Growing up I remember how much I’d look forward to the platefuls of home-made delicacies (covered with embroidered cloth and pretty laces) that would come over from family friends’ houses during Diwali time.
We’d get to eat Modak from Orissa, Puran poli or Narali bhat from Maharashtra, mishti doi or rosgullas from Kolkata and much more. My mum would send back kheer or sufi halwa laden with dry fruits that always drew ooh’s and aah’s from everyone. I still remember those days, that taste, and the anticipation that kept us children happy and excited all through the festive season.
Now, packed dabbas from the halwai's come in lieu of Diwali wishes - and mostly everyone sticks to the tried and tested things (laddoo’s pinni’s, patisa’s…). Another popular option is imported chocolates and cookies. Most get passed on; after all how many rasgullas or ladoos can one eat.
Why not delight your friends with some home made happiness this Diwali?
Here are six easy, healthy options for your to try:
This sweet gels with everyone and is absolutely delicious.
Way to go: Ingredients - 1 1/2 cup almonds, 2 cups milk, 500 gms., sugar, 1 tsp., powdered cardamom, 4 tbsp ghee.
Soak almonds for 4-5 hours in a cup full of warm water. When soft remove the skin and grind them to a paste. Then mix the paste with milk and sugar and cook in a pan on medium heat. Stir constantly till sugar melts and the mixture boils. Add ghee and cook till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Add cardamom powder and pour the mixture into a greased plate and flatten it out with the help of a spoon or knife. Cool and cut into strips.
The Traditional Mithai
Besan Ke Laddoo
Homemade somehow always tastes the best!
Way to go: Ingredients - 1/2 kg besan (Gram Flour), 750gm sugar,1/2 kg ghee, 50 gm pistachio, 50 gm almond,1 strip silver waraque
Roast the besan in ghee over slow heat till it turns light golden in colour. Now add sugar to it and cook for half a minute more. Keep aside, add crushed dry fruits and mix. Make round balls while the mixture is still warm. Add waraque (silver foil) to give it a special touch. Store in an airtight container when cool.
These spicy crunchy spirals are sure to delight your taste buds.
Way to go: Ingredients - 2 cups rice flour, ½ cup moong dal (green gram) paste, 2 tsp oil, ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ½ tsp ajwain (carom Seeds) or cumin seeds, 1 tsp red chilli powder (optional), salt to taste, oil for frying, water as required.
Cook the moong dal to a paste-like consistency.
In a big bowl add rice flour, the moong dal paste, turmeric, salt, chilli powder, carom seeds or cumin seeds. Mix lightly. Heat oil and add the sizzling hot oil to the rice flour mix. Add water as needed to make a stiff dough. Knead thoroughly with hand, not food processor.
Take lemon size dough and place it in a chakli mould or icing bag with a star nozzle. Heat oil for frying. Test the oil by dropping a small piece of dough and waiting for 3 seconds. If it does not rise to the top then the oil needs to be hotter. Gently make a spiral with the chakli mould or icing bag and deep fry to a golden brown.
Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Make some pongal and send over this super delicious, satisfying, low fat, hot breakfast. Plus it is simple to make.
Way to go : Ingredients- 50gm rice, 30gm moong dal (green gram), 400ml water, a pinch of cumin seeds, few black peppercorns, few curry leaves, half an inch of ginger, few garlic cloves, 5 cashew nuts, 2 tsp ghee.
Dry roast the rice and moong dal. Add the water, cover and cook till done. Meanwhile, make a tadka (tempering) of cumin seeds, black peppercorns, curry leaves, ginger and garlic, with a few cashew nuts, heated for a minute or so in a teaspoon of ghee. Pour over the rice and dal, season to taste and stir in fresh curry leaves.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico) and Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa).)
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