Jaisalmeri Chane/Kale Chane ki Kadhi/Black Chickpeas in Yogurt Gravy – Instant Pot Method

Jaisalmeri Chane, is a delicacy from Rajasthan. Jaisalmer is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the state of Rajasthan, India.  ‘Kale Chana’ means black chickpeas. ‘Kadhi’ means yogurt based dish. ‘Kale Chane ki  kadi’ literally translates to ‘black chickpeas in yogurt gravy’. I came to know about this recipe very recently, when it was shared by my dear friend and fellow blogger Dhwani Mehta. She shared the stove top pressure cooker version of the recipe. She had mentioned that it was a traditional dish from Jaisalmer. I love traditional recipes. I really liked this recipe because it was a protein rich dish and it looked so appetizing. Being a vegetarian,  I always look out for different vegetarian options to include protein in our diet. This dish was made with yogurt, gram flour and black chickpeas which are all good sources of protein. My kids like chickpeas so I thought my kids might enjoy this dish too.  The recipe was so simple and the dish was so nutritious that I bookmarked it immediately to try it soon. Earlier, I had prepared many varieties of South Indian Kadhi(Majjiga Pulusu, Challa Chaaru, Challa Pulusu), Maharashtrian Kadhi and Punjabi Kadhi but I prepared ‘Kale Chane Ki Kadhi’ for the first time. The dish had a very unique taste and we all liked it. I would definitely make it again and again.

While writing this post, I recalled an incident which happened 20 years ago when we planned to attend ‘Desert Festival’ in Jaisalmer. You all might have read the recent news about the United Airlines flight passenger who was dragged from an overbooked flight. We were in a similar situation then. Thank god it was not that bad though. We booked our tickets for a 10 day trip to visit Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. A friend of ours had suggested us to attend the unique and special ‘Desert festival’ in Jaisalmer, which is a 3 day celebration that happens once a year. Coincidentally the ‘Desert festival’ for that year was scheduled in the same period we planned our trip. We were so excited and made our plans to attend this festival.  After reaching Delhi, we talked to  a travel agent and booked our bus tickets from Delhi to Jaisalmer. The tickets were issued and everything was going smoothly as planned. We packed our bags and boarded the bus that was heading to Jaisalmer. After travelling about 30 miles, a couple boarded the same bus. The bus was totally booked and there were no room for more passengers. The couple got mad and had an argument with the bus conductor. Finally, the bus conductor came to us and said that the travel agent who issued the tickets to us had overbooked the bus and we need to make an alternate plan for our travel. He said that the other couple were issued the same seat numbers and they had bought their tickets on an earlier date and our tickets were issued on a later date. Our plan was all messed up because of the irresponsible act of the travel agent. We had no other option left. We got down the bus and returned back to our hotel room by taking a cab. Next day, travel agent apologized to us and said that he will reissue the tickets in a day or two. But, it was too late, because we will not be able to make it in time to attend the dessert festival. Hmmmm!! We were disappointed a lot for not being able to attend the desert festival. We reminded ourselves that ‘Whatever happens, happens. Don’t stress’.  Keep calm and carry on. We visited Jaipur, Agra and Mathura. We had a great time and enjoyed rest of our trip.

Here is some information about Rajathani Cuisine, that I read from the online resources. Rajasthani Cuisine is influenced by both the war-like life style of its inhabitants and the scarcity of vegetables and water in this arid (excessively dry and having insufficient rainfall to support agriculture) region. Gram flour(Besan) is of the ingredients that is widely used in Rajasthani food. Rajasthan is one of the leading producer of milk in India. Due to scarcity of water and fresh vegetables, the dishes were cooked with dried lentils, beans, milk and milk products(ghee & buttermilk). Dry mango powder/Amchur powder was used as a substitute for tomatoes. Most Rajasthani cuisine uses clarified butter/Ghee as the main medium of cooking. Food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred. There is so much more to learn and explore about this delicious cuisine.  I noticed that, the recipe I am sharing today is made using all the above mentioned ingredients besan(gram flour), dried beans(black chana), ghee, amchoor powder(dried mango powder) and yogurt.

‘Jaisalmeri Chane’ is traditionally served with Missi Roti(flat bread made with whole wheat flour, gram flour(besan) and spices. It can be served with plain rice or any type of roti. Since the preparation of this dish doesn’t need any vegetables, it would be ideal to prepare especially on the days when you run out of fresh vegetables in the refrigerator. I have adapted the recipe from here and made it in my Instant Pot. Lets begin the process of making this nutritious and delicious dish in the Instant Pot.

