Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Cashew~Walnut Laddu (Kaju-Akhrot Burfi)

When I invited my friends to celebrate Sankranthi festival, in addition to the traditional ’sweet pongal’, I also prepared cashew walnut laddu. Low in sugar calories, high in nut energy! Cashews and walnuts are first roasted and powdered, then cooked in milk-sugar kova till they all came together into solid fudge like consistency. Cooling further solidifies the mixture and then small portions are taken and shaped into rounds -’laddus‘ or cut into squares-’burfis‘. I like the round shape, so I always go with round laddus. Very convenient to hold and eat, children particularly love laddus.

Cashews, Walnuts, Milk and Sugar in the Background

Recipe:

Half gallon- Whole milk
2 cups-sugar (3 cups if you like the laddus on the sweeter side)
1 cup - cashews
1 cup - walnuts

Preparation:

Milk and Sugar: In a thick bottomed big pot, bring milk to boil. Add sugar. Stirring occasionally, simmer the milk-sugar mixture until it gets thick and is reduced to about one fourths of the original quantity. It takes at least 45 minutes to one hour.:) Do this on medium heat. Avoid high heat and take care not to scald the milk.

Cashews and Walnuts: Meanwhile, lightly roast cashews and walnuts separately in an iron skillet. Let them cool down to room temperature. Separate 10 pieces from each and chop them into small pieces. With the remaining ones - make fine powder of them in a food processor/mixer.

Milk and sugar simmering thickened milk and sugar after 1 hour on the stove
Milk and sugar simmering………………..Thickened milk and sugar kova after one hour on the stove

Kova into Laddu: Add this fine powder to the thickened milk-sugar kova and cook for 15 minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture is firm. Sprinkle chopped chunks of cashews and walnuts that were kept aside. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes until the mixture is almost crumbly and comes away easily from the sides of pan.

Take a spoonful of mixture and press it with your hands into a ball. If it holds shape, then mixture is ready for cooling. Turn off the heat. Spoon the mixture into a greased square or round pan. Level it with a spatula and let it cool for at least 4 to 5 hours. Cut into squares for burfis or take a spoonful of mixture, shape it with your hands into a round ball for laddus. Store the laddus in glass jar. They will stay fresh for upto one week.

(This recipe makes 15 medium sized laddus.)

Cashew-Walnut Laddu

One medium sized cashew-walnut laddu, my entry to ‘Sugar-Low Friday’ event hosted by lovely Sam of Beck & Posh.

By the time my friends left, I had only four laddus remaining out of 20. Two for me and two for Vijay, enough for us. This is how I do my ‘Sugar - Low’, by portion control. In my view, this is also one of the ways to lower the sugar consumption.

Tagged with:

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Walnuts, Cashews, Sugar, Milk, Indian Sweets 101 (Friday January 27, 2006 at 7:16 pm- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Walnut Burfi (Akhrot Laddu)

Vijay got a good grade in this semester. He is studying for his master’s degree in software engineering, part time at Carnegie Mellon University. And the walnut burfi is for celebration. The combination of walnuts and milk-sugar is a classic. The resulting walnut burfi or laddu is a rare indulgence for us.

Milk, Sugar and Toasted Walnuts

Recipe:
(makes about 6 medium sized laddus)

2 cups of walnuts (Akhrots)
2 cups of whole milk
3/4 cup of sugar

Lightly roast walnuts in an iron skillet and let them cool down. Keep one fistful of nuts aside and grind the remaining walnuts into powder.

Boil milk and sugar until they come together into very thick mass almost like the final stages of pala kova. It takes about 30 minutes. At this stage, stir in powdered walnuts. Mix thoroughly and keep stirring until, the walnut-kova mixture leaves the sides of the pan and comes together into one big lump. Takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle the whole walnuts and mix once and remove the mixture into a pan. Allow it to cool and make small laddus with it or press the whole mixture evenly and tightly in a greased pan to cut squares.

Walnut Burfi (Akhrot Laddu)
Walnut burfi (Akhrot laddu) - Old fashioned

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Walnuts, Sugar, Milk, Indian Sweets 101 (Monday December 26, 2005 at 1:07 am- permalink)
Comments (13)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Priya’s Mysore pak

Priya from Little Rock, Arkansas, regular reader of this blog, kindly sent me this photo of Mysore pak she made for Deepavali following THE recipe.

Priya's Mysore Pak for Diwali

Mysore Paks, the silver plate and kumkum bharani - so pretty, I love them all, Priya. Thank you so much for sharing the festival sweets with us!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Zen (Personal) (Tuesday November 1, 2005 at 8:42 pm- permalink)
Comments (13)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Pala Kova (Doodh Peda)

For Deepavali, I preprared ‘Pala Kova’ (Doodh Peda), one of the classic sweets from home.

Pala Kova , Paal Kova, Doodh Peda)

Recipe:

1 gallon of whole milk
1 1/2 cups of sugar
Cooking time : 3 hours

This is one of those recipes, which allows multitasking, at least for the first two hours. Also make it only when you have some good natured, dear friends or family nearby, so that they can give you moral support:) or help out, when you get frustrated with stirring and the slow way it takes for milk to thicken. Chit chat or clean up the kitchen, wash the dishes, cook up other recipes or fold the laundry and in between for every 2 to 3 minutes, stir the milk. This way you won’t notice the time.

