Treating your sweet tooth the traditional way

Published On: February 16, 2018 09:50 AM NPT By: The Week Bureau

There are times when western desserts just don’t cut it. These are times when we go back to the all too familiar sweets that have truly proven to be timeless. You can treat family and friends across generations with it and be certain that they will enjoy it. Now, we all have our own favorite spots to pick these traditional sweets. However, contrary to popular belief, not all Indian sweets are complicated to make. In fact, there are some that can be readied in just three steps. The Week brings to you a couple of such popular, easy recipes.

Gulab jamun
There aren’t many who can resist a warm gulab jamun. This is the dessert for cold winter days. And indeed, you can make it at home as well. You can serve up to 20 pieces in one go but during its preparation, measurement is key. You have to keep a check on how much of what you put in here more than other Indian desserts.

The main process is simple enough. All you have to do is make a paste like dough by mixing milk powder, baking powder, plain flour and by adding some ghee. 

Ingredients for jamun balls (for 5 to 6 pieces)

    Milk Powder: ½ cups

    Flour (maida) – 2 tsps

    Semolina (rava) - 1 tsp

    Baking soda - 1/4 tsp

    Milk – 2 tbsp

    Ghee – 1 tbsp

Take milk powder, flour, baking soda and semolina in a mixing bowl and mix them well. 

To turn it into a crumbly mixture, add some ghee and mix. Once you have the desired result, add the milk and mix it again. At the end, your dough will appear to be sticky.

Let the dough rest for about five minutes so that the dough absorbs the moisture.

Next step is to divide the dough into circular balls that you will fry in vegetable oil.

Now while frying the jamun, the trick here is to maintain the right oil temperature. If the temperature is too high, contents inside will not be cooked. So keep the flame low.

Once done, these jamuns also need to be soaked in sugar syrup for about 45 minutes. Making the sugar syrup is also easy. Take one and half cup of sugar and an equal amount of water in a saucepan and boil it. As you keep going, reduce the flames and let the mixture simmer for about five minutes. You can add the likes of rose essence and cardamom powder to the syrup then as well. Once you like the consistency of the mixture, simply turn off the stove and set aside.

Dryfruit gud ladoo
This gud ladoo ticks both the most important boxes: First, the flavors, and second, the uncomplicated recipe. Even amateurs dessert makers can go ahead and delight their guests by making this treat at home.

Gud in English is referred to as jaggery and it is easily available in our local markets. The preparation process requires minimum cooking and, in the end, while making the ladoos, you can even get your family and friends involved.

Ingredients for mixed nuts gud ladoo

    Jaggery

    Mixed nuts: Here cashews, almonds, pista, anything will work. Many like to mix the dried fruits together. The amount of mixed fruit used depends on the amount of jaggery. As a standard, a cup of jaggery requires half a cup of cut mixed nuts.

    Ghee: a cup of jaggery will require three tablespoons

    Half a spoon of cardamom powder

    Grated coconut (this is optional)

First, coarsely cut your mixed nuts into small pieces and roast them for a few minutes on a low flame. You also add the cardamom powder to it when it is about to be done.

Then, we deal with the jaggery. In a deep pan, melt the grated jaggery a little. So take the pan, add the jaggery and sprinkle a little water. Later let it cool and then remove the lumps as well. Once that is done, heat the jaggery again, this time with the ghee. Stir and heat it well.

You have to be careful not to burn the jaggery. When you think it’s about to be done, add the mixed fruits and stir them nicely again.

Finally, take it off the stove and allow it to semi-cool. It’s with this mixture that you form small ladoo balls. These ladoos will become tighter as you let them cool.

Paneer kalakand
Normally, the technical level does rise with a dessert like kalakand, but thankfully, some home cooks have devised an alternative as well. Kalakand is often for those who don’t like their sweets to be too sugary, and if you are one of them, you will definitely like paneer kalakand. Soft and juicy, these treats are great for any occasion.

Ingredients required for paneer kalakand (for 8-9 pieces)

    Grated paneer – 2 cups

    Condensed milk – 200 ml

    Milk powder – 1 tbsp

    Cardamom – 2 pinches

    Sugar (optional, according to taste)

    Pistachio (for decoration)

First, we work with the paneer. We need to thaw it well. For this, simply immerse it in hot water for a couple of minutes, then drain and squeeze the water. Next, we crumble it in a blender.

Once we have blended the paneer, we place it in a bowl and pour condensed milk and cardamom powder over it. If you want to add sugar, you can do so now too.

Adding milk powder also helps bind the mixture so you can put that in as well and mix it all really well.

Next, we pour it into a non-stick pan and keep stirring it on a medium flame. Do this until you see the mixture start leaving the sides of the pan.

Use a square or rectangular greased dish to store the mixture. It’s here that you will let it cool down.

You can cut it once it begins to set. Add pistachio as garnish. Note: This sweet tends to taste even better once you have refrigerated it.

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