“Alcohol and desserts are pretty great on their own. When combined, the results are often epic”. – Ash
Diwali is right out the corner. Colors, lights, fireworks, clothes, family, friends, parties, dancing, and, of course, we can’t forget about the food. There is so much food and sweets. I love the spirit of this festival. It has the spirit of coming together, laughing over mugs of coffee and tea, snacking, and just relaxing. One of the specialties of Diwali is the snacks that are prepared days before the actual festival…
The month of October truly began with the thought of Diwali prep and nothing else. One day, weeks before ‘THE’ day, I sat with my coffee and cereal, a notebook in one hand, next to a portable heater. I started writing. The light from the windows flowed in, coupled with a chilly wind. My creative mind wanted to plan all the sweets and snacks, the boxes that they will be wrapped in, and how many doors they get delivered to. The unabashed joy of knocking at friends’ doors and seeing their faces light up gave me goosebumps. It usually started with five dishes, and went to seven. I had to stop at seven. A week before, each day of the week, one dish got done, and I felt a sense of accomplishment. Five days down, all the seven were done and I itched to make a couple more and I do. Then came the wrapping, boxing, and naming, all 20-25 boxes. All this neatly got arranged on the dining table, and, finally, the cleaning began. That was then, for many years pre kids.
Post kids, the month of October just brings a teeny bit of nervousness along with a lot of excitement. With Halloween(all costumes stitched at home), kids’ parties, and the most important Diwali, a thought of uncontrolled chaos comes to mind. More than ever, I need to sit down. I sit with a book, next to my fire place, but the page is divided into three sections and the month is divided into 3 parts. I still give a week for our Diwali prep. From seven to nine sweets/treats, it’s come down to five. Hey, five is good I think. My hand painted wooden boxes were appreciated and loved, and I still give hand painted boxes! They’re just not made by me. I can live with that, it’s still from my heart.
Last year, Halloween took a back seat since the boys have grown up and there are no school parties. So then, Diwali was the only big thing on my mind, again. Diwali was on the 29th. I sat down with a paper and pen as usual near my fire place. I thought about the sweetmeats/treats and desserts I wanted to make. Not to mention, I did that on the 20th, which is not a norm for me. Then, getting overwhelmed, I closed the book and decided to get impromptu with the prep work. Two days before the big day, I decided enough is enough with the procrastination. I got into the kitchen at 10:00 and got out by around 2:00, crispy murukku (chakli) and sweet nutty ladoos finished. The next day, I made a couple more and wrapped up the kitchen. I cleaned a whole lot, everything was on track, and no big new plans were needed. I always thought planning, prepping, and organized chaos made me a perfectionist. It does help, but sometimes planning a little bit in mind and letting yourself go with the flow can be just as perfect. We’ll always figure it out by the end, right?
Now, I follow what I did last year. By the end of the day, everything comes together well. Giving and sharing has remained constant. The love has remained constant, maybe broadened too. Now I have a few friends over at a time, so I can spend some quality time and make a lovely meal, their favorite meal, and send them off with a box of my treats. Life evolves, and so do we.
On another note, it was so fun to create this special holiday recipe for BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS, India. It’s one of those desserts with a subtle rum flavor. You can remove or add more. It’s a dessert that can be made ahead and served for parties. Always a winner! Happy cooking!!!
HAPPY DIWALI TO ALL WHO ARE CELEBRATING!
Lots of love and wishes.
- ½ cup khoya or bthick ricotta cheese(drained)
- 5 tbsp sugar
- ½ cup light coconut milk
- 2 cup All purpose flour
- ½ tsp cardamom
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1 cup water(use more or less)
- 2 tbsp ghee or clarified butter to pan fry malpua
- ½ cup shelled pistachios
- ⅓ cup ricotta cheese(or khoya) not very thick.
- 3 tbsp sweetened coconut flakes
- 2 tbsp coconut rum
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tbsp water
- 2 tsp coconut rum
- ¼ tsp lemon juice to stop crystalization
- Some almonds or pistachios to garnish
- Take ½ cup sugar in a pan and add water. Let it come to a one string consistency. That just means, when you take a little syrup in between the pointer finger and thumb, a one string should form. Be very very cautious when you try it because the syrup is very hot. Take it out of the heat and then add the coconut rum and lemon juice. Mix and set aside.
- Grind the pistachios with sugar to a fine paste, use the coconut rum to grind it with. Take it out and mix in the ricotta cheese. It should not be runny. It should be of piping consistency. If you find the cream too thick, add a another tsp of coconut rum. Make sure it holds it's shape when piping.
- In a large mixing bowl add the crushed khoya or the ricotta cheese. Mix well. Add the sugar,add cardamom and mix well. Add the all purpose flour. Now add water little by little to make a smooth paste. The consistency of the batter should be of a pancake or a dosa. It should not be too thick or too thin. Last add the baking powder and whip the batter for 2-3 minutes for a softer Malpua.
- Take a shallow non stick pan and add 2 tsp of clarified butter or ghee. Let it get hot, use a ladle to pour malpua. I used a tablespoon to make the malpua. Let it cook on one side, you will see it browning, then flip it and cook for another minute. Let it cook in medium heat. Take it out and dunk it in the syrup we've made.
- There are 2 options to serve this. You can dunk the malpua in the syrup and serve some cream over it or do not dunk it immediately, pinch the sides and form a cone. Let set for few minutes. Then stuff the cream, drizzle some syrup over it(my preferred method).
- Serve warm, room temperature with some pistachio cream.
- Grind the pistachios with sugar to a fine paste. Take it out and mix in the ricotta cheese. It should not be runny. It should be of piping consistency. If you find the cream too thick, add a a tsp of milk. Make sure it holds it's shape when piping.
- Serve warm, room temperature with some pistachio cream.
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