I also shared the process of making it in a regular pressure cooker. Please refer to the notes in the bottom of the post.

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Ingredients:

Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 250ml

Black Chickpeas/Dried Kala Chana – 1 cup

Ghee – 1 Tbsp.

Plain yogurt – 1&1/2 cup(use slightly sour yogurt for the best taste)

Asafoetida/Hing – 1/8 Tsp.

Cumin seeds – 1/2 Tsp.

Red chilli powder – 1&1/2 Tsp.(You can add more as per desired spiciness)

Roasted cumin powder – 1/2 Tbsp.

Roasted coriander powder – 1/2 Tbsp.

Turmeric powder – 1/2 Tsp.

Besan/Gram flour/Chickpea flour – 3 Tbsp.

Corinader leaves/Cilantro(finely chopped) – 1/4 cup

Amchur/Dry Mango powder – 1/2 Tsp.(optional ingredient to be added,  if the yogurt is not sour)

Salt – as needed(approximately 1&1/2 Tsp.)

Garam masala powder – 1 Tsp.(I used MTR Garam Masala powder) The original recipe uses 1 Tsp. Garam masala powder but I reduced the quantity(I used only 1/3 Tsp.). I personally experience burning sensation in the stomach whenever I eat foods with a lot of Garam Masala. You can add more as per your choice.

Procedure:

Step 1:

Wash Black Chickpeas/Kala Chana. Soak them in a bowl of water for 8-10 hours (I soaked them overnight).

Step 2:

Discard the soaking water from black chickpeas/Kala chana. Add chickpeas in the instant pot insert. Add 4 cups water. Add 1/2 Tsp. salt, 1/4 Tsp. turmeric powder and mix.  Close the lid.

Pressure cook the chickpeas/Kala Chana in manual high pressure setting for 20 minutes. Hit manual button. The default pressure setting will be high. Do not change this. Press on minus ‘-‘  button and set it to 20 minutes. Make sure that the sealing ring in placed under the lid and the anti block shield under the lid is placed and pressed in its position correctly. Turn the steam releasing valve on top of the lid to the ‘Sealing’ position.

Step 3:

You will hear a beep when the chickpeas is done. Let the pressure release naturally. Instant pot has a indicator pin next to the steam releasing valve to indicate if the steam is released or not. The pin drops down when the steam is completely released. Unplug the instant pot and open the lid when the pin drops down. Chickpeas should be soft and tender. Strain the cooked chickpeas/Kala Chana. Save the strained liquid and keep it aside.We will use it later. Now the instant pot insert is empty. Rinse the insert, wipe it with a dry cloth and use it to prepare kadhi in Step 5.

Step 4:

In another bowl, mix besan/gram flour, turmeric powder, roasted cumin powder, roasted coriander powder, red chilli powder, salt and yogurt. Add amchur/ dry mango powder if the yogurt is not sour. Mix them with a whisk to prepare a smooth batter without any lumps.

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Step 5:

Turn on the instant pot in ‘Saute’ mode. Just press ‘Saute’ button.  Add ghee in the instant pot insert.  Once the ghee is hot(after few seconds), add cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add asafoetida. Now you need to switch to low saute mode. To do this, turn off the instant pot. Press ‘Saute’ button and hit adjust button twice.

Add the chana water that we kept aside in ‘Step 3’ and the yogurt mixture prepared in ‘Step 4’.

Stir continuously until  it comes to a boil (this will prevent the yogurt from splitting) and continue to cook on low saute mode for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Step 6:

Add boiled chana/Chickpeas and cook on low saute mode for 7-8 minutes stirring occassionally. It will thicken as it cooks. Turn off the Instant Pot. Kadhi will thicken further as it cools. Transfer the prepared kadhi into a serving  bowl and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve it hot with Missi Roti, Rice, Phulka, Poori or Paratha.

Notes: This dish can be made in a regular pressure cooker and a regular pan. I am sharing the procedure below:

Step 1: Pressure cook Black chickpeas with 4 cups of water for 4-5 whistles. Cook until chickpeas are totally soft.

Step 5: Use a wide thick bottomed pan instead of Instant Pot and cook on stove top on low/medium heat.

If you do not have amchur powder/Dry mango powder, you can add lemon juice after tranfering the kadhi into a serving bowl. Mix it well and serve.

