Sweets

Modak

Ganesh Chaturthi (or Ganapati festival) is a very popular festival in India. A Ganesh idol made of special clay is brought home, wherever they have this tradition spanning generations. There is also public Ganesh pooja popularised by India’s national leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak since the days India’s freedom struggle. I am here to talk about how we celebrate Ganesha Chaturthi at home.

The preparations begin atleast one week before the ‘Bhadrapada shukla chaturthi‘ a day on the Hindu calendar which normally occurs in August or September of every year. There are three aspects to the preparation.

1. Mantapa
This is a structure normally made of wood, which is decorated, and the Ganesha idol sits inside this mantapa. Normally in our house, a mantap sits on the frontal edges of a waist height table big enough to host the three halves of the mantap. The mantap’s frontal is decorated with colored, gold/silver type papers and other decorative material. From the top and the corners is provided enough lighting for the Ganesha idol making it appear like its in a temple’s sanctum sanctorum. Also the house’s entrance and doors are decorated with mango leaves and flowers.

2. PhalavaLi
This is an assortment of fruits, vegetables and a coconut tied to a structure in a neat and organized fashion and hung from the top just infront of the mantap. Care is taken that the height of this PhalavaLi doesn’t interfere with people standing below it while performing the pooja.

3. Food preparations
Modak, maande, nevri, panchakajjaya are the most basic offerings to Ganesha. Many people add other sweets to this list as well.

On the day of Ganesha Chaturthi, we go to the Gudigar (or the one who makes the clay Ganesha idol) to whom we’ve ordered to make idol for us as per our liking. Normally we like Ganesha sat on a seat with right leg folded on the left one and colored skinny pink. After giving the price of idol wrapped in panna veedo(betel leaf with the betel nuts) to the maker, we bring home the idol carefully. At any point in time, care is taken so that no part of the idol gets broken in any way. This is very important. As per tradition, if this happens (Its called ‘bhagna‘ -in sanskrit) the tradition of Ganesha pooja at home is discontinued from that year. Before the idol is taken inside the home, at the main entrance, the idol is shown what is called as kumkum water (water mixed with kumkum) in a copper plate.

Then the Ganesha idol is placed inside the mantapa. Divli, a lamp with cotten threads in oil, is lit from 5 different sides in this. Then as per the Ganesha pooja proceedings, the prana pratishtha is carried out. It means to bring the Ganesha idol to life. There are mantras which go along with different proceedings. Usually this is done by the priest who goes to different homes. But in our place we do it ourselves after the priest instructed us how to perform the pooja. During the pooja all the various offerings are offered along with the meals which consists of dali thoy, rice, mooga randayi, biscuit Ambode (udid vada), khotto/hittu(idli batter cooked in jackfruit leaf basket), payasam, pancha kajjaya and various fruits. During the pooja, five different aarti are performed. We play the ‘Jayadeva Jayadeva Jaya Mangala moorthyaarti song in the background during the pooja. Ghantaanaad is also done.

After the pooja is over people who are invited as well as the people in the home sit for lunch served on banana leaves. After the Vayasa (meal offering to crows) and Gogras(meal offering to cows), the lunch begins.

Thus pooja is performed twice everyday until the day of visarjana – Ganesha idol immersion in either a well or a lake/river. Normally we keep the Ganesha at home for two days, meaning the next evening the visarjana is carried out. Many Sarvajanika (public) Ganesha are kept for 5 or 9 days. Some even 11 days.

Above Information about Ganesh Chaturthi is writen by my husband. At my parent’s house, we dont have the tradition of Ganesh pooja. We only celebrated Vayna pooja. But at my husband’s house, we have the tradition of Ganesh pooja (After my marriage, I never got an opportunity of attending this festival. So I asked him to write this post). This time we celebrated Ganesha pooja in a very small way here (The proper pooja with Ganesh idol is being performed at my in-law’s place in Kumta). Here is the picture of pooja (we had not planned it before. Just today morning we decided to have a small pooja. So we did it with whatever things available at home).

(From left- Nevri/karjikaayi, modak, dali thoy, mooga mole randayi, Down – Fruits, idli)

Here is the recipe for most popular dish of Ganesh Chaturthi. I prepared it with my MIL’s recipe which she has been following for years.

