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Palate pleasers

Here’s another chance to prove that Deepavali is never complete without sweets and savouries.

Published: 10th November 2020 05:02 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th November 2020 05:02 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Here’s another chance to prove that Deepavali is never complete without sweets and savouries. From healthy alternatives like alsi di pinni and aralu hittina to the all-time-favourite milk powder barfi, Vaishali Vijaykumar gathers recipes from homechefs who have their roots in different parts of the country

Chorafali by Manisha Kumbhat

Ingredients 
Besan (gram flour): one cup, Urad flour: 1/3rd cup, Baking soda: 1/8 tsp, Oil: 1 tbsp, Extra oil for deep frying, Water: 1/4 cup, Red chilli powder: 2 tsp, Black salt: 1 tsp, Aamchur powder: 2 tsp

Method

  1. Take ¼ cup of warm water in a pan; add a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon oil. Heat it for 1-2 minutes till it turns lukewarm. 
  2. Sift the urad and gram flours. Combine them with the baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Pour the lukewarm water little by little and knead well.
  3. Continue kneading till the dough becomes stiff. Cover with a muslin cloth and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Portion the dough into smaller chunks. Grease a clean working surface and place the chunks. Moisten them with a few drops of oil and smash gently with a pestle. Fold and repeat. This is to be done until the dough softens a bit and the colour lightens. To prevent the dough from drying, keep it covered.
  5. Roll the pounded dough into a small ball. Grease and roll it out into a thin circle on a rolling board.
  6. Do not use flour to roll it out. If required, add a few drops of oil. The rolled out circle should be thin. Repeat this process for the remaining smaller chunks.
  7. From the rolled out circle, make 2-inch wide strips using a knife. Cut them in half.
  8. To prepare the seasoning, mix black salt, red chilli powder and aamchur powder in a small bowl.
  9. Heat oil in a kadai. When it is medium hot, fry 2-3 strips at a time until light brown and crispy. The pieces should fluff up in a few seconds.
  10. Use a slotted spoon to extract the finished pieces and drain excess oil. Place them on a plate and season with spice mix.

Nolen gurer rosogolla by Madhurima Chowdhury

Ingredients
Full-fat milk/ whole milk: 2 litre, Sugar: 1 cup, Nolen gur (date palm jaggery): 2 cups, Lemon/lime juice: 5-6 tbsp, Water: 6-8 cups

Method

  1. In a thick-bottomed pot, bring the milk to boil. When it starts to boil, add the lime/lemon juice, gradually. Switch the flame off and keep stirring. The whey will form a separate layer. 
  2. Strain this in a cheesecloth and wash it with fresh, cold water. This is chenna or Indian cottage cheese. Tie and hang this cloth with chenna for the excess water to drain off, for 30 minutes.
  3. Once done, spread the chenna on a flat surface, break the lumps and knead — using your palm — to form a smooth dough. Make lime-sized balls out of this dough. Keep it covered. 
  4. Set the same or another wide pot with gur, sugar and water to boil. When this syrup starts to bubble, on high flame, drop the chenna balls in. Let it cook for 15 minutes. Do not stir.
  5. Lower the flame to medium-low and cook, covered, for another 30 minutes.
  6. Once done, turn the flame off and let the rasgullas sit in this sugar-jaggery syrup for 3-4 hours. Thereafter, remove and store.
  7. Serve your delicious nolen gurer rosogolla (rasgulla) chilled or at room temperature.

Notes
Be sure to use a wide pan for cooking the chenna balls. Do not crowd the pan with the balls, use two cooking pots if needed.
Do not make very big balls as they swell up to double their size when cooking.