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This is a simple and easy recipe to make. Serve Jaisalmeri Chane with any Indian flat  bread or over rice. !!!!!

Thick Poha Chudwa/Chivda

Poha Chudwa is a classic comfort snack. This tasty, crunchy and comforting snack is very easy to prepare. My MIL prepares a deep fried version of this snack and she uses thick poha. It is a pantry staple at my MIL’s place. I am sharing my MIL’s way of making this snack. I prepare this snack occasionally for my kids. My kids enjoy munching on it. Since this is a deep fried version, I try not to over indulge but who isn’t tempted by this comforting snack?  It doesn’t seem too bad to indulge in deep fried goodness occasionally 🙂

My mom prepares a pan roasted version of this snack and she uses thin poha.  I have earlier shared Thin Poha Chudwa/Chivda recipe in my blog. You can find the recipe here.  I prepare this snack and stock up almost all year round. It is my comfort snack to have with my hot cup of tea.

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Ingredients:

Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 250ml

Thick Poha – 2&1/2 cups

Peanuts – 3/4 cup

Roasted Chana Dal/Dalia – 1/3 cup

Cashews – 1/3 cup (halves)

Curry Leaves around – 20-25

Green chillies  – 3 (cut in half lengthwise)(optional, I did not add)

Raisins – 1-2 Tbsp.(optional, I did not add)

Roasted Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp.

Roasted Coriander Powder – 1 tsp.

Dry Mango/Amchur Powder – 1/2 tsp.

Red Chilli Powder – 1&1/2 tsp.(Reduce the quantity if you are adding green chillies)

Granulated Sugar – 3/4 tsp.

Turmeric powder – 1/2 Tsp.(optional)(I did not add)

Salt as needed

A metal sieve to deep fry.

7-8 paper towels to soak the oil from the deep fried ingredients.

Procedure:

Step 1:

Place a big wide pan on medium heat. Add the oil. Once the oil is hot, place a metal sieve in the oil. Add handful of poha in it and fry them. Transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat the process and fry the remaining poha in the same way adding a handful at a time. Keep changing the paper towels to soak up the oil.

 

Step 2:

Fry the peanuts, cashew nuts, dalia, raisins, green chillies and curry leaves in the same way. Place them in a plate lined with paper towel. Keep changing the paper towels to soak up the oil.

My MIL also fries home made sun dried potato chips and sun dried curd chillies(challa mirapakayalu) and adds them. I didn’t have them at home so I skipped adding them.

 

 

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Step 3:

Take another wide pan and add 1 Tsp. oil. Place the pan on low heat. Once the oil is hot, turn off the heat. Add all the spices, salt , sugar and mix well. Make sure they do not burn. Now add all the fried ingredients and mix well. Taste it and adjust the spices as needed. Let them cool completely in the pan.

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Sometimes, I skip the above step and I just add the spices directly to the fried ingredients and mix. But the above method works efficiently and nicely coats all the ingredients with the spices.

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Step 4:

Transfer it to an air tight container after it is completely cooled.

 

Enjoy with a hot cup of tea or coffee!!!

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Halwa Polelu/Sajja Obbattu/Halwa Poori/Rawa Bobbattu/Sojjappalu – Deep Fried & Pan Roasted Versions

Happy Ugadi to all my readers who are celebrating this festival!! Today I am sharing a traditional sweet dish ‘Halwa Polelu’ which is prepared at our home on the occasion of ‘Ugadi’.

Halwa Poli is a soft, thick, flatbread with a delicious stuffing made with semolina and sugar. My MIL makes a deep fried version of this dish. It is known as Halwa Polay at my MIL’s place. My Mom makes pan roasted version of this dish. . It is known as Sajja Obbattu at my mom’s place.

This traditional sweet dish is known with different names Sajja Bobbattu / Sajja Obbattu/ Halwa Polay / Rawa Bobbattu/ Sojjappalu/ Halwa Poori.

I have earlier shared a recipe to make Puran Poli/Oliga/Holige/Poornam Bobbattu in my blog. You can find the recipe here.

Today I am sharing two methods(my Mom’s method and my MIL’s method) of making the traditional sweet dish Halwa Polelu/Rawa Obbattu. I used Sooji(fine variety) in this recipe. The fine variety of Sooji  is also known as Chiroti Rava in India. I hope you enjoy making them with this simple step by step recipe with pictures.

