Indulge your sweet tooth

LIVING IN THE KITCHEN

Indulge your sweet tooth

If you are someone with an insatiable craving for sweets you definitely won’t need a  reason to cram down those calorie-rich sweet dishes, your fitness regimen and low-calorie diet notwithstanding!

Incidentally, distributing sweets among friends and relatives has been synonymous with joyous moments. Hence, sweet dishes form an imperative part of the lunch/dinner menu at most social events.

As a teenager, I often embarked on culinary expeditions, whipping up those sweet items that required micro efforts, but gave macro gastronomical pleasure. During those days, whenever engulfed by a sudden urge to tuck into some sweet dish, the first thing that floated into my mind was the sweetened, pulverized bhune-channa (roasted-gram). This could be prepared in a trice, sans heating, and by dry-grinding roasted-gram dhal, sugar and cardamom, which later on was blended with lots of grated dry copra or desiccated coconut.

Remember, the above mentioned sweet-dish can be rolled into laddus too, when liberally blended in ghee. The next easy-to-make sweet dish is the sweet poha. At first, on a low fire, in a thick-bottomed pan, keep stirring fresh grated coconut, ghee, crushed jaggery and cardamom, until they form a halwa-like mass. When this cools, mix in paper-thin poha. In fact, if you don’t want to put in extra efforts, directly mix in crushed jaggery, cardamom, grated coconut and ghee with the poha, and your sweet dish is done.

Another delicious sweet dish which can be churned out within moments is the Milkmaid coconut laddus. Add a few spoons of pure ghee into a thick pan. Sauté 5-7 cups of fresh grated-coconut in it, until it turns light brown in colour. When this cools down, mix into 400ml of condensed milk, contained in the Milkmaid canister, and roll into yummy, soft-textured laddus.  

For melt-in-the-mouth wheat-flour laddus do this: Fry one cup of cleaned wheat flour in nearly half a cup of  ghee, in a kadai on a low flame. Keep frying until the flour is fully shorn of its kaccha smell. In fact, it needs phenomenal patience here, as it may take more than 15-20 minutes of frying for the raw smell to vanish, without the flour getting burnt. Switch off the stove, and when the flour is still very hot, blend in ¾ cup of powdered sugar, and start rolling small portions into laddus. Mix in more ghee if needed. (These laddus are prepared in the same way as besan laddus. Only in lieu of gram flour, wheat flour is used).

In place of wheat flour you can also use maida flour. Here, after adding sugar, instead of rolling into laddus, pour the hot mixture (blended in adequate quantity of ghee) into a greased plate. With the base of another plate, press the hot mixture using all your energy, until they form one homogeneous leveled mass. When it’s still hot, cut into pieces.               

Interestingly, if you let your culinary imagination go wild, you can concoct many of your own sweet-dish recipes. Like, the triangular-shaped bread slices, deep-fried in oil, and dipped in sugar-syrup for a few minutes, sprinkled with poppy seeds, or roasted sesame seeds, which tastes ethereal! (Arrange the slices on a plate in a skewed position, to let the extra syrup flow away). For another ambrosial delight, heat left over phulkas/chapattis with ghee on a hot tawa. Sprinkle with sugar granules until a caramel layer is formed. Switch off the fire, shake over poppy seeds, and enjoy this crisp delicacy.

Next, in case you have bland Marie biscuits at home, sandwich every two biscuits with icing made of butter, castor sugar and cocoa-powder. Roll each pair in chocolate sauce/syrup, refrigerate for a few minutes, and indulge in yet another gourmet delicacy. If you are a fruit lover, whip up a fruit-salad using slices of banana, sweet mango pieces, fresh grated coconut, and cardamom powder. This tastes great not only with poories/phulkas, but also as a dessert.  

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