A bite of traditional Indian sweetmeats

At a time when chocolate has replaced laddoos and pastries have taken over halwas, it is essential to go back to our roots and discover the joy of preparing traditional Indian sweets.

With festivals such as Rakshabandhan and Janamashtami approaching, the thought of mothers preparing kheer at home is a delicious one. The aroma of cardamom mixed with rice that is boiled in milk is difficult to overlook. But it is not difficult at all to try kheer or any other Indian dessert at home and bring alive the charm of celebrating our festivals in their original style.

“When we didn’t have Halwais, women used to prepare sweets like besan ki barfi, balushashi and shakarpara at home,” says chef Ganesh Joshi, Vivanta by Taj, Suraj-kund, adding that “traditional sweets are an integral part of our festivals. While kalakand is popular for Rakhi, makhane ki kheer and peda are popular for which the festival of Janamashtami is related to Lord Krishna who is fond of
anything made from milk and butter.”

Not to forget, in monsoon season the taste of ghewar and freshly rolled Jodhpuri laddoos is incomparable! DK Sinha, chef at Kesar’s sweet shop directs, “Mix besan in water and let it flow through
a sieve like droplets. The boondis once fried must be cooled and then added to sugar syrup.

Once the boondi absorbs the sugar syrup, this mixture can be mixed with chopped dry fruits (cashewnuts, almonds and pistachio) and rolled like balls” to be relished at any time of the day.

“Even Malpua tastes equally good in this weather,” says head chef Amar Singh from Khandani Rajdhani restaurant informing that from “Puran Poli to Moong Dal Halwa, everything can be prepared at home without much hassle.” He even suggests an unusual dish (not so unusual for Rajasthanis) – Tomato Halwa! “Heat and peel the tomatoes and remove the seeds from them. Then mix these with mawa and your halwa is ready. Contrary to common perception, it isn’t tangy at all!”

There are also few experts in the City who are concerned about the “health perspecti-ves” and advises Delhiites to opt for “sugarfree ras malai, rasgulla flavoured with jaggery and sugarfree modaks,” says head chef Sanjay Bahl at Ssence, The Suryaa. He even suggests “a modern twist to the traditional rabri that can be prepared as Rabri Fondue.

Reduce milk like it is done when preparing rabri and then sieve the remnant
to get a fine texture. Keep it warm and serve it in a fondue pot with fruits such as fresh peaches, mangoes, apples or berries. This will enable everyone in the family to enjoy the dessert in the way that they like and yet it won’t be very heavy because one can choose the amount
of rabri required.”    

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