Shakkarpara/Shankarpali/Sweet Diamond Cuts – Deep Fried & Baked Versions

Shakkarpara is a traditional Indian sweet snack which is commonly prepared during Diwali. They are crunchy and sweet in taste and simply hard to resist. They can be made in advance and stored for a long time. It was my most favorite snack in my childhood. It can be made in different ways. I am sharing a deep fried version and a baked version. The deep fried version is learnt from my mom.

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Deep Fried Version

Lets begin by keeping the ingredients ready.

Shakkarpara Deep Fried Version:

Measuring cup used: 1 cup = 250ml

Ingredients:

All Purpose Flour – 2 cups(approximately)

Ghee – 1/2 cup

Whole Milk – 1/2 cup

Granulated White Sugar – 1/2 cup

Vegetable Oil/Peanut Oil – For deep frying

Procedure:

Step 1:

In a sauce pan, add sugar, milk and ghee and place it on low heat. Mix all the ingredients. Heat it just until the sugar melts. Turn off the heat.

Step 2:

Let it cool completely. Transfer it into a wide bowl.

Step 3:

Add approximately 2 cups all purpose flour(as needed) in the above liquid mixture to form a semi soft dough. Knead it for few seconds. No need to rest the dough.

Step 4:

Place the dough on a parchment paper. Grease a rolling pin with ghee and roll the dough into a medium thick layer.

Step 5:

Cut it into diamond shapes or any desired shape.

Step 6:

Deep fry them in oil on medium heat. Remove and place them on a paper towel.

Step 7:

Let them cool completely. Store them in an air tight container.

Note: For the deep fried version, we can use any size of measuring cup but sugar, milk and ghee should be in equal quantities and must be measured using the same cup. The flour should be added as needed to form a semi soft dough.

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Deep Fried Version

Last year, I tried to make a baked version of Shakkarpara using whole wheat flour. The result was yummy Shakkarpara minus the extra calories that come from deep frying, plus the goodness of whole wheat flour. I am sharing the baked version of the recipe below.

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Baked Version

Lets begin by keeping the ingredients ready.

Shakkarpara Baked Version with Whole Wheat Flour:

Ingredients:

Measuring cup used: 1 cup = 250ml

Whole Wheat Flour – 2 cups(approximately)

Ghee – 1/2 cup

Whole Milk – 1/2 cup

Granulated White Sugar – 1/2 cup

Baking Powder  1/2 Tsp.

Salt – a pinch

Procedure:

Step 1:

In a sauce pan, add sugar, milk and ghee and place it on low heat. Mix all the ingredients. Heat it just until the sugar melts. Turn off the heat.

Step 2:

Let it cool completely. Transfer it into a wide bowl.

Step 3:

Sift the whole wheat flour, baking powder and salt together.

Add approximately 2 cups sifted flour(as needed) in the prepared liquid mixture to form a semi soft dough. Cover the dough for 15 minutes. Knead it for few seconds.

Step 4:

Preheat the oven to 300F

Step 5:

Place the dough on a parchment paper. Grease a rolling pin with ghee and roll the dough into a medium thick layer.

Step 6:

Cut it into diamond shapes.

Step 7:

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Arrange the diamond shaped pieces in the baking tray. Make sure they are not crowded or overlapped.

Step 8:

Bake them for around 25- 30 minutes. Flip the pieces after 15 minutes when the top turns light brown. The baking time varies with the thickness and the size of the pieces.

Step 9:

Remove from the oven and let them cool completely. Store them in an air tight container.

I love to do, kid-friendly presentation of the food I make. Last year I  made a mini Shakkarpara house,  just like a ginger bread house. I have used the baked version of Shakkarapa recipe to make it. Here is the picture.

Choose your favorite method of making this traditional sweet snack. Whichever way it is made, they are delicious for sure!!!!! 🙂

Carrot Halwa/Gajar Ka Halwa

Carrot Halwa is a traditional dessert made with grated carrots, milk, nuts, ghee, mawa and sugar. It tastes divine and is loved by both kids and adults. The traditional version learnt from my MIL includes  mawa but I prefer the plain version without mawa. Kids will love to have it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I made these carrot halwa diyas last year for Diwali. As Diwali is approaching soon, I thought of posting the recipe in my blog before this Diwali. I am sure kids will be delighted when ice cream is served to them in these carrot halwa diyas.

Lets begin by gathering the ingredients which is a very important step before making any recipe.

Ingredients:

Grated Carrot – 2 cups

Whole Milk – 1/2 cup

Granulated White Sugar – Little less than 1/2 cup

Cardamom Powder – 1/4 Tsp.

