A very Scrumptious, Delectable Diwali

Published: 20th October 2014 06:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th October 2014 06:06 AM   |  A+A-

BANGALORE: The best Diwali food is often made at home from recipes passed down by mothers and grandmothers. Five talented home chefs from Bangalore, across the country and abroad share their favourite festive recipes with Diya Kohli

Diwali food.JPG

Vatsala is a Gurgaon-based home chef who runs a small baking business called Sweet Magique on the side. She specializes in decorative cakes and cupcakes and has lined up a range of colourful Diwali specials for the season.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cup Cakes with Icing

(makes about 12)

Ingredients

For the Cakes

   1/2 cup vegetable oil

   2 eggs

   1/2 cup sugar

   3 mashed bananas

   1/4 tsp vanilla essence

   1 2/3 cup of flour

   1 tsp baking powder

   1/2 tsp baking soda

   1/4 tsp salt

   1/4 tsp cinnamon

   1 cup chocolate chips

For the Buttercream Icing

   1/2 cup butter

   2 cups icing sugar

   Few drops of water

   Few drops of vanilla essence

   Gel-based food colouring of your choice

For the Fondant Cut-outs

Fondant (readymade fondant is available in most supermarkets and specialist baking stores)

Method:

   Preheat the oven to 400 degree F. Line the muffin tin with colourful liners.

   Add 3 tbsp flour to the chocolate chips and mix until they are coated with flour.

   In a large bowl add the first five ingredients and combine well.

   Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and whisk together. To this add the chocolate chip and flour mixture.

   Using a large ice cream scoop divide the batter into the muffin tray and bake for 15-18 minutes till they are well risen and a fork comes clean. Allow them to cool.

   Mix together the ingredients for the icing and spread over the cupcakes.

   Mix the gel colour with the ready-made fondant and roll out on a clean surface. Cut them out into easy Diwali-based shapes like diyas and rockets. Allow them to set. You can prepare the cut outs a day advance.

   Place the cut outs on top of the buttercream and your Diwali cupcakes are ready!

 

Rajeswari is a Singapore-based home cook who loves cooking, food photography and has been consistently blogging at Rakskitchen.net for the past eight years. Her Diwali specialty is an old family favourite!

 

Badam Halwa

Ingredients

   Badam 1/2 cup heaped

   Sugar 1/2 cup heaped

   Ghee 1/4 cup

   Condensed milk (optional) - 3 tbsp

   Saffron or yellow food colour - 1 pinch

   Cardamom - 1 (powdered)

Method

   Soak badam for 3-4 hours in enough water. Peel the skin and grind it with 1/4 cup milk or water to a really smooth paste.

   Take a heavy bottom pan or non stick pan (preferably deep pan to avoid splattering). Add sugar and 1/2 cup water and bring to boil and wait until the sugar dissolves. Turn the stove to medium. Add the ground paste and mix well to avoid lumps.

   Add condensed milk, saffron soaked in lukewarm milk or food colour and cardamom. Keep stirring for 4 minutes.

   Add a tsp ghee in regular intervals and keep stirring until the halwa starts leaving the pan. After that very soon say 3 minutes, you will see whitish bubbles start appearing at the bottom where you stir. This is the right stage and pour in a greased plate to let it cool down.

Tips

   While grinding the almonds, after the few seconds of grinding, make sure you wipe off the sides and lids of the mixer to ensure even grinding.

   Add more water while grinding if its needed. I had given only approximate measure.

   Adding condensed milk is purely optional. It enhances the taste, but it takes a while more than usual if you add. Remember to add only a little as it tastes great!

   Adding ghee is very important for halwas. If you are concerned about the ghee, please do not make this dish. Definitely there will be texture wise/ taste-wise compensation if you reduce ghee.

   If your halwa is sticky, then you need to add more ghee and keep stirring for a while again.

   The consistency will be perfect if you do the whole process on a medium flame.

 

Chandana is a talented Kolkata-based home cook who taps into the traditional recipes passed down by her mother, aunt and mother-in-law to create her own and often healthy versions of Diwali specialties.

Gujiyas

Ingredients

For the Wrapper

   Flour - 200 gm

   Oil - 50 gm

   Water - 3/4 cup

For the Filling

   Grated coconut - 200 gm

   Sugar - 150 gm

   Condensed milk - 200 gm

   Almond slivers - 25 gm

   Cashew nuts chopped - 25 gm

   Pista chopped - 25 gm

   Raisins - 25 gm

   Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp

   Ghee - 2 tsp

   Oil - For deep frying

Method

   Mix the flour with oil and water and knead it for ten minutes. Keep it covered for one hour.