Aralu hittina unde by Meena H 

Ingredients
Aralu hittu (popped sorghum powder): 3 cups, Black sesame seeds: 1/4 cup, Ghee: 3 tbsp, Cashew nuts (halved): 1/2 cup, Green cardamom powder: 1/4 tsp, Water: 1/4 cup, Jaggery: 2 cup

Method

  1. Heat a pan on medium-low flame. Add black sesame seeds. Dry-roast for 4-5 minutes. Keep aside.
  2. In the same pan, add 1 teaspoon ghee. Add cashew nut halves to the ghee. Fry cashew nut until they turn golden brown. Keep it aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add popped sorghum powder, dry roasted black sesame seeds, fried cashew nut halves, green cardamom powder and the remaining ghee. Mix well and keep aside.
  4. Heat a thick-bottomed pan on medium-low flame. Add water.
  5. Add jaggery. Mix well until jaggery dissolves completely.
  6. Increase the flame to medium and bring the jaggery syrup to a boil while stirring continuously.
  7. When the jaggery syrup begins to boil, drop some syrup in a bowl of water. If it doesn’t dissolve immediately then the syrup is ready to make laddoos. Turn off the heat.
  8. Add the aralu hittu mixture to the jaggery syrup. The mixture should be coated well with the syrup.
  9. Grease your palms with ghee, take a fistful of mixture and make laddoos while the mixture is still warm. 
  10. Store in an airtight container.

Notes
In case the mixture turns cold while still making the laddoos, try warming it on low flame to see if the binding process improves. Adding a little milk/fresh cream and mixing well also helps. But, the laddoos need to be consumed the same day/refrigerated for a little longer shelf life.

Milk powder barfi by Vidya Srinivasan

Ingredients
Milk powder: 1 cup, Melted ghee: 1/2 cup, Powdered sugar/icing sugar, as per taste: 1/2 cup, Cardamom powder: 1/4 tsp, Nuts of your choice, Salt: a pinch 
 

Method

  1. Place parchment paper on a tray or plate. Grease the paper with little ghee.
  2. Take 1 cup of milk powder in a wide mixing bowl.
  3. Add 1/4 cup of melted ghee and 1/4 tsp of cardamom powder.
  4. Mix well and make sure the ghee is well blended with the milk powder and the mixture is lump-free.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of melted ghee and mix well. If the melted ghee is warm, wait till the mixture is completely cool.
  6. Then, add 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and mix well.
  7. Transfer the content into the tray and level it.
  8. Sprinkle nuts of your choice and refrigerate the milk barfi for at least one hour.
  9. Grease the knife with little ghee and cut the barfi.

Alsi di pinni by Rakhi Mahey

Ingredients
Alsi (Flaxseed): 150 g, Wheat flour: 500 g, Oil: 400 g, Sugar: 350 g, Almond: 100 g, Cashew: 100 g, Pistachio: 1 tbsp, Raisin: 1 tbsp

Method

  1. Dry-roast alsi and aata separately and keep it aside.
  2. Saute the dry fruits in one tablespoon olive oil. Keep it aside. 
  3. After it cools down, grind the alsi coarsely and set it aside.
  4. Now in the same vessel, add sugar and 1/3 rd quantity of water and cook until it reaches a single string consistency.
  5. Then, add alsi, aata and sautéed dry fruits to the syrup and mix well until it all comes together and forms a dough.
  6. When it cools down a bit, shape them into a semi-circular form by pressing them using all fingers against the palm, thereby making a fist.
  7. Garnish with sautéed whole almonds and your alsi di pinni is ready to serve.

Notes
Although, traditionally, this is made using desi ghee and jaggery with equal amounts of aata and alsi; the recipe has been modified to suit Chennai’s weather conditions as pinni is actually a winter dessert.
These can be stored in airtight containers under refrigeration for up to 7 to 10 days.
The sugar quantity can be reduced further or increased as per preferred. 

Dates & poppy seed laddoo by Anushruti 

Ingredients
Dates (deseeded): 500 g (3 cups), White poppy seeds: 4 tbsp, Dry coconut, grated fine or desiccated coconut: 200 g (2 cups), Almonds, chopped: 150 g (3/4 cup), Nutmeg, grated: 1/4, Cardamom pods, crushed: 6 to 8, Ghee (for a vegan option use coconut oil): 1 tsp, Jaggery: 220 g (3/4 cup)

Method

  1. If the dates are not deseeded, deseed the dates and chop them finely.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed wok or kadai, roast the poppy seeds for a few seconds or until they are aromatic and change colour a little. Ensure they don’t turn black.
  3. In the wok or kadai, dry roast the coconut for a few minutes on low heat until the coconut changes to a golden brown shade.
  4. Take the coconut out of the wok and add the chopped almonds and roast until the almonds change colour, about 3 to 4 minutes. Keep aside.
  5. Grate the nutmeg and powder the cardamom seeds. Keep aside.
  6. In the same wok or kadai, add ghee, and after it melts, put the jaggery. On low heat, stir until the jaggery melts. Do not allow the jaggery to boil. Turn off the heat.
  7. After the jaggery cools down a bit, add all the ingredients to it — dates, poppy seeds, dry or desiccated coconut, almonds, nutmeg and cardamom.
  8. Make round balls by taking a little mixture and pressing it inside your palm.
  9. Makes 35 to 40 laddoos.