Water – 1/4 cup

Saffron – a pinch(soak it in 1 tbsp. warm milk)

Ghee – 1/4 cup

Fresh Mawa/Khoya(unsweetened) – 1/4 cup(optional)

Cashews – 8(chopped into small pieces)

Finely chopped Pistachios for garnishing

Whole Almonds – 8-10 for garnishing

Procedure To Prepare Carrot Halwa:

Step 1:

In a wide heavy bottomed pan, add the ghee and fry cashews on low heat until golden brown. Remove and keep aside.

Step 2:

Add the grated carrot in the same ghee and fry until the raw smell is gone.

Step 3:

Add the milk to the carrots and cook until the milk is absorbed by the carrots.

Step 4:

Mean while in a small sauce pan, add the sugar and water and boil the mixture until one string consistency(not more than that). Sugar quantity can be adjusted as per your taste.

Usually sugar is added directly in the cooked carrot mixture. My Peddatha(My MIL’s co-sister) gave me this idea of making the sugar syrup and adding it to the cooked carrot mixture. I tried it once and really loved the taste and follow this method. She also told me to add mawa and said that mawa enhances the taste of carrot halwa. I personally do not like the addition of mawa in carrot halwa. You can choose your option.

Step 5:

Now add the sugar syrup in the carrot mixture. Add saffron along with the milk it was soaked in. Cook until everything come together.  Add cardamom powder and chopped cashews. Mix well.

(If you are adding mawa, add it 2-3 minutes before turning off the heat). I did not add mawa.  Turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.  Serve warm with or without vanilla ice cream. Tastes great either ways. Choose your option. 🙂

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Procedure To Prepare Carrot Halwa Diyas:

To make Diyas, we need to cook carrot halwa a little longer until it comes together into a thick mass and it will set like burfi after cooling. We can also skip the step of adding roasted cashews in the halwa.

To prepare moon shaped diyas, grease a parchment paper with ghee and some spread carrot mixture evenly on it. Let it cool completely. Cut into moon shape using a cookie cutter. Place an almond in the center. Garnish with chopped pistachios.

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To prepare the bowl shaped diyas, grease round silicon molds with ghee. Spread the carrot mixture in the silicon cup in a thick layer. Let it cool completely. You can also refrigerate them for few minutes to cool faster. Carefully unmold carrot halwa cups from the silicon molds. Pinch gently on one side of the carrot halwa cup to shape it like a diya. Add vanilla ice cream and an almond before serving. Hope you enjoy making this Cute and Sweet dessert. This is a perfect make ahead dessert for Diwali themed potlucks and they  will look pretty on the dessert table.

This year(2016) on October 5, the U.S. Postal Service commemorated festival  of Diwali with a forever stamp. To celebrate this happy news, I tried to create a Diwali stamp food art with my carrot halwa diya .

This Diwali, Light up your homes with Carrot Halwa Diyas!!!!!!

Besan Laddu/Ladoo

Besan Laddoo is one of the most popular festival dessert made with roasted chick pea flour(besan). Besan laddoos can be made instantly without any prior preparation. You just need to be prepared for lot of stirring and the effort is really worth it.

My MIL prepares this Laddoos very frequently.  I dry roast besan first and then roast it in the ghee for few minutes. My son loves these Laddoos.

I made these laddus for Navratri. As tomorrow is Karva Chauth festival, I thought of posting this recipe in my blog today.

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Lets begin by keeping all the ingredients ready. Besan Ladoos can be prepared with just 5 ingredients.

Ingredients:

Measuring Cup Used: 1 Cup = 250ml

Besan/Chickpea Flour – 1 cup

Granulated white sugar – 3/4 cup

Ghee – 1/3 cup

Cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp.

Cashews – 10 (optional)

Method:

Step 1:

Prepare powdered sugar. Add the granulated sugar in a blender jar and grind it into a fine powder. Keep aside.

Step 2:

We need to roast the besan. Roasting should be done on low heat. It approximately needs 20 minutes of dry roasting time and 7-10 minutes of roasting in the ghee.

Add 1 cup besan in a wide hard anodized thick bottomed pan. Dry roast the besan on low heat for 20 minutes. Do not leave the pan unattended because the besan will tend to turn burn very quickly. Keep roasting continuously.  The roasting time varies if you are using a thin bottomed pan.

Step 3:

Add ghee in the same pan and continue to roast the besan on low heat. The mixture will look like very thick batter at this time.  It will take  about 7-10 minutes. Roast until the color of besan is changed to dark yellow color and all the raw smell of besan disappears. You should begin to smell nice aroma released from the roasted besan. Turn off the heat.

Step 4:

Let it cool.  Keep stirring every few minutes. Besan and ghee mixture should not cool down to the room temperature but needs to be slightly warm.

Step 5:

When besan is cooled to the desired temperature, add the powdered sugar, cardamom powder and mix it well.

Step 6:

Start making Ladoos. Place a cashew on top while making ladoo(I skipped this step as my son doesn’t like it).