 

Modak

Deep fried dumplings stuffed with sweet coconut and jaggery filling traditionally offered to god during Ganapati festival
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 -10 modaks

Ingredients
  

  • Outer Covering:
  • 1 cup maida
  • Salt
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Stuffing:
  • 3/4 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup jaggery
  • 1/2 tea spn cardamom powder
  • 1 tea spn sesame seeds

Instructions
 

  • Heat 2 tbl spns of oil and add it to maida.
  • Mix it very well till all the maida gets the oil.
  • Add salt and water to make it a very stiff dough.
  • Keep aside the dough for around 1/2 an hour.
  • Roast the sesame seeds.
  • Heat jaggery and coconut together till jaggery melts and forms a uniform mixture with coconut. Mix sesame seeds well.
  • Remove from heat and add cardamom powder. Mix well.
  • Take small balls of the dough, roll it into small puris (if the puri becomes too thick, the modaks get a rubbery texture).
  • Keep a round ball of stuffing on the puri and cover with the dough to give modak shape.
  • Heat oil and deep fry the modaks.

Notes

Some people also use rice flour to make modaks. I have not tried that version any time.

 

Note : Reposting the recipe which was posted on Aug 28th 2006.

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Apple Sauce (Without Sugar)

apple sauce

I have been reading/hearing a lot about apple sauce for last two years – especially after Ishaan came into our lives. Before that, I had just seen this in grocery stores and never thought of trying it out. Last week, our friends brought a dozen apples for us. Since I am quite lazy to cut them and eat every day, I thought of making something with them. The first thing that came to my mind was apple sauce. I made the no sugar version. I also added couple of spices. It tasted heavenly. Following is the method I followed.

Procedure :
I used red delicious apples which were quite sweet. So I did not add any sugar. I used 8 apples for this and it yielded between 3 to 4 cups of apple sauce.
Wash, peel and core the apples. Cut them roughly into small pieces.
Take the pieces in a large pan, add about 2 cups of water. (I will just use 1 cup of water next time). Add a 3″ cinnamon stick and 2 whole green cardamoms. Cover the lid and let it cook till the apples become soft. At this point, I removed the lid and turned up the heat to let the excess water evaporate.
When the mixture look quite dry, pick up and discard the cinnamon, cardamoms. Switch off the heat. With a potato masher, mash the apples. I did not make a smooth paste because I thought some small pieces of cooked apples in the sauce would be good twist to it.
Let it cool to room temperature and then store in air tight containers. You can also put it in jars and seal them using the method provided here.

Pictorial:

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apple sauce

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Mango Rasayan / Seekarane (Ambe HashaLe)

mango rasayan

This is almost the end of mango season here. This must be one of the easiest and very popular dishes prepared with mango. It is usually made with coconut milk. At my home, we make it with normal milk. This is served during festivals in many homes. This is also prepared with bananas. This can be consumed as a sweet dish on its own or as a side dish with chapati.

Ingredients:
1 cup ripe mango pieces
2 cups milk or coconut milk
2 tbl spn sugar
Cardamom powder

Method:
Add sugar to milk (or coconut milk) and mix well.
Squish about 1/4 cup mango pieces with fingers to make a paste and then add the paste to sweetened milk. Add remaining pieces of mangoes.
Add cardamom powder. Serve as a sweet dish or as a side with chapatis.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 10mins

Pictorial:

mango rasayan1

mango rasayan2

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Mango Burfi (Ambe Khadi)

ambe khadi

During mango season, we prepare so many dishes of mangos. Mango burfi is one amongst them. These are liked very much by all at my home. My grandmother was preparing many batches of Mango burfis. I have been making them every year in the season from many years.

Hot mango pulp  splatters all over the hands while stirring in the pan. Hence I was a little reluctant to prepare these burfis again and again. I prefer to use Ishad mangoes(a local variety of mangoes) for this purpose as it contains a lot of pulp compared to any others available here.

My daughter tried it with the ready made pulp a couple of times without much success, so I would suggest using fresh mango pulp for this.

Ingredients:
2 cups Mangopulp 
Sugar
1/2 tea spn Cardmom powder
1 tea spn ghee

Method:
Peel off the mangos and collect the pulp. Make the pulp smoother by using mixer or blender.
Take the pulp in a pan and heat it on a medium flame. Go on stirring the pulp till it becomes semisolid. If the stirring is interrupted, the pulp may get stuck to the bottom and get burnt. In order to avoid this,it is better to use nonstick pan.
Measure the semisolid pulp and take the same quantity of sugar. Go on heating and stirring the pulp and sugar in the pan till it stops sticking to the sides. Put off the flame once the
pulp becomes solid and attains orange color. Mix cardamom powder with the pulp.
Smear ghee to the rolling pad and spread the mixture over it. Spread it with the help of
rolling pin. Cut it to suitable size and shape.
Allow the burfis to cool and then store them in airtight container.