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Ingredients:

This recipe will yield 18 Halwa Polis.

Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 250ml

For the outer layer:

All purpose flour/Maida – 1 cup

Semolina/Sooji(fine variety) – 2 Tbsp.

Salt – a pinch

Ghee – 1 Tbsp.

For the Stuffing/Halwa:

Semolina/Sooji(fine variety) – 3/4 cup

water – 1&1/2 cup

Granulated sugar – 1&1/4 cup

The ratio of Sooji:Water:Sugar is 1:2:2 (as per my MIL’s recipe).  I reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe.

Ghee – 1 Tbsp.

Cardamom powder – 1/4 Tsp.(optional)

Procedure:

Step 1:

Prepare the dough for the outer layer:

In a wide bowl, add 1 cup all purpose flour, 2 Tbsp. sooji and a pinch of salt. Mix it well. Make a soft dough by adding water. Add 1 tablespoon of ghee to the dough. KNEAD IT WELL (about 3-4 minutes). This step is very important. Cover the dough with a lid and wait for 2-3 hours. The dough needs to be rested for at least an hour.

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Step 2:

Prepare the stuffing/Halwa

In a sauce pan, add all the ingredients listed for stuffing. Place the pan on medium heat and keep stirring to prepare halwa. Keep stirring until halwa starts leaving the sides of the pan and until the spatula can stand in it without falling down. Let it cool.

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Step 3:

Make 18 equal sized balls with the prepared stuffing(halwa). Cover it with a lid and keep aside.

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Step 4:

Take the dough prepared in Step -1 and knead it again. Divide the dough into 18 equal parts. Take one part of the dough, place it on a plastic sheet(greased with ghee) and spread it a little with your fingers .Place a halwa ball in the center. Gently pull the dough from the edges and cover the halwa ball as shown below.

Step 5:

Flip it and press it gently with your fingers(greased with ghee) to make a medium thick poori.

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Step 7:

Now you can cook it in two ways. You can deep fry it or you can pan roast it.

To make the deep fried verison,

Heat the oil in a wide pan. When the oil is hot, gently lift the prepared poori from the plastic sheet and put it in the hot oil . When it is fried on one side, flip it to the other side. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove and place it on a plate lined with paper towel. While the poori is frying, prepare another poori (as shown in Step 4 and Step 5) for deep frying . Repeat the process. They taste best warm and straight out of the deep frying pan. They also taste good at room temperature. To store them for later use, let them cool completely and store them in an air tight container at room temperature for 2 days.

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To make pan roasted version,

Place a pan on medium/low  heat. When the pan is hot, gently lift the prepared poori from the plastic sheet and transfer it to the pan. Cook it on both sides on medium/low heat. Apply ghee on the roasted halwa polis. It is optional but it elevates the taste of halwa polis. Let them cool completely and store them in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Place a piece of parchment paper between each halwa poori to prevent sticking. They will stay super soft for 2-3 days.

Enjoy Sajja Obbattlu(Halwa Polelu) with Ugadi Pachadi and Raw Mango rice(Mamidikaya Pulihora)!!

Ugadi Subhakankshalu to all the Telugu readers who are celebrating this festival!!!

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Medu Vada/Gaarelu/Urad Dal Vada/Uddina Vada

Medu Vada is a traditional South Indian dish. It is a deep fried snack made with Urad Dal. Medu Vadas are usually served for breakfast and are also enjoyed as a snack. These crispy vadas are loved by all, and are usually prepared on all festivals and special occasions. Gaarelu(Medu Vadas), Pulihora(Tamarind Rice or Lemon Rice) and Paayasam(A dessert made with milk and vermicelli/rice) are must-have festival dishes in most South Indian homes.

We had a snow forecast for Tuesday, March 14th, and I got an email saying that our local schools would be closed on that day. Consequently, I decided to make medu vada for our breakfast, so my kids can enjoy them. I soaked urad dal on Monday night and made vadas on Tuesday(the snow day). Later in the day, I also posted a short Vada Making video on Facebook and got numerous requests to share the procedure of making these vadas. I had taken step by step pictures while preparing the batter, as I had plans to post the recipe and procedure in my blog later. However, I started drafting the post today itself as I did not want anyone to wait any longer 🙂

 

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Ingredients:

Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 160ml

Whole Urad Gota (whole urad without skin) – 2 cups

Salt – 1 & 1/4 Tsp.