When my kids were toddlers, I used to roast the cashews in ghee, powder them and add it to the roasted besan mixture before making laddoos.

Store them in an air tight container and enjoy as a dessert or snack!!!

 

Don’t eat them all at once!!! 😀😀😀

Note: My MIL roasts the besan directly in the ghee.  She doesn’t dry roast the besan. She uses at least half cup ghee for one cup besan.  Besan ladoos have a shiny look when more ghee is used. Either way they taste great!!!

I made these ladoos again today(August 7th, 2017) on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan festival. Updating the post with the picture. image

 

 

 

 

Thin Poha Chudwa/Chivda

Poha Chudwa is an all time favorite evening snack. It is especially prepared during Dussehra and Diwali festivals. My mom used to prepare this and stock up all year round. We used to love munching on this snack. Now, I prepare this snack and stock up almost all year round and my kids enjoy munching on it. 🙂

My MIL prepares a deep fried version of this snack and she uses thick poha. My mom prepares a pan roasted version and she uses thin poha. This is a very simple and healthy snack that can be prepared in 10 minutes and can be stored for more than 10 days. It is my comfort snack to have with my hot cup of tea. I am sharing my mom’s way of making this classic snack.

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Begin the process by gathering all the ingredients that are needed to prepare this yummy snack.

Ingredients:

Measuring cup used: 1 cup = 250ml

Thin Poha  – 7 cups(Heaped)

Peanuts – 3/4 cup

Roasted Chana Dal/Dalia – 1/2 cup

Curry Leaves around – 20-25

Green chillies  – 2 (finely chopped)

Cumin Powder – 1 tsp.

Coriander Powder – 1 tsp.

Dry Mango/Amchur Powder – 1/2 tsp.

Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp.

Granulated Sugar – 1/2  tsp.

Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp.

Vegetable Oil/Peanut oil – 1/3 cup

Cashews – 1/4 cup (halves)

Salt as needed

Procedure:

Step 1:

Place a big wide pan on medium heat. Add the oil.

Step 2:

Once the oil is hot, add peanuts and fry for few minutes. As peanuts take longer time to fry than the other ingredients, we need to add them first and fry for few minutes.  Add chopped green chillies. Add cashews and fry for few seconds. Add roasted chana dal and curry leaves. Fry until the nuts are golden brown.

Step 3:

Reduce the heat or turn off the heat. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, amchur powder, turmeric powder and salt.

Step 4:

Mix all the spices in the pan. Add sugar. Mix again. Make sure the spices doesn’t burn.

Step 5:

Now add poha and mix well so that they are well coated with the spices. Heat the poha mixture for 7-8 minutes on low heat. Continuously mixing the contents in the pan is very important to avoid burning the contents. Do not move away.

Step 6:

Turn off the heat. Let the poha mixture cool in the pan(This process will add more crispiness to poha).

Step 7:

Transfer the prepared poha chudwa to an air tight container after it is completely cooled.

Enjoy this tasty snack with a hot cup of tea or coffee!!!

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Here is a short video of the whole process:

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Oliga/Poornam Bobbattu/Puran Poli

The first post in my  blog is my mom’s Puran Poli recipe. It is my  favorite Indian dessert. I cannot thank my mom enough for teaching me how to make this delicious sweet dish. My mom prepared this traditional sweet for all of the festivals. She used to wake up at 4am and grind cooked dal using a mortar and pestle. I appreciate and thank my mom for all the love and effort she put to make this delicious traditional dish for everyone in my family for every festival. I am really happy to share my mom’s recipe with all of you. I hope you enjoy making them with this simple step by step recipe with pictures. Happy Vijaya Dasami to everyone who is celebrating it today.

Puran Poli is a soft, thin, flatbread with a delicious stuffing made with lentils and jaggery. There are different variations of this recipe. My mom uses all purpose flour or sooji (fine variety) to prepare the outer layer and she makes the stuffing using toor dal (split pigeon peas) and jaggery. It is known as Oliga at my mom’s place.

My MIL uses whole wheat flour to prepare the outer layer and she makes the stuffing using chana dal (split black gram) and jaggery. It is known as Pappu Polay at my MIL’s place. This traditional sweet dish is known with different names  Oliga / Poornam Bobbattu / Pappu Polay / Holige / Obbattu / Bakshaalu. Recently someone had mentioned that it is also known as ‘Tel Poli’.

Today I am sharing my mom’s method of making Puran Poli / Oliga.

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Lets begin by keeping all the ingredients ready. Planning ahead of time is very important to make this traditional dessert because the dough needs be rested for at least  1-2 hours.

Ingredients:

Measuring Cup used: 1 cup = 250ml

For the outer layer:

All Purpose Flour or Fine Sooji(also known as Chiroti Rava) – 1 cup

Salt – 1/8 Tsp.