Beetroot banana uniappam by Aalekhya Vasantavada

Ingredients
Beetroot: 1, Rice flour: 1/2 cup, Banana ripe: 1 large, Jaggery: 50 g, Milk: 1/3 cup, Cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp, Baking soda: one pinch, Grated coconut: 1/2 tbsp

Method

  1. Boil one small beetroot.
  2. Blend rice flour, banana, boiled beetroot, jaggery melted in 1/3 cup milk or water, cardamom powder and baking soda.
  3. Add two tablespoons grated coconut into it.
  4. Coat the paniyaram griddle cavities with ghee, pour in the batter till 3/4th capacity. Cook and flip with a skewer till done (around 2.5 minutes on each side).

Gulgula by Pranav Iyer

Ingredients
Jaggery: 1/2 cup, Water: 1/3 cup, Wheat flour: 1 cup, Fennel: 1 tsp, Cardamom powder: 1 tsp, Baking soda: 1/2 tsp, Salt: 1/4 tsp

Method

  1. Dissolve 1/2 cup jaggery in 1/3 cup water.
  2. Add in one cup wheat flour (atta), 1 teaspoon fennel (saunf), 1 teaspoon cardamom powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well to form a thick batter.
  3. Set aside for 20 minutes and roll into small balls.
  4. Deep-fry them in oil till the outside is dark brown and crispy or alternatively, shallow fry.

Pootharekulu jaggery with dry fruits by Sowjanya Dhanala 

Ingredients
Jaggery: 1/2 cup, Water: 1/3 cup, Wheat flour: 1 cup, Fennel: 1 tsp, Cardamom powder: 1 tsp, Baking soda: 1/2 tsp, Salt: 1/4 tsp

Method

  1. Dissolve 1/2 cup jaggery in 1/3 cup water.
  2. Add in one cup wheat flour (atta), 1 teaspoon fennel (saunf), 1 teaspoon cardamom powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well to form a thick batter.
  3. Set aside for 20 minutes and roll into small balls.
  4. Deep-fry them in oil till the outside is dark brown and crispy or alternatively, shallow fry.

Pootharekulu jaggery with dry fruits by Sowjanya Dhanala 

Ingredients: 
Cardamom powder: 1 tsp (fine powder), Cashews: 150 g, Dry fruits: Almonds, pistachios (finely sliced), Ghee: 150 g, For rice sheets: Heavy gluten rice or boiled rice: 250 g, Water: 500 ml

Method

  1. Soak the rice for 4-5 hours and make a smooth batter by grinding it with the desired quantity of water.
  2. To make the edible rice paper sheet, make a medium-sized pit on the ground with a proper provision to keep a few dry wooden sticks or leaves to generate heat. 
  3. Once the pit is ready, invert a clay pot and place it in the pit. Grease the flat surface of the pot. This is where the rice sheets will be made.
  4. Once the pot is hot enough, we can start making the rice sheets. Dip a cotton cloth into the batter and evenly spread over the hot clay pot in a single quick shot. 
  5. Take the sheet off the pot as soon as it is cooked.

For pootharekulu chuttalu
Dry-roast nuts in a heavy-bottom pan on a low to medium heat.
Sauté the nuts until light golden colour; allow them to cool. Grind them into coarse powder or cut them into fine slices.
Grate jaggery. Take sliced or grounded nuts separately in a bowl and melt ghee.
Take two-three layers of pootharekulu and place them on a flat surface. Apply some ghee on it. 
Add nuts, jaggery and start folding it gently. Ensure that it is folded evenly and store them in airtight containers.



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