Festive sweets and savouries

Regional flavours


Mouth-watering Badam Phirni.

Having said that the commonality of the celebrations besides the lights and  fireworks are the sweets, albeit with subtle differences in the ingredients and flavours. While the Northern palate favours dry fruit concoctions, the Southern tastebuds are more titillated by coconut and lentil recipes.

Metrolife delves into the different seasonal flavours in kitchens of the North and the South.


South Indian

Dal-Coconut Cake
(Parruppu-Tengai Cake in Tamil)

Ingredients

*  100gm channa dal (gram dal)
*  100 gm moong dal
*  1 cup of cashew nuts
*  1/2 a coconut
*  6 pods elaichi (green cardamom)
*  Sugar (should be three times of the paste mentioned below in quantity)

Soak the dals in water for 30 minutes, drain thoroughly and dry.  Roast both dals in a thick-bottomed pan until golden brown in colour.

Shred the coconut. Grind the shredded coconut, cashew nuts and dals with a little water to make a thick paste. Add the sugar (three times the volume of the paste) to half a cup of water and boil until it is stringy.

Mix the thickening sugar syrup into the paste, on a flame, and stir well. When it boils and thickens, pour the mixture on a greased plate and cut into small square pieces or diagonals to be served when it cools down.
 
Mysore Pak

*  3 cups powdered sugar
*  1 1/2 cups ghee
*  1 cup chickpea flour or besan
*  1/2 cup water
*  2 green cardamom or elaichi, powdered

Method

Heat the ghee well in a deep frying pan until it is smoking hot. Take it off the heat.
Pour the besan in the ghee and stir well. Boil the sugar with very little water and the elaichi powder until the sugar melts and it becomes sticky and stringy.

Pour the thick sugar syrup in the ghee-besan mixture and stir it well with the flame on. It should boil and thicken in a few minutes. Pour the mixture onto a greased plate. Cut into small squares or diagonals when it is still warm and serve when it cools down.

North Indian

Badam Phirni

*  Almonds 1/2 cup
*  4 tablespoons rice flour
*  2 and a 1/2 cups milk
*  5 tablespoons sugar
*  8 strands saffron
*  1 teaspoon cardamom

powder

Blanch and grind the almonds to a fine paste with 1/2 cup milk.

Mix together the ground almond paste and rice flour.

Bring milk to a boil, adding the sugar and stir till it dissolves.

Dissolve the saffron separately in a spoonful or two of hot milk.

Add the almond-rice mixture into the boiling milk along with the saffron-milk mixture.
Stir continuously for a few minutes till the milk thickens and attains a custard-like consistency. Pour in little custard cups or small earthenware matkas.

Sprinkle with cardamom powder and cool.


Kaaju Burfi

*  2 cups of finely ground cashew powder
* 1/4 cup milk
*  3/4 cup sugar
*  Decorative silver vark (optional)

 Heat milk in a heavy bottomed pan and add sugar. Let it boil.

 Once the boiling is over, add cashew powder little at a time, mixing it well. Reduce the flame, letting the mixture become firm. Add all the cashewnut powder.

 Pour the firm and slightly cooled mix on a wax paper or thali. Flatten using a rolling pin.

 Decorate with silver vark, cool and cut into diagonal shapes.

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