Mathura ke pede (Indian sweet with dry evaporated milk)

Months of May and June are kind of dull in terms of festivals in India. In North India these two months are very hot, so it’s not even healthy to cook rich food. But from July weather starts changing and rain showers bring a lot of relief. Now you are able to tolerate the heat of kitchen when you are frying snacks to accompany your evening tea.

With monsoon, festivals start with a tap on your desi ghee ka dabba!! Indian festivals are incomplete without homemade sweets for prasad, and Indian authentic sweets means desi ghee, full fat milk, rich dry fruits and nuts and lots of frying.

During my childhood days my parents never bothered about calories. Mother used to cook a lot of stuff during these festivals and we used to relish them for 15 days at least. We used to walk a lot (no school van luxury) and in the evening used to play outdoors. With lots of physical activity we had the capacity to digest all rich heavy food and homemade sweets.

Now in our houses our house help lady does all physical labor, and we have salads and low fat milk!! But still during festivals I try to prepare certain dishes and sweets in traditional ways, so that Apoorva will remember the authentic taste of our traditional sweets.

Few days back I was experimenting brownies. Manish and Apoorva both were my tasters. I was packing brownie for Apoorva’s snack box daily and more than her, her classmates were very happy. But after some days Manish got so bored with brownie that he requested to prepare some pure traditional Indian sweet. Then one day my favorite blogger Gayathri Kumar posted ‘Mathura ke Pede’ in her blog Cookspot. That post tempted me so much that I decided to prepare them and give a  surprise to Manish .
You might have tasted different varieties of pedas in all cities, but my personal opinion is, that nothing can beat the taste of mathura ke pede.
Manish and Apoorva gave big thumbs up after trying them and I was extremely delighted.

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To prepare peda we need khoya/mawa. I have used homemade khoya for which there is a separate post in my blog Khoya/Mawa. But we can use market bought khoya as well.

To make peda sweet, instead of using powdered sugar I have used boora/tagaar. Boora is prepared with sugar syrup, and it has very fine granuals which add nice crunch in dry sweets like besan ke ladoo. But now it’s difficult to find good quality boora in the market – instead you will find powdered sugar in  the pack. I was lucky to get good quality, so bought two kgs, and I keep on using it occasionally. But you can as well use homemade powdered sugar.

Always remember that if you are using boora, it will soak the moisture of khoya, so while roasting keep enough moisture in it. Otherwise khoya will be dry and it would be difficult to bind it as peda.

I have used Nandini full fat cow’s milk to prepare khoya.

My mother’s precious tip:
If khoya dries up after adding boora/powdered sugar and you are not able to bind it, don’t panic. Add 1 tbsp hot milk in it, if required slightly more, mix everything together and prepare pedas.

Special note for Gayathri Kumar :
Gayathri, Manish has conveyed thanks to you for inspiring me to prepare them!!

Ingredients :

Khoya/Mawa 200 gm
Powder Sugar/Boora(tagaar) 150 gm (this quantity was slightly more for me, so you can reduce)
Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
Pure ghee 2 tbsp
Milk 4-5 tbsp

Process :

Heat one heavy bottomed pan, add ghee in it, let it melt and add khoya. Adding ghee in the beginning will help khoya not to stick in the pan.

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Keep on roasting khoya till it gets nice brown colour. Don’t let it stick at the bottom of the pan. If khoya is becoming too dry, keep adding 1 tbsp milk to keep its moisture intact as while cooling down khoya becomes slightly dry.IMG_20180709_195514625.jpg

When khoya becomes golden  brown in colour, switch off gas and shift khoya to a separate vessel to cool down.

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Sieve boora or powdered sugar before adding in khoya.

Once khoya is warm enough to touch, add boora or powdered sugar and cardamom powder in it.

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Work little fast here because if khoya cools down completely it will be difficult to bind. Mix everything together and prepare peda in any shape you want.

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If interested, sprinkle or roll them in boora/powdered sugar.

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Surprise your family with this homemade delicious sweet.

