Food is a big part of the equation during Diwali, without doubt. After all what’s Diwali without some Diwali goodies. Why not make some amazing mithai at home this year. Try these tried and tested (and absolutely delicious) options. And trust me anything you make at home, even if it is loaded with sugar calories is bound to be healthier than something you pick up from the sweet shops.
Bengali Chena Poda
Grease a 20-cm (8-inch ) round or square ovenproof baking pan or dish.
Knead 1 cup soft cottage cheese (chena) until very soft, add 1 tbsp sooji (semolina), 1/4th cup sugar, 1 tbsp milk. 1 tsp ghee, few raisins, and chopped cashews, and pinch of ground cardamom (elaichi). Mix well with hands.
Pour the mixture into a greased baking pan and bake in the preheated oven (200 degrees C) for about 45 minutes until the top turns light brown. Let it cool, then cut into squares and dig in.
Fry 50 gm musk melon seeds in 2 tbsp ghee till they turn golden, add 50 gm jaggery and stir continuously to ensure that the seeds stick to one another (few minutes). Let the mixture cool and then shape into small, uneven balls.
Cook 1 litre milk, 2 tsp sooji (semolina) and 2 cups sugar in a kadhai. Keep on stirring until it becomes thick. Now add 1/2 cup ghee and stir it till it becomes non-sticky. Pour in a large plate, let it cool a bit and cut into diamonds.
Bring 1 litre milk to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pan and then simmer on low heat. Meanwhile grind 4 tbsp rice (soaked) with just enough water to a smooth paste. Add to it a little bit of hot milk and mix in the heating milk. Continue to cook for 15 minutes till milk is thickened and smooth.
Add 1/2 cup sugar (or according to taste) and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat, pour into serving bowls, garnish with sliced nuts, and let it set in the fridge.
Heat 250 gm sugar and 250 gm water and bring to a boil, then simmer on medium till sugar dissolves. Boil, till syrup has a one-thread consistency. (Take a drop between thumb and finger. As you part them the syrup-thread shouldn’t break). Add 500 gm cashew powder and stir hard till moisture is completely absorbed and it resembles pliable dough.
Transfer to a greased tray and roll out or pat to a one-third inch thickness. Sprinkle pista on top. When cool, cut with a sharp knife in diamond shapes.
(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), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)