Milk after half an hour of boiling Milk after two hours of simmering

Preparation:

In a big sturdy pan, bring the milk to a boil. Keep the heat on medium high and boil/simmer the milk for about 2 hours, stirring in between. By the end of two hours, the milk reduces in volume, becomes quite thick and turns from white to color of gandham(sandal wood) paste.

Milk and sugar simmering Pala Kova (Doodh Peda) - The final product of milk and sugar after 3 hours on the stove

Add sugar to the thickened milk. Continuously stirring on medium heat, cook for about 30 to 45 minutes. By the end of this time, the milk-sugar paste further thickens and when you think, you can almost make a ball with it, then only switch off the heat.

Ladle off the paste onto a clean plate or round dish. Let it cool completely. Cut it into squares or shape into rounds. If you want, decorate the sweets with toasted pistachios or almonds.
I used an ice cream scooper to make round balls of pala kova.

 Malai Ladoo,Pala Kova, Doodh Peda, Paal Kovah
Pala Kova (Doodh Peda) for Deepavali

Recipe Source: dear Vijay

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Sugar, Jaggery and Honey, Molasses, Milk & Products, Indian Sweets 101 (Monday October 31, 2005 at 9:12 pm- permalink)
Comments (53)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Cashew Sweet

Lovely Sam of Beck & Posh chose vegan theme for this month’s IMBB. I never knew that vegans are called by these names or they feel that way about themselves here in US until I read her introductory post to this event. With much improved knowledge of stereotypes, here is my vegan contribution, ‘cashew sweet’: a traditional snack, my mother used to prepare and give us after school, when we were kids. The only thing I did differently because of vegan theme is I applied peanut oil to the settling pan instead of ghee.
The following recipe is simple, easy and adaptable to other types of nuts particularly peanuts.

Cashew Sweet:

2 cups of lightly toasted cashews
2 cups of powdered jaggery
1 cup of water
A greased tray to pour the cooked cashew mixture

Cashews and Jaggery

In a large sturdy pan, combine jaggery and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until jaggery dissolves into water. Bring this to a boil. You see lot of bubbling and raising to the surface action going on by now. Cashew Sweet Cooling in a pan Stir, stir and stir until the jaggery syrup reaches soft- crack stage meaning when you drop a bit of this syrup into cold water, it will solidify into threads.

When jaggery syrup reaches this consistency, immediately & quickly add cashews, and stir constantly for few minutes. Turn off the heat and pour this mixture onto a greased pan. When it is still hot, make lines with a knife and leave it to cool. When cooled, break along the lines to make squares. Store them in an airtight container.

Cashew Sweet, Kaju Tikki,  Cashew Brittle, Jeedi Pappu Paakam

These Cashew brittles or tikkis are natural-food alternatives to the very fatty and sugary standard editions, a sublime and perfect pairing of nature’s goodness and man’s intelligence (or is it sweet tooth). The flavor is completely different and the jaggery really sings out. Go on.. try them.

Some tips:

1. Only a small quantity of water is sufficient while making the syrup. One cup of water is enough for upto 3 cups of jaggery powder.

2. Time it takes to make this sweet is maximum 30 minutes. Prepare to spend all this time infront of the stove, no multitasking.

3. And the most important thing is gauging the jaggery syrup readiness. When you are making this sweet, or any kind of brittle for that matter, always keep a cup of cool water by the stove side. You can check the readiness by drizzling a few drops of syrup into the cool water. If it forms strings that you can easily prod into a ball, it’s at the soft-crack stage. This is where you should add nuts to the syrup. As soon as you add the nuts to the syrup, the mixture starts to solidfy or reaches the hard-crack stage very fast, within a couple of minutes. You made a perfect brittle.
If the syrup dissolves and disintegrates in the water, the syrup is not cooked enough yet. If it tightly balls up and sinks to the bottom or if syrups color turns from gold to black, then you have overcooked it.
This website very clearly demonstrates the various stages of sugar syrup, check it out if you want to know more about candy making. It also has video demonstration of various sugar stages (applies to Jaggery syrup too) both in real player and quick time, cool!

4. Finally, even after following all these steps, if it doesn’t come out as brittle as it should be, then blame it on weather and high humidity. What I do in those cases is, keep the greased tray with cashew mixture in the freezer for atleast one hour. I don’t know how, but the freezer turns the sorry mess from saggy to solid brittle like and they can be easily breaked along the lines made earlier. This freezer version tastes ok but they will test your dental health. :) -

Tagged with: +

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Jaggery, Cashews, Indian Sweets 101 (Friday September 30, 2005 at 9:07 am- permalink)
Comments (20)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Mysore Pak

I don’t know why but we both are losing weight, significant amounts, since coming back from India. We are not doing anything out of ordinary and on our recent yearly medical checkup, the family doctor billed our medical reports as excellent, so no problems there. This sudden weight loss is baffling us. The only reason for this I can think of is homesickness. Leaving the dear and near ones back home, I thought it would get easy with age and time, but not so in our case, it seems. The life we created here seems so dull, empty and purposeless. Is this what happens in 30’s, if so, I would love to go back to the carefree 20’s. Little bit early for a midlife crisis, I know.