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Besan ke ladoo

The moment I listen “besan ke ladoo” immediately my memories go back to Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at my parents’ house. We used to get up at 2 AM and give missed call to our neighbors to wake them up. Except my father, l, my mother, sisters and brother would be ready to go to the very famous Ganesh temple in Jaipur situated at Motidungri. With the families of 5-6 neighbors and friends we used to walk around 5-6 kms to reach the temple. I am not a deeply religious person, but used to wait whole year for this day as it was a lot of fun to walk in a group and meet some other groups on the way as well… And if we would be late to reach the temple, then there would be a very long queue. So to avoid that, we used to reach very early in the temple, and come back by city bus. After reaching home, my mother would start preparation for food and that would be a very traditional rajasthani meal, Panchmel daal, Baati (traditional Rajasthani food),Besan churma,Churma (wheat flour),Gatte ki sabzi  and for prasad, Besan ke Laddu.

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This whole meal has a lot of desi ghee in it, so it was prepared just once a year. For besan ke ladoo, mother used to roast besan and later I used to bind it as laddu.

Manish and Apoorva both relish besan ke ladoo, so I prepare them every year. But somehow this year at Ganesha Chaturthi I couldn’t, so tried to compensate at the occasion of Deepawali..

Ingredients :
Besan :1/2 kg
Powered sugar :1/2 kg(but it is always better if you can get bura sugar)
Desi ghee : as per requirement
Cardamom powder :1/4th tsp

Process:
Take besan and sieve it to avoid all the lumps.

Take a heavy bottomed pan, heat it and add desi ghee and besan. Roast it nicely. While roasting you might feel that more ghee is required and besan is thick to stir.

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But don’t add more ghee because when slowly  besan starts getting roasted, it’s stiffness loosens slowly and stirring becomes very easy. And if in the beginning we will add a lot of ghee to make stirring easy, later besan would be very runny and difficult to bind.

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Now,  how to check whether besan is completely roasted or not? It’s very easy – just taste a little bit – if besan is not sticking to your tongue, it has roasted perfectly!

One more very important thing to take care. When you feel that within 4-5 minutes besan would be completely roasted, switch off gas and transfer besan into a flat broad pan to cool down. Remember that besan is still very hot, so during the process of cooling down, the trapped heat will roast it completely.

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In between sieve powderd sugar or bura .

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When besan is just warm enough to touch comfortably, add bura /powderd sugar. Never add powderd sugar in hot roasted besan otherwise sugar will melt and mix will be very thin and runny and difficult to bind.

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Add cardamom powder. Mix this nicely and bind it as laddu.

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Serve to Ganpati first and then enjoy homemade besan ke ladoo.

 

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Happy Deepawali!!

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Wishing you all a  very happy Deepawali  from DeesPlatter🎆🎆.

Around eight months back I started this food blog. Apoorva is becoming independent day by day, Manish is busy with office and keyboard practice, so my free time was increasing more and more. Before marriage I was teaching, but after so many years I was very hesitant to start it again. Going out for work keeps us in a disciplined routine, but wrapping up all household stuff early in the morning seemed an impossible task to me. Before marriage if we are working, mother is there to take care of everything, but now we are responsible for everything, so going out and working was impossible for me. To utilise free time I started to learn baking which I had never done before. Baking was very interesting and satisfying. The moment oven gives you perfect bake, your happiness has no bounds. Here Internet was my teacher and my family, friends and neighbors were my testers. But the problem was that how much a family of three can eat…. so if I baked a cake, it would be there for three days… now what should I do for the rest of two days?

So thought of starting a food blog. Initially, I was hesitant, because writing was never my forte, but some really good friends and Manish encouraged a lot and I started.

I am not an exceptional cook, like some people who know endless varieties of cooking like – continental, thai, chinese, asian cousin and so on….. My parents belong to UP, but settled down in Rajasthan – so I knew some regular dishes from both the places and I started posting these.

Before marriage I actually never cooked one full meal. I was always a helper of my mother. Honestly, I hated to do that also. If mom used to tell that I have to prepare rotis, I wanted ready dough and never ever wanted to clean the gas and kitchen counter. During festivals also I and my sisters were only helpers – all main cooking used to be done by mother. But little did I know that unknowingly as a helper my mother taught me so much, that after marriage (I remember this very well) except khichdi, I never called her to ask anything regarding cooking. And yes, one more thing I called her to ask for – how to prepare two threaded sugar syrup, for which I am still not very confident.

