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Diwali Festival Sweet Gifts & Recipes

1 litre milk, 1 tbsp basmati rice(washed), 1 cup sugar, 2-3 bay leaves, 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, 5 cardamoms, 4 cm cinnamon, 4 cloves, a pinch of salt, 1 tsp ghee.
For Garnishing:6 almonds(sliced), a handful of raisins, 8 cashewnuts(chopped), a little ghee.

Heat ghee in a pressure cooker.Add bay leaves and cuminseeds.When they splutter add 2 tbsp sugar.Lower the heat and stir the sugar.When it caramelises to a dark brown colour, add milk, When the milk comes to a boil, add rice.Stir well.Pressure cook for 10-15 minutes.When cool, mix the rice and milk well with a hand beater.Add sugar and simmer for 5 minutes.Remove from heat.Powder cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves finely, and add to the milk.Stir well. Heat a little ghee and fry the raisins, cashewnuts and almonds lightly.Add to the milk and serve.


Motichoor Laddu:

3 cups gram flour, 2 cups water, 4 cups sugar, 3 tbsp rice flour, oil for frying.

Mix gram flour and water to a smooth thick batter.Put water in a large bowl and keep it handy.Heat oil in a kadai and line it with a strainer that fits in neatly. Using a slotted spoon, gently tap the gram flour batter through the holes into the oil.When done, lift out the strainer with the fried boondi and drop on paper towels to drain out the excess oil.Quickly dip the boondis in the bowl full of water kept ready and remove.Wipe dry the strainer before tapping the next batch.When all the boondis are ready, bring water and sugar to a boil to obtain syrup of soft ball consistency.Take 3 tbsp of the syrup, heat it in a thick bottomed pan till frothy.Add the boondis and stir the mixture till it begins to leave the sides of the pan.While still warm, shape a little of the mixture into a laddu.Coat the hands with rice flour or cornflour for easier handling.Makes about 20 laddus.Store in an airtight jar.


Badam Ka Seera:

1 1/2 cup almonds (soaked overnight), 3 cups hot milk, 250 gm ghee, 1/2 to 1/3 cup sugar.

Peel the almonds, wash and grind to fine paste. Heat ghee in a heavy pan.Add paste and cook on first high then slow flame, stirring continuosly.After a while it should turn a light brown and aromatic. Carefully pour hot milk and stir.Use a long-handled spatula as the mixture tends to splatter.When thickens, add the sugar and cook, stirring continously and gently till ghee begins to separate.Decorate with chopped nuts and serve hot .


Besan Halwa
gram flour 1 cup
milk 1 cup
sugar 3/4 cup
ghee 1/2 cup
cardamom powder 1 tsp
almonds 1 tbsp (finely sliced)
pistachios 1 tbsp (finely sliced)

Heat ghee and fry the gram flour until until the flour turns golden brown in color and a beautiful smell comes from it.
Add cardamom powder, milk, sugar and keep stirring until the mixture turns thick.
Serve it hot, decorated with nuts.


Motichur Laddoo
Boondi batter
Bengal gram flour 1 1/2 cup (besan)
semolina 1 1/2 tbsp (rawa)

Sugar syrup
sugar 1 1/4 cup
milk 1 tbsp
saffron few drops (food color)

saffron strands
almonds 2 tbsp (chopped)
pistachios 2 tbsp (chopped)
cardamom powder 1 tsp (elaichi)
rose water 2 tsp
Ghee/butter for deep frying
Edible silver sheets, for garnishing (optional)

Sugar syrup
Combine the sugar and milk with 1 1/2 cups of water in a bowl and heat while stirring continuously till the sugar dissolves.
Add the saffron food colour to the syrup and make a syrup of one string consistency and keep warm.

Combine the gram flour, semolina and 3/4 cup of water and mix well to make a smooth batter.
Heat ghee or butter in a kadhai.
When hot, hold a perforated spoon (boondi jhara) over the hot ghee and pour a little boondi batter at a time using a ladle over the perforated spoon.
Spread the batter with the back of a spoon so that the boondi falls into the ghee.
Fry the boondis over a high flame to a light golden color, taking care to ensure that they are not very crisp.
Add the boondis to the warm sugar syrup and mix well so that the boondis soak in the syrup well.
Wash and dry the perforated spoon (boondi jhara) every time you pour the boondi batter through it.
Proceed making the boondis with the remaining batter and immerse them in the sugar syrup immediately after frying.
Allow the mixture to cool completely.

Add 2 tbsps of hot water, the saffron, chopped almonds, chopped pistachios, powdered cardamom, rose water and mix well.
Shape the mixture to make laddoos and garnish with silver sheets (optional).


Kaju Katli
cashew nuts 3/4 cup
sugar 3/4 cup
Milk 2 tbsp
Ghee 2 tsp
vanilla essence 1 tbsp
water 1 cup (boiling)
silver leaf 2 sheets

Soak the cashew nuts in boiling water for 1 hour.
Combine the sugar, milk and cashew nut(drained) in a food processor to create a smooth paste.
Heat the ghee in a large pan, add the cashew nut paste and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes thick.
Then, add vanilla essence and mix thoroughly.
Put this mixture in a greased tray and spread it evenly and press the silver leaf on the top.
Let it cool. After it is cooled, cut into diamond shaped pieces.

Background On Hindy Philosophy On Food

In Hinduism food is considered as God (Brahman) and said to be a part of Brahman as it nourishes the entire physical, mental and emotional aspects of a human being. It is considered as a gift from God and should be treated respectfully. In Vedas food is acknowledged with the rudiments of the earth. The Prasna Upanishad identifies food with the Lord of Creation. According to Manu, “Food that is always worshipped gives strength and manly vigor but eaten irreverently, it destroys them both.” Food should be eaten in religious attitude for the purpose survival and giving strength to the body to practice self control and austerities, but not for the sake of pleasure. This is the concept behind Hindu Food.

The Hindus (who historically ate meat) were influenced by ideals of non-violence and thus better Karmas gave up meat to devise the most tasty vegetarian cuisine in the world. For protein, they began to rely on a wide range of legumes, boosted up by proteins in grains served with perfectly cooked countless vegetable recipes and dairy products, and spiced to perfection.  They achieved a wholesome, varied and tasty diet that defines most of Indian cuisine. 

Many Hindus although continued to eat meat although they gave up beef as the cattle was more valuable for milk and use in farms. It was also determined by the Hindu society that the Brahmins/the priestly class and members of the merchant caste may observe strict vegetarian rules, but members of other castes could eat meat.

Annapuna is the Hindu Goddess of food and nourishment. She is the reincarnation of Parvati and gives her Shakti (energy) to all. When providing food Hindus take on the personification of Annapurna cooking food with a spirit of holiness, love and divine energy.

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