Diwali Sweets and Snacks

Now that Diwali is just few days away, I am sure many of you are busy dishes in advance. Just like last year,I have put together recipe links to sweets and snacks recipes that I have posted earlier.  Hope you find something fun and interesting:

Sweets/Mithai

Snacks

Banana Sooji Halwa/Sheera/ Balehannu Sajjige

Wishing all readers a happy and blessed festival of Navarathri.


This Banana Semolina pudding or halwa or sheera is one of the easiest Indian sweet dishes that I know of. Although it involves three different processes, all made simultaneously it comes together in no time. If I need to make something quick for a pooja neivedya then I either resort to preparing this or the Sweet Poha. This recipe is also a good way to use up any overripe bananas.

This Sheera or the plain one (without any fruits) is usually prepared during SatyaNarayana Pooja and offered as Prasad. While preparing this please be sure to be liberal with the Ghee, otherwise the Halwa might have a dry taste. That said, do not overindulge in ghee, otherwise it will end up being greasy. Using oil as substitute for ghee might not have the desired taste.

Even though I am a huge fan of using cardamom and saffron (kesari) in Indian desserts, I do not use them here. I feel that way just the flavors of the cooked banana and ghee will be able to stand out, instead of the powering taste of the cardamom.

If you want, you can substitute pineapple or mango pulp instead of the mashed banana for a different fruity take on this Indian semolina pudding.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Rava/Semolina/Sooji (fine)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 2 medium ripe bananas (peeled & mashed)
  • Handful of raisins, cashews (broken into pieces)

Method:

  • Boil the water and milk together in a sauce pan/vessel.
  • While this is boiling in another big pan roast the Rava/ Sooji/Semolina on medium flame in 2 Tbsp of Ghee until it turns nutty and light brown. At this time there will be a heavenly toasted aroma of semolina waffling through.
  • Add in the sugar to the roasted rava and stir well.
  • Add the boiled milk and water to this in batches, while stirring the roasted rava/semolina continuously.
  • After a while the liquid gets completely absorbed and the rava/semolina plumps up.
  • Add the mashed banana to this semolina mixture and mix well.
  • Now add the remaining ghee and stir making sure it does not stick to the bottom.
  • Fry the raisins and cashews in about 2 tsp of ghee. Make sure the raisins plump up and the cashews obtain light brown color.
  • Add this toasted raisin and cashew to the freshly prepared halwa. Serve warm.

Sweet Poha/ Goda Pohvu

Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is called Poha in Hindi, Avalakki in Kannada, Atukulu in Telugu and Aval in Tamil. In India, Poha/ Flattened rice is easily available and is usually associated with simplicity. Poha is considered a favorite of Lord Krishna and so this sweet dish is usually prepared on the occasion of Krishna Janamashathami. 

Simple, divine and earthy are the trademarks of this Sweet Poha. Even though there are only four ingredients Poha, jaggery, coconut, cardamom, people prepare this in hundred different ways. Some heat the jaggery and coconut while others do not, some do not wet the poha, and some do not mix coconut jiggery together …you get the idea. I pretty much follow my ma-in-law’s recipe which is common in the Konkani households. This is also called as “Kaleyle Pohvu” in Konkani. Since we do not heat the jaggery and add the poha this is comparatively dry compared to the other south Indian versions. 

If you are looking for some savory Indian recipes using Poha then, here are some: 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Poha (thin flakes)
  • 3/4 cup jaggery/gud/bella (powdered)
  • 3/4 cup shredded fresh coconut ( + ¼ cup for topping)
  • 2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • 10-15 cashews bits
  • 10-15 raisins
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds

Method:

  • Note: It is best to use fresh coconut for this as it has its own juice. The frozen ones are dry and do not have moisture.
  • Make sure the jaggery is fully powdered and there are no lumps in it.
  • Heat a small skillet and dry roast sesame seeds till it turns light brown and sputters. Transfer to a plate.
  • In the same skillet heat ghee and add cashews, fry until light brown and then add the raisins until it plumps.
  • Take a big steel bowl and mix the coconut and jaggery together by using hands. Keep aside for 30 minutes. After a while you will notice that the jaggery has melted and there is thick liquid.
  • Take the poha in another bowl and sprinkle some water over it, mix it using hands, turning it around evenly. Sprinkle more as required. (Make sure there is no excess water).
  • Note: I do not soak the poha, just wet it sufficiently and I let the liquid from jaggery seep into the soaked poha.
  • Now add this wet poha, cardamom powder, 1 tsp melted ghee to the jaggery coconut mixture and mix well. Set aside stirring in between.
  • Add the roasted sesame seeds, fried cashews, raisins and mix well.
  • Finally add ¼ cup shredded coconut for garnish and some color.

 

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