Vegetable oil –  for deep frying

Procedure:

Step 1:

In a bowl, add 2 cups of urad dal. Rinse it 3-4 times, until the water runs clear. Soak it in a sufficient amount of water.  I usually soak the dal overnight and prepare the batter early in the morning.

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Step 2:

Grind urad dal in two batches.

Drain the water from the urad dal. Add 1 Tbsp. ice cold water in the wet grinder and turn it on. While it is running add the urad dal(half of the soaked urad dal) and grind it for 3-4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the grinder with a spatula that comes with the wet grinder. After 3-4 minutes the wet grinder slows down(in the speed) because there is not enough moisture to grind the batter.

Tip: Grind only 1 cup of ural dal at a time, and grind it for 15 minutes in a wet grinder. Grinding only a small quantity of dal at a time ensures smooth grinding of the batter. This tip was shared by friend Laxmi.

 

Step 3:

Now, we need to speed up the wet grinder and run it smoothly.  I will share another simple tip that was shared by my friend Laxmi.  Add 1/2 Tsp. salt to the batter. The addition of salt works like magic and the wet grinder comes back to the regular speed. After 3 minutes, add one more Tbsp. ice cold water(if needed).  Let it run for another 4 minutes.

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Step 4:

Finally, add 1 Tbsp. of crushed ice to the batter(Do not add ice cubes, they are too big). This will prevent the batter from heating up. Continue grinding for another 4 minutes. Turn off the wet grinder. Transfer the batter into a bowl. The batter will be thick, and fluffy at the same time. It will also have a slightly coarse texture.

Grind the rest of the soaked urad dal in a similar way.

I used 2 Tbsp. water, 1/2 Tsp. salt and 1 Tbsp. crushed ice to grind 1 cup urad dal. I added them gradually and run the wet grinder continuously for 15 minutes. By following this process, I get perfect batter with perfect consistency every single time. You can also add less water for a thicker batter. Adding more than 3 Tbsp. water for 1 cup urad dal will result in a runny batter.

Do not rest the batter after preparing it. The batter starts fermenting and it will absorb lot of oil when deep fried. If you need to rest the batter, then store it in the refrigerator to avoid fermentation. Keep it outside few minutes before you want to make vadas. After keeping the batter outside, let it come to room temperature before you start making vadas.

Step 5:

Add another 1/4 Tsp. salt in the batter and mix the batter with clean hands. The amount of salt can be adjusted according to your taste. Mix the batter for 1-2 minutes to incorporate air in the batter. Wash your hands.

Tip: To check if the batter is airy, take a small portion of the batter and drop it in a bowl filled with water. The batter should float on top. It indicates that the batter is airy and fluffy.

Step 6:

Add the oil in a wide thick bottomed pan. Place the pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, start making vadas. Take some water in a bowl. Dip your right hand fingers in the water and take a small portion of the batter. Make a round ball and press it gently to flatten it.. Make a small hole in the center with your right thumb. Hold your hand little above the hot oil to gently drop the vada in the pan. Be careful! You can fry 5-6 vadas at a time. Deep fry until they turn golden brown on both sides.

Do not deep fry them on high heat. If you fry vadas on high heat, they will be fried from outside but remain uncooked inside.

I am sharing a small video to help you understand the process better.

Serve them hot with coconut chutney and Tiffin Sambar. You can find the recipe for Tiffin Sambar here.

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Notes: I shared a plain version of Medu Vada, but you can add your choice of additional ingredients(listed below) in the medu vada batter to enhance the flavor and taste. I usually add finely chopped fresh ginger, coarsely crushed black pepper, finely chopped green chillies and finely chopped curry leaves. When I make them for my kids, I add finely chopped onions, finely chopped cilantro, and crushed black pepper.

Here is the list of additional ingredients that can be added into the medu vada batter.

Coarsely Crushed black pepper seeds- 7-8

Finely chopped green chillies – 3 or 4

Finely chopped ginger – 1 or 2 Tsp.

Finely chopped curry leaves – 10 or 12

Finely chopped Cilantro – 1 Tsp.

Finely chopped onion – 1/4 cup

Asafoetida(a pinch)

Enjoy hot and crispy medu vadas as a breakfast or snack!!!!