To counter the weight loss and also to satiate my cravings for an Indian sweet, we made Mysore Pak last Sunday. A deliciously rich, decadent sweet, made of chickpea flour and pure ghee. South India’s favorite. The sweet is as colorful and mouthful as its name sounds. All of our sweets names are like that, unique and colorful… Badusha, Chandra Kala, Mohan Bhag etc.,

There are no shortcuts for this sweet; you need quality ingredients and no cutbacks on the amount of ghee. Otherwise you end up with not so tasty, yellow brick kind of mixture. So use freshest possible ingredients, mainly besan flour for this recipe. And also you need an extra pair of hands. So keep family or friends on the side.

Recipe:
1 cup Besan flour, sift to aerate & to remove any lumps
1 cup ghee, melted & at room temperature
3/4 to 1 cup sugar - your wish
2 cardamom pods, seeds powdered

Besan Flour, Ghee, Sugar and Cardamom Pods

In a big sturdy pot, take one cup of water, add sugar and bring them to boil till the sugar syrup reaches one string consistency. Reduce the heat.
Now pour the ghee and besan flour in a steady stream into the sugar syrup while stirring. You need an extra hand here. Continuously and thoroughly stirring, cook until the ghee starts to leave the sides of the pan and the mixture starts to thicken and turns to become porous and light gold in color. Stir in the cardamom powder.

Sugar Syrup On the Stove Pouring Besan Flour in Sugar&Ghee Syrup

Immediately pour onto a greased tray & evenly level it out with a spatula. When it is still hot, cut into diamond shapes. Makes about 10 to 12 pieces.

Mysore Pak Right Out Of the Stove, On to the Plate, Cut into Diamonds

Mysore Pak - Traditional Indian Sweet
Mysore Pak - Simple, sinfully rich tasting, sweet golden diamond

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Gram Flour (Besan), Molasses, Ghee, Indian Sweets 101 (Wednesday September 21, 2005 at 3:59 pm- permalink)
Comments (91)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Postcards From Home

Hindu Kush mountain range touching the skies.

HinduKush Mountain Range

double_curve.gif

An impromptu party with a ‘butter cake’ from our neighbourhood famous ‘Peevis’ bakery on Brother-in-law’s wedding anniversary, amid the other BIL marraige hungama. In addition to homemade sweets like payasam etc., celebrating with a cake seems to be a must and norm nowadays, a recent happening in small towns like ours.

Butter Cake - Wedding day greetings - Nagarjuna & Janaki

double_curve.gif

Preparing jangris is an art, so we hired the “Master”.

Jangris in Hot Oil

“Master” at work (Yes, master is his nickname, really, because of his expertise in making traditional sweets), finishing off preparing the last batch of jangris.
Piping the jangri batter in beautiful flower shape in hot oil.
Deep fried jangris taking a sugary soak in cardamom infused sugar syrup.

Jangris
Jangri: A traditional sweet, usually made for marraiges, my favourite.

Jangiris

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Amma & Authentic Andhra (Sunday August 28, 2005 at 10:28 pm- permalink)
Comments (21)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Sweet Beginnings with Sabudana

Coconut, saffron and ghee- the auspicious things in my cooking world, by adding the cashews, cardamom, golden raisins, sugar and sabudana, cooking them together, I just made a classic, delicious Indian sweet. Traditionally, it is prepared in liquid form (payasam), but I wanted to try something new and made it in pudding form. This light and luscious, very easy to prepare dessert is perfect on warm humid days like the ones we are having this past week.

Recipe: Nylon Sagu (small and fine variety from India) soaking in Coconut Milk

  • 1 cup sabudana(sago) soaked in half cup coconut milk or milk for 3 to 4 hours
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 cup cashews and golden raisins lightly roasted in 2 tsps of ghee
    1 tsp of cardamom powder, 4tsps of ghee
    Few strands of saffron soaked in water

Preparation:

In a big saucepan, empty the soaked sabudana along with coconut milk, add another half cup of water or milk and sugar. Combine and cook them on medium heat, stirring to prevent the formation of the lumps until the sabudana turn translucent. Reduce the heat, add and stir - ghee, cashews, golden raisins, saffron water and cardamom powder. Let it simmer until the whole thing reaches the consistency of thick flowing magma. Turn off the heat, pour the mixture into jello molds or small cups and freeze them for 1 to 2 hours. The pudding can be removed from the cups by easing the sides off with a knife.

Serve them in different sweet sauces, your choice. I pureed ripe mango without adding sugar, added it as sauce to the pudding.

sabudana pudding

Sabudana (Sago) Pudding in Sweet Mango Sauce

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Sabudana (Sago), Sugar, Indian Sweets 101 (Friday June 10, 2005 at 3:37 pm- permalink)
Comments (10)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

« Next Page —