Pictorial:

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ambe khadi4

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ambe khadi

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Milk Payasam (Doodha Paays)

There are many payasams/payasas that we make for festivals/special occasions. By modifying the ingredients/method slightly, entirely new sweetdish is made. Check out doodh paank, tandla paays, madagane. These all recipes have almost the same ingredients but taste very different due to the slight difference in method. My mother used to prepare this paays, we used to like it very much.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup rice
1/4 cup Sugar
4 cups milk
2 tea spn cashew nuts
2 tea spn raisins
1/4 tea spn Saffron strands
1/4 tea spn cardamom powder

Method:
Soak rice in water for about half an hour.Grind it with some milk (about 2 tablespoons ) to a coarse paste.Boil the remaining milk in a pan. Add the ground paste of rice to the milk while stirring it continuously.Add cashews, raisins and saffron to this mixture and continue to heat it till they are cooked. Add sugar and boil for two more minutes. Sprinkle cardamom powder.
Milk paayasam is ready to serve.

Serves : 4
Preparation time : 20mins

Pictorial:

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Green Peas Halva


Yesterday was one of those days when I wanted to try something new. I wanted it to be a totally new sweet. So I thought of making halva out of some unexpected vegetable. I checked my fridge/freezer and saw I had 2 packs of frozen green peas which needed to be used soon. So I thought of making halva with them. The final result was very good. V could not stop eating it, so in my opinion, it was a success.

After I finished making this, I wanted to see if someone else had made this before. I googled and found this and this. So, I was not totally crazy to try something like this afterall :).

Ingredients:
4 cups green peas (frozen or fresh)
2 and 1/2 cups sugar
2 tbl spn cashew pieces
1/4 tea spn cardamom powder
2 tbl spn ghee
1/2 cup whole milk

Method:
Microwave green peas with 1/2 cup water for 5 mins (or cook on stove top for 5-6mins). Grind to a smooth paste.
Heat the paste in a thick bottomed pan. Keep stirring for about 10mins. Then add sugar, cashews. Cook it for about 15-20mins, taking care not to burn it. Keep stirring often.
Add ghee, milk and stir it. Cook till the mixture looks quite dry. Add cardamom powder, mix well. Serve.

PS: – This sticks to bottom of the pan very quickly. So keep stirring it.
– The sweetness largely depends on the sweetness of the peas. I used the green peas from Indian store (not the sweet green peas from American stores). Start with 1 cup sugar, taste it and if required, gradually increase the sugar.
– I used a big pan to give me enough room for stirring.

Pictorial:

Green Peas Halva Read More »

Sanjuri/Sanjori (Sheerachi Poli)

5 years ago, aayi gave me this recipe and I wrote it down on my diary to make it sometime. Every time I would look at it and think about trying it sometime. Somehow I never got to it. 2 years ago, she posted it with beautiful pictures. I thought of making it and again, never got to it, but it was always on the back of my mind.

Like every Diwali, this year also, I was feeling very homesick. I kept on thinking aayi would have made this for me, made that for me. Pappa would have put on lights, bring fire-crackers and so on. I was so busy with work, home and a very active baby, who by the way, has just started crawling. Yesterday, finally I gave in and decided to make something so that it would atleast feel like festival. First thing that came to my mind was this sweet. So after work, I made these.

Sanjuri/Sanjori are polis(sweet stuffed flat breads) with a stuffing of sheera. Even though they are not as popular as puran polis at our place, they are quite popular. The outer covering is usually made with maida, but I mixed whole wheat flour(atta) and maida like carrot poli (Thanks Aruna for that tip). I used more maida and less wheat flour because I wanted to get very thin outer covering.

Ingredients (for the cover) :
1 cup all purpose flour/ maida
1 tbl spn warm oil + 1 tea spn oil (optional)
1/2 cup wheat flour
A pinch salt
Water

Method:
Mix wheat flour and maida, add warm oil (this makes the outer covering crispy when fried), salt, water and make a dough (like a chapathi dough). Apply remaining oil to the dough, knead it well and keep it aside for about 15-30mins.