   Heat the ghee in a thick-bottomed pan. Add the coconut, sugar and condensed milk. Cook on slow fire stirring continuously.  Add the nuts and raisins and keep cooking till the coconut mixture leaves the side of the pan and there is no moisture.

Sprinkle the cardamom powder and give it a good mix.

   Take it off the heat. Cool it a little. Take small portions and make into cylindrical shapes.

   Knead the dough for two minutes. Make small balls and roll into small discs. Brush the edges with little water. Put the filling in centre and fold it in half. Pinch the edges tightly to seal it. Follow the process and roll out all the gujiyas.

   Heat oil in a deep kadhai or wok. When it becomes hot, cool it a little and fry the gujiyas in small batches on slow fire till they turn light golden. Cool them on layers of tissue paper so that extra oil is soaked up.

   The gujiyas can be stored in air-tight containers for upto a week.

Tips

To make a more a healthy version, you can cook them in an Air Frier. Brush oil on the gujiyas and cook at 180 degree for 12 mins.

 

Neha is a Bangalore-based home chef who specializes in baked products. You can order her western baked products as well as Diwali specialties through www.mealboat.com, an online food portal that showcases home chefs. 

Diya and Rangoli Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

For the Cookies

   All purpose flour - 230 gm

   Baking soda - 1/2 tsp

   Butter - 115 gm

   Salt - 1/4 tsp

   Confectioner’s sugar - 100 gm

   Egg - 1

   Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

For the Royal Icing

   Egg white - 1

   Lemon juice - 1 tsp

   Confectioner’s sugar - 1 & 1/2 cups

Method 

For the Cookies

   In a bowl, mix flour, salt and baking soda.

   Beat butter and sugar till light and fluffy.

   Add egg and vanilla extract and whisk till mixed. Do not over mix other wise the cookies will not keep the shape while baking.

   Add flour and mix to make a soft dough.

   Divide the dough in two equal parts and wrap each part in cling film. Refrigerate for 3-4 hours.

   Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Slightly flour the surface and roll the dough to 1/8 inch in thickness.

   Cut the desired shape from the dough using cookie cutters or handmade templates. Refrigerate the cut cookies for 10 minutes.

   Bake for 9 minutes, till the edges are lightly browned. Cool on a cooling rack.

For the Royal Icing

   In a clean bowl, whisk the egg white and lemon juice for a minute.

   Sift the sugar and add to the egg mixture.Whisk for 2-3 minutes.

   You can add more sugar if the icing looks thin.

   If the icing looks thick, add water drop by drop. This icing starts to harden very soon. So keep it covered when not using.

   Decorate them with Diwali-themed designs.

 

Bangalore-based Sony has a regular 9-5 job but her passion lies in cooking. She devotes her weekends to cooking all kinds of specialties from the Bunt community of Mangalore. She also has a few traditional Diwali specials up her sleeve. Her food can also be ordered via mealboat.com. She has two versions of Diwali laddoos.

Wheat Laddoo

Ingredients

   4 cups wheat flour

   3 cups powdered sugar

   1 and 1/2 cups ghee + 3/4 cup for rolling

   1/4 cup of finely chopped cashewnuts and small raisins fried in ghee 

Method

   Heat a wok, add a little ghee and the wheat flour.

   Fry on a slow flame stirring all the time for 20 minutes.

   You should add the ghee little by little while frying. Have patience while frying otherwise the flour will get burnt.

   When done. Remove from heat and let it cool for five minutes.

   Now add the sugar powder little by little along the fried nuts and raisins. Let it cool for some time.

   Make small round balls adding a little more ghee on and off to the mixture. Allow to rest for 6 hours to harden.

   Store in air-tight containers.

 

Besan Laddoo

Ingredients

   1/2 kg besan

    300 gm powdered sugar

   400 gm ghee

  1/4 cup of finely chopped nuts and raisins

Method

   Heat a wok, add the ghee and the besan on a low flame.

   Fry on a slow flame stirring all the time for 20 minutes, till it turns slightly brown in colour.

   When done. Remove from heat and let it cool for five minutes.

   Now add the sugar powder little by little along the fried nuts and raisins. Let it cool for some time.

   Make small round balls adding a little more ghee on and off to the mixture.

   Allow it to harden for at least 6 hours.

   Store in air-tight containers.

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