Thursday, November 08, 2007
MITHAIS, also known as “Mishtaan” (meaning sweet food), are synonymous with celebrations in India. Any good news be that of a promotion, marriage, birth in a family or festivals like diwali, holi etc is invariably heralded with a box of sweets. Our favourite expression is “muh meetha karo”. An astounding variety of sweets is available from different parts of the country. This culinary heritage, which has been passed down from generation to generation, needs to be preserved. There are many times one wishes to have some knowledge of this culinary expertise to make something special and appropriate for the occasion.
Well here are listed step-by-step instructions for recipes, which will enable you to make your favourite sweets easily at home. There a lots of sweets one can make using fresh paneer, milk, dry fruits, I have suggested a few but there should be no end to one’s creativity and you can always create something new. Also one can buy rasgullas from a sweet-meat shop and garnish them to create a completely new mithai, but this should be only to save on time as there is nothing quite as rewarding as home made rasgullas!
Certain intricate sweets may take a little practice and experience for example Mysore Pak and Ghevar. But do not be disheartened as there are several recipes ideal for beginners as well. Mithais are actually quite easy to prepare as you will find out yourself and once you have mastered the techniques of making these scrumptious delicacies at home, you would hardly need to go to a sweet-meat shop.
So this diwali serve home made mithais to your guests and win all the praises!
32 thin samosa pattis cut into 3" x 2 ½" pieces
For the filling
¾ cup pistachios, blanched; ¼ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
For the sugar syrup
½ cup sugar
a few strands saffron
¼ teaspoon lemon juice
Oil for deep frying
Paste of 1 tablespoon plain flour (maida) mixed with 2 tablespoon water
For the filling
1.Peel and dry the pistachios on a tea towel.
2.Grind the sugar and pistachios in a blender coarsely.
3.Place this mixture in a saucepan, sprinkle a few drops of water and heat over a gentle flame till the mixture is cooked and leaves the sides of the pan. Add the cardamom powder and mix well.
4.Cool and divide the mixture into 8 equal parts.
For the sugar syrup
1.Dissolve the sugar with half a cup of water and simmer for 5 minutes till the syrup is of 1-string consistency.
2.Add the saffron and lemon juice and mix.
3.Remove from the fire and keep warm.
How to proceed
1.Place a portion of the pistachio filling in the centre of one samosa patti.
2.Apply the flour paste on the samosa patti around the filling, taking care to leave the edges dry, so that the layers separate while the khaja is being fried.
3 Place another samosa patti on top and press gently around the filling in order to stick the two pattis together. Apply a little flour paste in the centre of the stuffed khaja and stick another samosa patti. Turn it around and stick one more patti on
4.Deep fry in hot oil until golden in colour. Drain on absorbent paper.
5.Transfer the khajas into the warm sugar syrup. Drain on a metal rack to allow the excess syrup to drain.
Preparation time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes. Makes ¾ cup.
1¼ cup chenna (freshly made paneer)
¼ cup sugar
1. Add the sugar to the chenna and mix gently.
2. Cook on a very low flame in a kadhai stirring continuously with a flat spoon.
3. Remove the kadhai from the flame at regular intervals so as not to overheat the sandesh.
4. Your sandesh is ready when it leaves the sides of the kadhai and is neither too dry not too moist. It should have the consistency of a very soft dough.
5. The sandesh should be used immediately for making various shapes and garnishes.
Preparation time: 10 minutes. No cooking. Makes 6 pieces.
1 recipe sandesh
Rind of 1 lemon
For the garnish
12 strands of saffron (kesar)
2 to 3 drops saffron food colour, dissolved in 1 tablespoons of water
1. Grate the lemon rind and keep aside.
2. Mix together the sandesh and lemon rind and knead well till smooth.
3. Divide into 6 equal parts and shape each piece into a shell (shankh) using a shell mould.
4. Garnish with the saffron strands, pistachios and a dot of saffron food colour as shown in the picture.
VARIATION: Pineapple or Lychee can also be used to make other flavours of sandesh.
SOOJI KA HALWA
Cooking Time: 9 min. 45 sec. Serves 4.
1/3 cup semolina (sooji/rawa)
1/3 cup milk
6 tablespoons sugar
1 ripe banana, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cardamom (elaichi) powder
3 tablespoons ghee
1. Put the milk, sugar and 1 1/2 teacups of water in a large glass bowl and microwave on HIGH for about 5 minutes, stirring once in between after 2 1/2 minutes. Keep aside.
2. Put the ghee in another glass bowl and microwave on HIGH for about 15 seconds.
3. Add the semolina, mix well and microwave on HIGH for about 3 minutes, stirring in-between after every 1 minute or until the semolina is light pink in colour.
4. Add the parboiled sweetened milk mixture and banana and mix well. Microwave on HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring in-between after every 30 seconds.
5. Sprinkle cardamom powder on top.
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