Sweets from across India to try at home this festive season

Kesar Peda | Shutterstock images

The festive season is here, and the entire country is geared to celebrate with pomp and enthusiasm.
Allow us to take the festivities a notch higher.

Presenting some easy to make recipes of sweet dishes from across India to enjoy this festive season.

Kesar Peda
Diwali is incomplete for many without a platter of Kesar Peda. An extremely easy to prepare sweet dish, the Kesar Peda is an all-time favourite and loved by all!

1 Cup Milk Powder + 2 Tsp extra
1 Cup Condensed Milk
1/2 Tsp of Cardamom powder
2 Tsp of Ghee
A good pinch of Kesar (Saffron) dissolved in 2 Tsp of Warm Milk

Heat ghee in a pan.
Add the condensed milk and milk powder to it and stir continuously on a medium flame. Break the lumps as you stir; otherwise, the peda might not have the desired smooth finish.
Once the mixture starts forming, add the saffron-infused milk and cardamom powder. The mixture will loosen again, but with another few minutes on the flame, it will come together with constant stirring.
Check if the mixture is sticky on the top by pinching it into a small ball. If it is, then stir for another 2 minutes until the mixture is not sticky anymore.
Remove the pan from the flame and pour the mixture onto a greased plate and allow it to cool down a bit.
Grease your palm with ghee, pinch a small portion from the mixture and roll it into aPeda shape.
With the middle of your thumb, give a slight indentation in the middle of the peda, garnish with slivered almonds, pistachio and saffron.

Shutterstock images

Doodhi Halwa
Another quick recipe to try at home is the Doodhi Barfi, made from bottle gourd!
2 Cups of peeled, seeded and grated bottle gourd or doodhi
¼ Cup of milk
100gm mawa or milk solids
½ Cup sugar
1tsp Cardamom powder
1tsp Nutmeg powder
2tbsp chopped almonds and pistachios
A pinch of saffron
1tsp ghee

Line a tray with ghee, or one can also use butter paper to line the tray.
Take a pan, add the grated doodhi and milk. Bring it to a boil and keep stirring it until the milk thickens.
Once the milk thickens, add the mawa, sugar and saffron. Mix well and keep stirring until the mixture becomes like a dough. Make sure that the dough doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add a tsp of ghee and the cardamom and nutmeg powder. Mix well, and then take it out and spread it onto the greased tray.
Flatten out the mix on the tray and sprinkle some chopped pistachios and almonds on it. Let the barfi mixture cool down.
Once at room temperature cut the barfi mixture into squares. Keep them in the refrigerator and let them cool for 1-2 hours.

A Goan delight, the Alebele is a crepe made of coconut milk stuffed with jaggery or sugarcane molasses and coconut bits or flakes.

1 Cup Maida
¼ tsp baking powder
A pinch of Salt
1 Egg
2tbsp melted butter
1 cup coconut milk
Few drops of Vanilla essence
Food colouring (optional)
Vegetable oil
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup jaggery or sugar cane molasses

Add the dry ingredients – maida, salt and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
Nest, add the egg, melted butter, coconut milk and vanilla essence to the dry ingredients and mix together.
Food colour may be added to the mixture at this stage if required.
Take another bowl, add the molasses/jaggery and the coconut flakes together, mix well for the filling.
Heat a pan, and with the help of a spoon, pour some of the mixture on the pan, spread it around the pan to achieve a thin round layer like a dosa.
Cover the pan and allow the crepe to cook for 1-2 minutes.
Cook one side only and take it off the heat.
Place the crepe on a surface, add a tablespoon of the filling on one side of the crepe, and then roll up the crepe and serve.

Shutterstock images

Caramel Bhapa Doi
Bhapa Doi or steamed yoghurt is a traditional sweet dish from Bengal relished during the festive season and is a relatively simple recipe to make at home.

1 Cup Milk
1 cup thick yoghurt/Dahi
400g condensed milk
¼ cup caramel
Chopped almonds or pistachios for garnish

Strain all the liquid from the yoghurt before starting with the recipe.
Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix well.
Pour the mixture out into greased moulds (any heatproof moulds will do). Cover them with foil.
Put the moulds into a steamer and steam for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the size of the mould).
Remove from the steamer and check with a knife to see if it is cooked
Once cooked, let it cool down, and then refrigerate it until completely set.
Garnish with your choice of chopped nuts and serve chilled.
Rava Laddu
Another popular and easy to make, the Rava Laddu, a traditional sweet dish, is made from semolina (sooji), milk, and sugar.
1.5 Cup of Semolina (sooji)
¾ Cup granulated sugar
¾ Cup grated coconut
8tbsp + extra 2 tsp of ghee
2 tsp cardamom powder
6 tsp of milk + 1tsp extra for garnish
A pinch of saffron
4-5 chopped pistachios

Add a pinch of saffron to 1 tsp of milk and let the saffron impart its colour to the milk.
Heat 1 tsp ghee in a kadhai, add the sooji to the melted ghee and roast it well until the sooji becomes slightly brown.
Add the sugar and mix well.
Take out the sooji and sugar mixture onto a tray/plate and let it cool down to room temperature.
In the same kadhai, add a tsp of ghee and the grated coconut. Roast the coconut for a couple of minutes while making sure that it does not brown.
Grind the sooji-sugar mixture coarsely and mix it with the roasted coconut.
Add the powdered cardamom and mix well.
Then add 8 tbsp of melted ghee to the above mixture and mix well.
Sprinkle milk, little by little, so that the mixture becomes moist and then divide into equal portions. Make the laddus by pressing the mixture tightly between your palm and then shape them into small balls as you do so.
Once all your laddus are prepared, dab a little bit of the saffron soaked milk on the laddu.
Sprinkle some crushed pistachios on top.
We hope you liked the recipes given above. All of them are pretty easy to make.
So, do try your hand at preparing these delicious sweets at home this festive season instead of buying them from the market!

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