Those small things which our mother teaches us indirectly in the kitchen are so valuable but we realize this only when we start our independent cooking. Whenever I prepare dough for roti, I always remember how my father taught me to keep the vessel shiny and neat that nobody would know that someone prepared dough in that. Yes, my father taught me to knead the dough because I hated to do that…. and voila! I learned!!!
While mother prepares the best pakode vali kadi… My job was only to stir it occasionally but I learned that slow cooking gives you the best kadi!

During festivals also sweets and savoury dishes that I prepare are the ones that my mother used to prepare and majorly I am posting these on the blog too. Though, some of her dishes I have not yet tried.

This deepawali also three-four days back I was busy with cleaning when I got an order to prepare some traditional sweets and savoury stuff for deepawali. Ok, fine, I will do… was my reply.

Next day I started preparing and whole day I was thinking about my mother and how with a lot of patience she taught me and my sisters the values of life, time and value and importance of working in the kitchen. She is the most hard working person and the only thing which I hate about her is that most of the time she is right!! Now she doesn’t have that much strength because of her health problems, but still the moment she feels healthy, her energy level surprises me.
Today got a very good feedback from the customer for her deepawali order, and I just don’t know why my eyes were wet thinking about you mom!

Oh God! now also I am crying… why daughters have to stay so far, that’s not fair…

I want to dedicate this blog to you amma and wishing you a very happy, healthy, cheerful and prosperous Deepawali!!

 

Kheer with white rice (chaawal ki kheer)

Kheer from white rice is very common in India. Some people prefer to have it along with their meals and some enjoy it as dessert. When I was a kid, I used to finish one full bowl of kheer before starting the lunch, so that I shouldn’t repent later that I couldn’t eat much😋😋.

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After my marriage when I prepared kheer Manish didn’t like it much because it was kind of thick kheer and he preferred kheer with thin consistency but at the same time it should be creamy also. He told that his mother prepares the best kheer and whenever possible, I should learn from her. So during my trip to Jaipur I carefully observed, while my mother in law prepared her famous kheer. It was definitely lip smacking dessert 😝!!!!! And best part was that it was not prepared with full fat milk; she had prepared with low fat milk and yet it was creamy and delicious.
After a very long time I prepared kheer at the occasion of Sharad Poornima. Total cooking time for kheer is slightly more than usual, so don’t loose patience – the end result will be extremely yummilicious.
Tips:
1- Correct ratio of rice and milk is very important in kheer. My simple formula is to take one fistful of rice for one litre milk. It gives perfect consistency of thickness in kheer.

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2- Don’t take whole rice grains for kheer. Whole rice makes kheer very thick. Instead select broken rice of any quality of your choice. My preference is broken basmati rice, which is commonly known as “basmati ki kinki”.
3- Full fat milk starts becoming thick very soon and you have to add water in between to turn it thin. With low fat milk you can comfortably cook kheer on slow flame and it will retain correct consistency.
4- Instead of adding chopped dry fruits, grind them coarsely and mix half the quantity in kheer once it is done. Dry fruits flavor will enhance the taste of kheer.

 

Ingredients :
Rice                      1+1/2 fistful (3o/35 gm)
Milk(low fat)       1+1/2 litre
Sugar                   1cup minus 2tbsp
Cardamom powder and coarsely grinded mixed dry fruits.
Some strands of saffron for garnishing.
Process:
Take rice, wash it twice and soak it for half an hour.

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Take a heavy bottom pan and pour milk in it to boil. Heavy bottomed pan is must to avoid the milk getting burnt at the bottom.

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Add rice to the milk the moment it starts boiling.

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Now you have to keep on stirring milk till rice grains start boiling along with the milk. Turn the gas on sim and stir for 2-3 more minutes and let it boil.

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It will take almost two hours for kheer to be ready.

In between, from time to time keep on stirring and scraping the sides of the pan. The color of milk will change and kheer will be thick.

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Add sugar, stir it till sugar completely dissolves and switch off the gas. Once sugar melts down, consistency of kheer will be thin. I prefer it like this – but if you want you can boil it for 4-5 minutes more to get thicker consistency and then switch off the gas. Add half of the coarsely grinded dry fruits in kheer.