 

Kashata – Coconut Candy

Today, I am sharing the recipe of ‘Kashata’ snack/no bake cookie/candy from Congo. It is a popular sweet snack of East Africa. My daughter and I made this together for a Girl Scout project. She was instructed to prepare food from a wide variety of countries. She chose the country of Congo for her project, and went to the public library to research different types of food from Congo. After searching through all the recipe books from there, she found this recipe and it interested her. We adapted the recipe from the book ‘The Democratic Republic of Congo’.

I helped her make this and we cut them into small pieces. She told me that many of the people that tasted this, enjoyed it. It has a texture similar to hard candy.  If I have to compare it with an Indian dessert, I would say that it tasted like Kobbari Chikki/Coconut Brittle.

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Ingredients:

Measuring cup used: 1 Cup  = 250ml

I am sharing the list of ingredients as mentioned in the book and also sharing my adaptation in the recipe.

Sugar – 2 cups(I used granulated sugar)

Fresh grated coconut or Desiccated coconut(moistened with 2 Tbsp. water) or Roasted peanuts(shells and skins removed) – 2 cups

(You can make it with roasted peanuts or fresh grated coconut or desiccated coconut. I used desiccated coconut, moistened with 2 Tbsp. water)

Cardamom powder or Ground cinnamon -1& 1/2 Tsp.(I used 1/2 Tsp. cardamom powder)

Salt – 1/8 Tsp.

Wheat flour – 1/2 cup(optional)(I did not use it)

Procedure:

Step 1:

Line a 8*8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Spray non-stick  cooking spray on the bottom and the sides of the pan.

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Step 2:

In a wide bowl, add 2 cups dessicated coconut, salt and cardamom powder. Mix them with a spoon. Add 2 Tbsp. water and mix it to moisten the coconut.

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Step 3:

Add 2 cups sugar to a thick wide bottomed pan. Place the pan over medium heat and melt the sugar. Sugar begins to melt. Use a wooden spatula and stir occasionally. Sugar will look lumpy in some parts. It will eventually melt. Do not leave it unattended.

Step 4:

Lower the heat and add the desiccated coconut, salt and cardamom powder mixture(that we prepared in Step 2)

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Step 5:

Continue to stir for about a minute until everything is well mixed. Turn off the heat.

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Step 6:

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan lined with parchment paper. Spread it evenly by patting it with the back of a greased spoon or a greased small flat bottomed cup. While the mixture is still warm, make marks on it with the greased knife. You can cut into desired shapes.

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Step 7:

Let it cool completely. The pieces will separate very easily. Store them in an air tight container. My daughter’s troop leader cut them into mini bite size pieces and served them in mini disposable cups.

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It is very delicious and easy to make. Enjoy!!!!

Batasha/Chilaka Perlu/Sugar Drops

Happy Holi to all the readers who are celebrating the festival on this Weekend.  Holi is a festival of colors. It is celebrated on a full moon day in the month of ‘Phalguna’, according to the Hindu calendar. It is a celebration of the victory over evil and the arrival of spring. It is a joyous celebration where friends and families meet and play with colored powders/colored water. I wanted to share the recipe of a traditional sweet ‘Batasha/Chilaka Perlu/Sugar Drops’, that has almost become extinct in many places. There is a tradition of offering ‘A garland made of  Batasha/Sugar drops’  to the god/goddess on the day of Holi festival. The same garland is put on the children/little kids at home, for their well being. I didn’t know the recipe and procedure to make these at home, when my kids were little. They weren’t available in the Indian stores in USA. I decided to save this traditional recipe in my blog. I thought, it would also be helpful to those who want to follow and continue this tradition. I found the recipe here. It is so easy to make these at home. ‘Batasha’ is a crispy sweet made of sugar syrup. Melted sugar is made porous by adding baking soda and then solidified in the desired shapes. They are also made in different colors and is usually made in a drop shape. The other popular shape for this candy is Parrot(Chilaka, in Telugu language)shape. A wooden mold is used to give the desired shape.  There are different traditions that are associated with Batasha/Sugar Drops. The traditions vary from region to region in India. This sugar garland reminds me of Hyderabad, the city where I grew up. It is like revisiting my childhood. These sugar garlands were hanged at most of the shops that sell colors for Holi festival. I feel nostalgic as I write this recipe.

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Ingredients

Measuring cup used: 1 Cup = 250ml

This recipe yields approximately 25-30 Batasha/Sugar Drops

Granulated white sugar – 1 cup

Water – 1/4 cup

Baking Soda – 1/4 Tsp.

