Diwali recipes: Paan Petha, Kaju Katli and more
We recently invited you, our readers, to share those lip-smacking festive recipes with us. Readers sent us these:
Tanu Rawat who hails from Agra but is currently in Stockholm, Sweden, gets nostalgic about the city of the Taj Mahal and sends us this recipe of Paan Petha
Agra is the place where I have spent my most favourite time of the year -- my summer vacations. This is the city where my grandparents used to live and where my parents grew up and got married.
They shifted to Rajasthan because of work constraints but we always found our selves well connected to this city in fact in love with this city.
Then I got a chance to graduate from here, which was the golden time I had in my whole education life.
These four years not only moulded me to become a logical and analytical person but also got a chance to develop my taste buds.
I wouldn't miss any opportunity to revisit its famous eating joints like chaat at Saudagar line Sadar, Bhagat Halwai, Panchi Petha Store, Deviram's etc.
What I miss however is a typical yet exotic sweet from there -- Paan Petha!
I can hardly find this sweet in other parts of India or abroad.
So here is the nostalgic recipe, which I got from authentic Halwais (sweet makers) in Agra and picture courtesy Panchhi Petha Store.
Paan Petha is thin Petha slice with Pistachio Sandesh.
So for filling we need to make Bengali sweet Sandesh with fresh chenna.
Ingredients for Sandesh:
- 1 1/4 cups chenna
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons pistachios, finely chopped
- a few saffron strands
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom (elaichi) powder
- Knead the chenna till it is as smooth as possible.
- Add the sugar to it.
- Put this mixture into a shallow vessel stirring constantly over low heat and avoid over heating as if it does over heat, it will become grainy and fat will separate.
- The mixture will first turn liquidy and then start thickening.
- When the mixture becomes a creamy thick paste/very soft dough consistency then stir in cardamom powder, saffron strands and pistachios.
For wrapping it up:
- 1 kg of Ash Gourd / White Pumpkin
- A small peice of Alum
- 700 gms 3 1/2 cups of Sugar
- Water for boiling gourd
- Cloves for garnishing
- Peel the pumpkin and remove the seeds and soft fibres.
- Cut it into 4'x4', thick slices.
- Prick well with a fork, all over.
- Soak these slices in water with small alum (fitkari) pieces it for 2 hours.
- Then rinse the slices with fresh water thoroughly.
- Now boil the water and cook the ash gourd slices with lid for 4-5 mins or till it changes its colour to transparent.
- Don't let it cook completely. Drain the water now.
- Take another paan with sugar and add slices in to it.
- Keep it aside for half an hour.
- Slices will leave water and get mixed with sugar. So there will be enough of water for making sugar syrup out of it.
- Heat this paan on low heat and let the sugar dissolve completely and cook slices on medium heat afterwards.
- Remove it from syrup before getting dry.
- Now it is ready for wrapping the sandesh filling.
- Now divide the filling into equal parts and shape each portion into even sized balls.
- Place one portion of the filling on a petha slice.
- Fold it along the sides to form a triangle and stud it with a clove.
- To slice the petha, use a sharp wafer slicer.
- Always use cow's milk for making chenna as it has a low fat content.
Image: Paan Petha
From Al Ahasa, Saudi Arabia, Sridharan shares this recipe for Mysore Pak
- 1 cup bengal gram flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 cups ghee
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- Sieve the bengal gram flour (besan).
- Roast it on a hot griddle/ tava for 2-3 minutes stirring constantly. Set aside.
- Heat half the ghee (clarified butter) (1 1/4 cup) in a pan.
- Put the sugar in another pan or Kadai and add 1 cup of water to it.
- Cook till it becomes sticky syrup. Please note it should not become stringy and too much watery.
- Add the roasted flour to the sugar syrup stirring constantly. Take off the flame for a second while you get the melted ghee ready.
- Pour the ghee in a steady stream into the flour and sugar mixture while stirring.
- Add the rest of the ghee and stir in. Cook till the mixture turns light brown and becomes porous and spongy like bread. Keep the gas stove to medium fire.
- Sprinkle the cardamom powder over the mixture and turn out immediately into a 9" thin cake pan or a thali.
- The mixture will sets within five to six minutes.
- With a sharp knife cut into 1 1/2 inch squares immediately.
Ashwini Deshpande shares with us this recipe for Kaju Katli
- Frying pan
- 1 plate greased with ghee
- 1 flat plate or any flat surface greased.
- 1 wooden spatula
- A sharp knife / pizza cutter
- 1 cup cashews ground into a fine powder.
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)
- Few strands of saffron (optional)
- In the frying pan bring the water to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to medium add the cardamom, saffron, sugar. Mix well with a wooden spatula.
- When sugar dissolves add the cashew powder and mix well to avoid lumps. Keep stirring the mixture till it starts leaving the sides of the pan and begins to thicken. At this stage switch off the flame, remove the content in a greased plate and let it cool for 4-5 mins.
- When this mixture turn warm enough to be handled, with grease your hand and knead it well till it forms a smooth shinny ball. Roll this ball with a rolling pin on a flat surface. Shape the edges of this rolled circle to form a square so that you don't have any shapeless pieces .
- With a pizza cutter/knife form the diamonds. Let them lay there for 5 mins. Separate these diamonds a store them in an airtight container-I prefer a nice big size one and avoid stacking them one above another. Anyways, they are all gone in couple of hours.
- You may use silver leaf to decorate being cutting them in diamond shapes.
- Use of cardamom and saffron is purely optional. You could also add few drops of rose water or rose essence.
Image: Kaju Katli
Sweet Athirasam and more
Prema Narayanan shared with us these recipes that were handed down to her from her great-great grandmother for
- 2 Cups Rice Flour
- 1½ Cups Jaggary Powdered
- 1 Tsp Cardman Powder
- Cooking oil for frying
- ½ Tsp Dried Ginger powder
- In a saucepan put one cup of water and boil it in medium heat.
- Add jaggery powder to make jaggery syrup. When the syrup thickens into tomato texture
- Add cardamom and dry ginger powder and turn off heat.
- Add rice flour into the syrup and stir well.
- Keep aside for one day.
- Next day knead the rice jaggery mixture into dough by sprinkling little water if needed.
- Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat.
- Make small balls of size of lemon with the dough and flatten each ball with your palm in a plastic sheet.
- Deep fry the athirasam till brown.
- You can keep crispy athirasams for many days and also freeze the dough if you make in large quantity, which can be used later.
Salty Omapodi (ajwain sev):
- 2 Cups Besan (Gram flour)
- 1 Cup Rice flour
- 2 Tbs Butter
- 2 Tsp ajwain powder
- ½ Tsp asafoetida powder
- Salt to taste
- Oil for frying
- In a bowl mix besan, rice flour, salt, ajwain powder, butter, asafortida powder and two tbs heated oil and make a dough by adding water.
- Knead the ingredients well.
- Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
- Put the dough in a sev machine and press it over heated oil in a round circle in strings of sev.
- Turn it in both sides till golden colour and crisp. Strain it in a paper towel in a strainer.
- Fifteen circles of omapodi can be made.
After taking a lot of sweet and savouries on the Diwali day a small quantity of Oma lahyam is taken to help digestion.
- Roast the ajwain dry and powder it. Mix this ajwain powder in jaggery syrup and add little ghee for flavour.
- The mixture should be in halwa consistency.
The above recipes are handed over generation after generation. These traditional recipes are very tasty and delicious and easily digestible.