 

Transfer kheer into serving bowl and garnish with rest of the dry fruits and saffron strands. Once it cools down, keep it in the fridge for 2-3 hours and serve it chilled.

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Dry fruits kheer

Dry fruits’ kheer is one of those desserts which you can have in breakfast. After only  three or four spoons of kheer tummy will be full but you will keep on craving for more. So have one full bowl of kheer in  morning breakfast and satisfy your taste buds. If your kids have sweet tooth, it is ideal and delicious breakfast for them. Dry fruits kheer can be prepared during fasting also. Every year I prepare this kheer as prasad during Janamashtami and Shivratri festivals.

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Ingredients:

Low fat milk           1 litre
Granulated sugar   1/2 cup ( less or more,depending on individual’s taste)
Mix of dry fruits:     1/2 cup
cashew, dry dates, almonds, makhana(fox nut) , chiroji, kishmish (raisins) , magaz (musk melon seeds)

(can take makhana little more in quantity than other nuts because they help in getting milk thicker)

Except magaz, chiroji and kishmish, chop other dry fruits in medium size pieces. Soak dry dates in water for half an hour and then chop.

Cardamom powder    for garnish
Grated dry coconut    for garnish
Pista (grated)               for garnish

Process :
In a thick bottomed vessel boil milk.

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The moment milk starts boiling, add all dry fruits and turn the heat on sim. Keep on stirring for the next 10 minutes – until dry fruits start boiling along with the milk.

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Keep the flame on sim and in between keep on stirring and scraping the sides of the vessel. The process of thickening milk takes time, so don’t loose patience. Slowly, the process of thickening, milk will start and you will notice that from white milk is turning to pale yellow.

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Now add sugar and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Consistency of kheer is again thin because of sugar, so let it boil for 5/10 minutes more or until it becomes thick again. Switch off gas. Add cardamom powder,  grated coconut powder and pista for garnishing.
Let it cool down completely, and if you like can keep in the fridge for two hours and then relish it.

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Besan churma

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Besan churma
I love sweets prepared with Besan (gram flour) whether it is besan ke ladoo, besan ki barfi, besan ki boondi or besan ka churma.
To prepare besan ka churma we need little bit of coarse besan flour, not the regular very fine grinded besan. But in case if you are not able to find the coarse besan, go ahead with any variety It will still be delicious sweet.

Ingredients:
Besan 1+1/2 cups
Desi melted ghee 5 tbsp
Water/milk for kneading (according to the requirement)
Powdered sugar /bura 3/4 cup +2 tbsp
Melted ghee later to be added in churma and for frying.
Chopped mix dry fruits and cardamom powder.
Method :

Take besan and sieve it, then add
5 tbsp ghee in it and mix it.
Prepare dough with 50/50 water/milk mix or with milk only.
Dough should be neither too tight no too soft.
Make balls from the dough and press them flat with your palms like mathri and fry them nicely in hot ghee…

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Have to be really careful while frying so that the outer crust does not become very hard and from inside they should not remain raw.
So keep on changing your flame from just medium to sim.
When we are frying besan, always keep in mind that it gets fried soon compared to wheat flour, so keep a sharp eye and continuously keep on turning them upside down to avoid getting dark brown otherwise the outer layer will be too crisp and it won’t be good for churma.

Once all mathris are fried, take them out. Break them into pieces while they are hot, to avoid the outer layer becoming dry in the cooling process and grind them into mixer.

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BE CAREFUL.. You are not making a powder here….we need it in the form of normal sooji or rava so turn on mixie for 5-7 seconds…and take out the mixture and sieve it in a strainer which has small holes.some big chunks of mathris would be left in the strainer. Grind them again and keep on doing the process until you finish all big pieces
Now you have CHURMA which is very dry…so add melted ghee generously. Let it cool down if still it is warm.
Then add bura or finely grinded sugar according to your taste.

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Add mixture of chopped dry fruits along with cardamom pwd..

Your delicious CHURMA is ready.
You can’t stop yourself from tasting it immediately because by now your house is full of wonderful aroma of besan churma immersed in desi ghee.

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