Diwali Delicacies

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As part of our Diwali traditions, it is customary to prepare sweetmeats and rich Indian vegetarian food to share with family members, friends and general public. At this time, it is believed that you will be richly blessed if you partake in this sanctified nourishing food (Maha Bhog). Here is a Diwali guide for scrumptious delicacies for you to indulge in!   ENJOY!!

THE RASMALAI BALLS

  • 1 liter whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon corn flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar

For The Ras [Syrup] 

  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 5-6 green cardamom pods, peeled and crushed to get the powder
  • saffron, a pinch
  • 3-4 tablespoons sugar
  • Finely chopped pistachios

Instructions for Rasmalai Balls

Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan. Once it comes to a boil, switch off the flame and add 1/2 cup of water to bring the temperature of the milk down a bit.

Wait for 5-10 minutes and then start adding lemon juice until the milk curdles.

Add lemon juice until the milk curdles completely.

Using a strainer, drain the water and collect the chena.

Rinse it under tap water so that there’s no trace of lemon juice in it.

Leave it in the strainer for 10-15 minutes and then take the chena in your hand and squeeze out remaining water slowly.

Add corn flour and start mashing the chena until it’s smooth.

Set the clock to 10 minutes and mash constantly for 10 minutes using your palm. Once it’s smooth, make small balls out of it.

Heat 1 cup sugar and 4 cups water in a wide pan and wait until it comes to a full boil.

Drop the balls in boiling sugar syrup and cook for 15-17 minutes. The balls will double in size by then.

Take out the balls from the syrup and drop them in fresh water. If they sink to the bottom, the balls are done.

Thickened Milk

In a heavy bottom pan, boil 500 ml of milk.

Soak few strands of saffron in a tablespoon of warm milk and set aside.

Once the milk comes to a boil, lower the flame and continue to stir the milk at regular intervals. After 10 minutes add sugar and mix.

After 20-25 minutes the milk will thicken to desired consistency, add soaked saffron and crushed cardamom.

Also, add finely chopped pistachios [if using]. Mix and switch off the flame.

Take out the cooled rasmalai balls from the sugar syrup, squeeze and flatten with your hands.

Transfer the balls to thickened milk [milk should be warm].

Chill in the refrigerator overnight or for 5-6 hours. Garnish with chopped pistachios and few saffron strands before serving.

PALAK PANEER

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Spinach (Bhaji)
  • 2 lbs Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
  • 3 tbsps Oil / Ghee
  • 1 ½ tsps Ginger
  • 2 tsps Garam Masala
  • Salt to taste

 

Method

1) Boil spinach until soft enough to mash.

2) Fry mashed spinach lightly in oil with ginger and add water.

3) Cut paneer into cubes and add to spinach along with the Garam Masala.

4) Leave to boil until paneer absorbs flavour of the mixture.

 

Recommended: Serve hot with parathas or biryani rice for best combination of flavours

Dhal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  • 2 tablespoon whole Geerah
  • 12 cloves of chopped garlic.
  • 5 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground geerah
  • 1 hot wiri wiri pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable or canola oil

Method

  1. Soak split peas overnight. Discard water then boil split peas with 4 cups water over a medium fire until peas are tender.
  2. In a medium pressure pot add oil and garlic then let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Take out half of that portion and leave aside, then add cumin, curry powder, geerah, pepper and salt. Pressure for about 10 minutes.
  3. After that, add remaining garlic in hot oil to the Dhal, stir; cook for an additional 10 minutes then swizzle it up so that everything mixes well together.

DHAL PURI

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Dhal (Split peas) soaked overnight
  • 6 (six) cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp geera (ground cumin)
  • 4 (four) tsp baking powder
  • 3 (three) wiri-wiri pepper
  • 4 (flour) cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • One (1) tbsp. oil.
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (add more if needed)
  • Ghee, Vegetable or canola oil.

Preparation for Dhal filling

Drain water from peas that was soaked overnight, rinse peas a few times thoroughly until water runs clean. Transfer peas to a pot along with water to cover the peas and bring to a high heat. When peas come to a boil, add salt to taste and cook until peas are soft.

Drain thoroughly and spread out on a large baking sheet to air dry.

Traditionally, the use of a mill to grind peas was the best way but, in keeping with the modern era, a food processor may be used. As the peas is processing or grinding, at regular intervals, add the cloves of garlic and pepper so it minces and mixes well with the peas, which adds that extra flavor. Continue until the mixture is very loose and fine. The mix should be very fluffy and dry.

Transfer into a bowl; add geera into the bowl and mix.

Flour Dough

Using an appropriate size of bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt and mix thoroughly.

Add room temperature water and knead then leave to soak in the oil for about 30-40 minutes.

Cook

After about 30-45 minutes, knead the dough again for about 2 minutes then cut into 10-12 equal pieces.

Taking one piece of dough at a time, pat each piece into a circle about 4 inches wide. Place dough in one hand and make a funnel. Using a tablespoon, add sufficient filling to dough (do not over stuff). Pinch the ends of the dough together to seal in the filling.

Place the stuffed dough, seam-side down on oiled surfaced pan or as our ancestors would call it the “Tawaa”. Place each dough ball with a little oil to prevent it from sticking. After stuffing, leave the filled dough to rest for 15-20 minutes.

Place tawa on medium heat.

Sprinkle flour on the work surface and rolling pin. Take one of the stuffed dough and flatten with your hand; working from the center, start rolling the dough back and forth, rotating it out until its round and thin.

Transfer the roller dough to the tawa. Let cook until parts of the dough start to rise with little bubbles; Immediately flip the dough (Dhal puri), evenly brush with a glaze of canola oil, ghee or even vegetable oil, let that cook for 8-10 seconds then repeat process with brush and oil after which the puri should be cooked evenly, lastly, remove from tawa with a thick knife or spatula and place in an open dish with tissue to absorb oil.

Repeat two previous points to finish cooking the Scrumptious Dhal Puri.

 

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