back in Khurja, around two hours’ drive from Delhi, another third-generation sweet maker is more optimistic. “We make khurchan the traditional way, using coal fire to boil buffalo milk on tawa,” says Gyan Prakash Giri, 53, who runs Shiv Misthan Bhandar.
The use of tawa instead of karahi, with lesser quantity of milk, is what makes the Khurja preparation distinct. Once the milk is all evaporated, the leftover malai forms a smooth sheet covering the entire tawa, unlike the ring of malai stuck to the sides of the karahi in Old Delhi.
“God has given us a sweet that does not last beyond a few days, limiting us to Khurja, unlike the Agra petha or Mathura peda,” says Giri. The sweet, sold at Rs 600 a kg in Old Delhi and Rs 400 in Khurja, has a short shelf life and is harder to make in summers when these cramped shops turning into ovens.
This is a dying craft. Soon, another Old Delhi delight may go the Ghantewala way, eventually disappearing among the rows of wedding shops.
Delicious Malpua recipe
1 litre milk
1 cup sugar
For the syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup waterSaffron strands
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
For the malpua
500 gms all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
400 gms sweetened condensed milk
Slivered almonds and pistachios to garnish
How to make malpua
- Mix the milk and 1 cup of sugar in a thick-bottomed pan
- Cook to reduce it to a fourth of its original volume while stirring frequently
- Remove it from the fire; allow cooling and then chilling in the refrigerator
- Mix equal quantity of sugar and water in a pan
- Boil it until a single-thread consistency is obtained
- Add cardamom powder, saffron threads, mix well
- Keep it aside to use later
- In a large mixing bowl, blend the condensed milk, flour and baking powder together to form a smooth batter
- Meanwhile heat enough ghee in a deep frying pan to cook the malpuas
- Pour the batter into the oil to form circles about 4" in diameter
- Cook till golden brown
- Remove from the oil and put directly into the sugar syrup
- Remove after 2-3 minutes and drain on a wire rack
- Now to serve, place 2 malpuas in a plate, spoon rabri over them and garnish with slivered nuts
Shuchi Singh Kalra
A festive sweet common in Orissa, Bengal and even Maharashtra , Malpua are deep fried fritters made from a batter of flour, milk and bananas. While every state has its own unique way of making Malpuas, the Oriya version is dipped in sugar syrup and served hot. The best thing about Malpua is that the recipe is so versatile – some people like to flavour it with mangoes and pineapples, while others prefer the sweet-spicy aromas of cardamom and fennel.
Malpuas are served hot with a garnish of pistachios.
Laddoo, bésan ka
Â½ cup ghee
2 cups of besan
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped almonds & raisins
1/2 tsp powdered cardamom
1) Keep the kadhai on low heat.
2) Mix the besan and ghee in the kadhai and stir constantly to avoid lumps.
3) Once slightly brown, allow to cool.
4) Add cardamom and sugar and mix thoroughly.
5) Make small balls of the mixture and serve.
Recipe for til ladoos
1 small bowl of coarsely ground peanuts
1 cup jaggery
1 cup til (sesame seeds)
1 cup grated coconut
Finely chopped cashews and almonds
Cardamom powder for taste, some raisins and clarified butter (ghee)
Roast the sesame seeds. Once they turn golden brown, transfer them into a bowl. Roast the grated coconut and transfer into the same bowl. To this, add coarsely ground peanuts. Add finely chopped cashews, almonds and raisins. Put some cardamom powder, according to your taste. Mix everything well. Finally, melt the jaggery with 1 tsp of ghee and add to this mixture. Mix well to make your ladoos.
Sweet recipe: Rava laddoo in minutes
Rava or sooji ( semolina): 200 gms
Sugar: 200 gms
Ghee: 200 gms
Nutmeg: half a pinch
Cardamom ground: a pinch
Dry fruits: kismis, sliced badam and kaju -as per your liking
Grate one whole coconut and add sugar to it. Keep this mixture aside in a bowl. Roast the rava in a non-stick pan till it attains a light brown colour. Take the pan off the stove. Add ghee to it. Pour the grated coconut with sugar on the layer of rava and ghee. Mix the ingredients well. Add nutmeg and cardamom to it and mix well.
Start making laddoos by taking the laddoo mixture in your palm. You can decide on the size of the laddoo on how big or how small you want them to be. Embed the dry fruits as you make each laddoo in your palm.
Makhan Malai, Uttar Pradesh
Shuchi Singh Kalra
Makhan Malai is a tasty milk-based dessert from North India, which is prepared exclusively in winters, under the first morning dew (very exotic!). Its light frothy texture and melt-in-your-mouth goodness easily make it one of the most delicate desserts in the country. Top that up with a sprinkle of saffron, chopped pistachios and Chandi ka Warq (silver leaf), and you have a dish fit for a king. Although the dish is believed to have originated in Mathura, you will find the best Makhan Malai in the chaotic lanes of Chowk in Lucknow.
Makhan Malai is best enjoyed on cold winter mornings.
Shuchi Singh Kalra
Qulfi is the Indian version of ice-cream and quite ubiquitous. But the real fun is to have it with “falooda” which is thin, transparent vermicelli. The mix is topped with basil seeds (sabja) and rose syrup and one bite can transport you to gastronomic heaven on a hot summer day. While malai, pista, badam and kesar are traditional qulfi flavours, it is not uncommon to come across more creative versions flavoured with chocolate, paan, mango, rose, banana and even blueberry.
Shuchi Singh Kalra
While Rasgulla is Bengali in origin, it is a hot favourite all across India. Few people can resist these soft, spongy balls made of cottage cheese or “chhena” dunked in fragrant sugar syrup. Rasgullas may be flavoured with kewra or saffron, and are always served chilled.