Ingredients (for dough):
1 cup sooji / rava
1 cup sugar
2 tbl sps ghee
1/2 tea spn cardamom powder

Method:
Roast sooji till a nice aroma comes out of it.
Heat ghee and add roasted sooji and fry for few more minutes. Add 2 cups water, cover and cook till it is cooked. Add sugar and mix well. Keep mixing till the sheera is done. Add cardamom powder and mix. Let it cool a bit.

Making polis:
Take a small ball of the outer covering, and a ball of stuffing. (Outer covering about 3/4th size of stuffing). Flatten the outer covering and keep the stuffing ball on it. Cover the outer covering around the stuffing. Roll it into a poli. Heat tava, roast the polis from both sides applying some ghee. Serve hot.

Makes about 12 polis

Pictorial:

Sanjuri/Sanjori (Sheerachi Poli) Read More »

Cornflakes Rolls

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Diwali.

It is Diwali time again. Many of our readers were asking to post new sweets. As most of our traditional sweets are already on this blog, I was searching for new sweets. I came across these cornflakes rolls on one of the TV shows. It attracted me as it can be done in a very short time (10-15 mins only) and we require minimum number of ingredients. I prepared these at home. They came out very well and all liked it.

Ingredients:
2 cups Corn flakes
½ cup roasted peanuts
½ cup jaggery (I used molasses)
1 tea spn cardamom Powder
1 tsp ghee

Method:

Heat jaggery with 2 tbl spn water (if using the normal jaggery). It can also be made with molasses (the black colored liquid jaggery, do not add water if you are using molasses). I tried here with molasses.
Keep the heat on medium, because jaggery gets burnt very easily.
Take little water in a plate and add a drop of the jaggery in it. The jaggery should sit like a drop without getting diluted. That shows it has reached the required consistency.
Take off the heat, now add the Cornflakes and peanuts Mix well. Add the cardamom powder. Mix again.
Apply some ghee to your palms. Take around 1 tblspn of mixture and make a roll of it.

Preparation time : 15mins

Cornflakes Rolls Read More »

Rice Pudding (Tandla Paays)


Hope you all had a happy Ganesha Chaturthi. We had a small pooja at home this year too. We got a beautiful 10 inch Ganesha from local Indian store here. Ishaan also enjoyed looking at the decorations. We could not do much decorations this year as V did everything at the last moment, but still it was lovely pooja.

I made a small spread for the offering. It had idlis, dali thoy, muga randayi, tandla paays, baje, taushe hulel, modak. I wanted to make some paays/kheer with jaggery. So I called up aayi and she suggested this. It was a nice change from the usual sugar based paays/kheer I usually make.

Some other versions of this – paal payasam, kheer, tandla-chane dali paays

Ingredients:
1/2 cup rice (I used basmati rice, any rice can be used)
1 cup thick coconut milk
1/2 cup (approx) jaggery
1 tbl spn raisins
1 tbl spn cashews
1/4 tea spn cardamom powder

Method:
Cook rice in enough water along with cashews and raisins, till it is done, take care not to make it too mushy.
Add jaggery and cook till it is all melted.
Now add coconut milk and bring it to boil. Switch off the heat and add cardamom powder.
Serve hot or cold.

PS: – Sugar can be used in place of jaggery.
– If you do not like coconut milk, use normal milk.
– Depending on the color of jaggery, the color of paays changes. I had very light colored jaggery, so it came out very light.

Home made coconut milk:
Grind fresh/frozen coconut with a cup of water to a coarse paste. Sieve the paste and squeeze all the liquid off the particles. Again add little more water and repeat.

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Maida Burfi

Most of our sweets take a lot of time and energy. Very few are very fast to make and do not require much skill, yet taste very good. This is one such recipe. These burfis take hardly any time to make. They taste almost like Kaju(cashew) burfis.

I very rarely make sweets at home. No one in the family has any sweet tooth. So I haven’t made these in a long time. These used to be regulars at home. Last week I made a big batch of it for one of Shilpa’s friends. Most of it was finished by us and next day my son-in-law had request for one more batch.

Ingredients:
1 cup maida (or all purpose flour)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tbl spn ghee
1/4 tea spn cardamom powder
6-7 saffron strands (optional)

Method:
Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan. Add maida and fry till a nice aroma comes out. Take it out on a clean plate.
Take milk and sugar in the pan and boil. Add saffron. Boil till the syrup starts to get to one string consistency. Add fried maida and keep mixing till it forms a ball. Add cardamom powder and mix well.
Apply some ghee to a plate and spread the mixture. When it is cooled a bit, cut into desired shapes.

Pictorial:

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