Cooking Oil – 1/4 cup

Baking Soda – 1/8 Tsp.(optional)(Refer Notes in the bottom of the post)

For the stuffing/Poornam:

Toor Dal – 1 cup

Grated Jaggery – 1 cup

Turmeric Powder – 1/8 Tsp.

Ghee – 1 Tbsp.

Additional ghee to spread on the roasted puran polis(optional)

Procedure:

The first step is to prepare the dough for the outer layer.

The dough can be prepared using all purpose flour or fine Sooji. I have made them several times using all purpose flour. I used all purpose flour for the outer layer, to make puran polis in the above pictures. I made them during Navratri this year.

I used Sooji(fine variety) for the outer layer, to make puran polis in the below picture. I had taken the step by step pictures last year, when I made them with fine Sooji. The fine variety of Sooji  is also known as Chiroti Rava in India.

This recipe will yield 16 Puran Polis.

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Step 1:

Procedure to prepare the dough for the outer layer: In a wide bowl, add 1 cup all purpose flour or 1 cup Sooji(fine variety) and a pinch of salt. Mix it well. Make a soft dough by adding water. Add 2-3 tablespoons of oil to the dough (You can add about 1/4 cup of oil 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.

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Step 2:

Procedure to prepare the stuffing (poornam): Pour about 5 1/2 cups of water into a sauce pan. Add 1 cup of washed toor dal, 1 tablespoon of ghee and a pinch of turmeric into the sauce pan. Cook the toor dal until it is soft. Be careful not to get it too mushy. Remove the froth that forms on the top. Strain the toor dal and save the water for later to prepare rasam / poornam chaaru / oliga chaaru.

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Step 3:

This step can be done in 2 different methods. In the first method the grated jaggery  is used directly. In the second method we are melting the jaggery and filtering it to remove any dirt or impurities in the jaggery, if any. I have used the second method.

First Method: Add one cup of grated jaggery and one tablespoon of water into a wide pan. After the jaggery is melted add the cooked toor dal. Cook it on low heat until the mixture comes together. Let it cool.

Second Method: ( Note- This process takes little longer)
Add 1/3 cup water and 1 cup grated jaggery in a sauce pan, and heat it until the jaggery melts. Next, filter the jaggery water using a strainer. This process will remove the dirt and impurities in the jaggery, if any. Add this filtered jaggery water into a wide pan. Add the strained toor dal, and cook it on low heat until it comes together.

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Step 4:

Grind the toor dal and jaggery mixture until it is soft, then add cardamom powder. Mix it well. 

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Step 5:

If the mixture is runny, put it in the pan on low heat, and stir it until the spatula can stand in it without falling down. Let it cool.

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Step 6:

Make 17 equal sized balls with the prepared stuffing(poornam). One poornam ball can be kept aside and used in the rasam preparation. Cover them and keep aside.

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Step 7:

Take the dough prepared in Step -1 and knead it again. Divide the dough into 16 equal parts. Take one part of the dough, place it on the parchment paper and spread it a little with your fingers .Place a poornam ball in the center. Gently pull the dough from the edges and cover the poornam ball as shown below.

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Step 8:

Turn it upside down and add little oil on top. Spread it little with greased fingers.

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Step 9:

Add a plastic sheet on top and spread it into a thin layer with your fingers or rolling pin.   (Cut a ziploc cover into two sheets and use one sheet for this purpose).

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Step 10:

Transfer it to a pan and cook it on both sides on low heat. The pictures will help you understand the process.

Apply ghee on the roasted puran polis. It is optional but I think the ghee elevates the taste of puran polis. Serve warm puran poli  with dollop of ghee or a bowl of warm milk. Dunk it in the warm milk and enjoy!!!!

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I am also sharing a short video to show the process from steps 7-10. Here is the video:

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Apply some extra ghee on top at the time of serving and enjoy!!!!

Notes: After a few hours of making puran polis, the outer layer of the puran poli might turn hard for different reasons. Here are some tips to avoid it.

  1. This happens if the quality of all purpose flour is not very good. Here is a tip from my mom: Adding 1/8 tsp. baking soda while preparing the dough will keep the outer layer soft for a longer time. Add 1/8 tsp. baking soda for 1 cup all purpose flour while preparing the dough.
  2. The dough should be kneaded really well. You need to punch and stretch the dough for 3-4 minutes and let it rest for 1-2 hours. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer with the dough hook attachment to knead the dough. I kneaded the dough in the stand mixer for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Do not roast puran polis on high heat and do not roast them for too long.

Microwaving puran poli for 10-12 seconds before serving will make it softer.

I have included all the tips and techniques that I learnt from my Mom, who is an expert in making Puran Polis. My goal is to make the process easy for a beginner planning to make this traditional dessert!!!

Happy Dussehra!!!!!!!