Any food color of your choice – (optional)

Thread/Cooking twine – to make garland

Silpat(baking mat) or Aluminum foil

Line a thread/cooking twine on the Silpat and keep it ready. We will pour the prepared syrup on the thread to make a garland.

Procedure:

Step 1:

Add sugar and water in a  wide thick bottomed pan. Mix it well. Place it on medium heat and keep stirring.

Step 2:

The sugar starts melting and the syrup continues to cook. Cook the syrup for 5-8 minutes until the desired consistency(hard ball stage) is reached. The syrup looks bubbly and it almost  begins to crystallize.

Step 3:

Check if the sugar has reached the required consistency. Put a small amount of the syrup in a small bowl filled with water. The syrup should come together to form a ball.

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Step 4:

Turn off the heat. Add baking soda and stir. The mixture becomes porous and also turns into bright white color.

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Step 5:

Scoop out a spoonful of the syrup from the pan and pour it on the thread lined on the Silpat(baking mat)/Aluminuim foil. Repeat until the syrup is the pan is finished. You need to be really quick and very careful. I made some sugar drops without adding any food color. I quickly added a drop of yellow color in the sugar syrup, stirred it and made yellow colored sugar drops. The sugar will crystallize really fast. You need be really quick and also careful. Let them dry completely on the Silpat.

Step 6:

You can easily lift it off the Silpat/Aluminum foil. Store them in an airtight container.

Notes:

If the sugar syrup mixture solidifies before you make all the sugar drops, add 1-2 tbsp. water to the mixture and place the pan on heat. Cook the syrup for a minute or two and make the sugar drops.

I hope you enjoy making these traditional sweet sugar drops/Batasha!!!!

Gulkand Stuffed Paan Coconut Ladoo

Gulkand stuffed paan coconut ladoo is an absolutely easy and extremely tasty dessert recipe. The combination of gulkand, paan leaves and coconut is a delight for paan lovers. This recipe was shared by a fellow blogger Manali Singh. This recipe had gone viral and everyone was raving about the taste of these ladoos. I could not resist. I had to try this recipe. I followed this recipe without any changes. I prepared these ladoos for a Diwali potluck at my husband’s work place. It was a super hit dessert in the potluck.

The addition of betel leaves and rose petal preserve(Gulkand) to a delicious coconut ladoo, makes for an incredibly unique dessert.

Update 11/07/2017: I updated the post with step by step pictures. I clicked the pictures, when I made them again recently.

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Ingredients:

Measuring cup used: 1 cup = 250ml

Serves 10-12 Ladoos

Desiccated coconut/Dry coconut powder – 1 cup + 2 Tbsp.

Paan leaves/Betel leaves – 4

Condensed milk – 1/2 cup

Gulkand(Rose petal preserve) – 4-5 Tbsp.

Ghee – 1 Tsp.

Green food color – optional

more desiccated coconut, for rolling

Procedure:

Step 1:

Add chopped paan leaves and condensed milk in a food processor. Pulse them until both the ingredients are well combined.

Step 2:

Add ghee in a wide pan. Place the pan on medium heat. Once the ghee is hot, add the desiccated coconut and roast for 2-3 minutes on low heat.

Step 3:

Add the prepared condensed milk and paan mixture. Stir it well.

 

Step 4:

Add few drops of green food color and mix it well. The addition of food color  is totally optional.

 

Step 5:

Keep stirring the ingredients. Cook the mixture on low heat for couple of minutes. It will thicken. Turn off the heat.

Step 6:

Transfer the mixture to a wide bowl and let it cool down a bit.

Step 7:

Grease your hands with little ghee, take a small portion from the coconut mixture and flatten it. Add 1/2 – 1 Tsp. of gulkand in the center. Bring the edges together and roll to form a round ladoo.

 

Step 8:

Repeat the process with the remaining mixture. Roll the prepared ladoos in desiccated coconut.

 

Step 9:

Let them cool completely. Store them in a glass container in the refrigerator.

In a formal traditional Indian meal, Dessert is usually served as a last course of the meal followed by a Meetha Paan. Betel leaves/Paan Leaves are considered to be a digestive aid and Meetha Paan(made from betel leaves with a sweet filling inside) is usually eaten after a sumptuous meal. Paan flavored Coconut Ladoo is a combination of a dessert and a meetha paan. It is a  delicious digestive dessert.

The distinctive taste of paan and gulkand filling, adds a refreshing taste to these coconut ladoos. It is an easy and delighful dessert to try out for any festive occassion.

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