Thali means platter. This platter is special because it has all the dishes served on festivals. This particular is for Navmi (last day of Navratra). This food is offered to Goddess and then to nine little girls. The compulsory dishes for the offering are Halwa (Pudding), Puri (Fried Indian flat bread) and Kala chana (Black gram). Rest of the menu is optional.
I have already posted the recipes for Halwa(Pudding), Kala Chana, Khaman Dhokla and Shahi Kheer.
Link for Aata Halwa or Pudding recipe:
Link for Kala Chana recipe:
Note: But for this special festival navratri menu, avoid using onions and garlic in the food.
Link for Khaman-Dhokla recipe:
Link for Shahi Kheer recipe:
Shakarpara means sugar treats. These are small diamond shaped sweets usually made during Diwali or other festivals. These sweets can be stored in air tight containers for 3-4 weeks.
Approx. 12 servings
- Wheat flour – 1 cup
- All purpose flour (Maida) – 1/2 cup
- Ghee or butter – 1/2 cup
- Sugar – 1 cup
- Milk – 1/4 cup
- Cooking oil for frying
- In a large bowl, combine wheat flour, all purpose flour and ghee. Mix well.
- Ina sauce pan, combine milk sugar and 1/2 cup water. Bring it to a boil till the sugar dissolves completely. Take it off the heat and let it cool.
- Now add sugar syrup little by little to the flour mixture and knead it into stiff dough.
- Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a pan for frying on medium heat.
- Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. Take each part and roll the dough into 1/4 inch thick sheet.
- Cut the sheet into small diamond shapes with the help of knife or the pizza cutter.
- Carefully fry these diamonds in the medium hot oil till it becomes golden on both sides.
- Drain them on the kitchen towel and cool them completely.
- Once these diamond shaped shakarparas are completely cool, you can store them in air tight containers for 3-4 weeks.
Enjoy these sweet treats with a cup of coffee or masala tea.
This is a quick and non-traditional recipe for Gajar halwa or Gajrela.
Approx. 6 servings
- Carrots – 2 lbs
- Condensed milk – 1/2 can
- Ghee (clarified butter) – 2 tbsp
- Cardamom powder (elaichi) – 1 tsp
- Almonds, pistachio, cashews – 1/2 cup chopped
- Lightly peel and grate carrots in food processor or with hand grater.
- Pressure cook the carrots for 5 minutes.
- In a heavy bottom pan, add the steamed carrots. Let the water dry out.
- Now add ghee to the carrots. Sauté for 5 minutes. Now add condensed milk to these carrots.
- Keep stirring. When it doesn’t stick to the pan anymore, it is done.
- Now add cardamom powder and nuts to it. Mix well.
Enjoy carrot pudding or gajar halwa for dessert anytime.
Rasmalai is a delicate and flavorful Bengali dessert. It is easy to prepare at home with a few ingredients. Rasmalai is milk patties soaked in cardamom and saffron flavored milk. It has very delicate flavor and is served chilled after the meal.
For Rasmalai: Approx. 6 servings
Whole Milk – 1 gallon
Lemon juice – 1 tbsp OR Vinegar – 1 tbsp
Kesar (saffron) – 1/4 tsp
Almonds – 12
Pistachios – 10
Crushed cardamom seeds – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1.5 cups
Rose essence – 8 drops
Making Paneer or Cheena:
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice in a bowl and keep aside. OR if using vinegar, add 1 tbsp vinegar to half cup water and keep aside.
- In a heavy bottom pan, boil half gallon whole milk.
- When milk comes to a boil, gradually add lemon juice or vinegar solution to it. Stir the milk gently and it starts curdling. Very soon the whey is separated from the curdled milk. Turn the heat off.
- Now in a strainer, line the muslin cloth. Strain the above curdled milk from this cloth.
- The solids on the muslin cloth are “paneer” or “cheena”. Wrap the paneer in a muslin cloth and rinse it under cold water for couple of times. Rinsing helps in taking out vinegar or lemon taste from the paneer. Squeeze well.
- Hang this wrapped paneer to take out the excess water squeeze the cloth, or press the wrapped paneer under a heavy pan for about one hour.
- Paneer or cheena is ready to make rasmalai.
Making the Rasmalai:
- Take fresh paneer or cheena on a large plate or surface. Knead it for at least 5 minutes. Make soft and smooth dough of it. Kneading is one of the most important parts of making rasmalai.
- Once the paneer becomes very soft and smooth, divide the dough into 10 equal parts and roll them in smooth balls and flatten them a bit to form small discs shape.
- Meanwhile, on medium high heat in a large vessel, boil 6 cups of water and add 1 cup of sugar to it. Mix well.
- Add the above paneer discs to the boiling water very gently. There should be enough room for the discs to expand. Cover the lid for 2-3 minutes. Stir gently and let it boil for 5-6 more minutes.
- Check the rasmalai patties, as they are almost doubled in size. Turn the heat off.
- Carefully take the patties out of the sugar syrup. Squeeze them gently. Keep aside.
- To prepare the malai, take the remaining half gallon milk in a non stick pan and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Milk reduces and starts to thicken.
- Add half cup sugar, rose essence, cardamom and saffron. Mix well.
- Now carefully add rasmalai patties to this milk. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat off and let it cool completely. Keep it in the refrigerator.
Garnish and serving suggestions:
Garnish with sliced almonds and pistachios and serve chilled.
Namkeen Poha Chivda: Crunchy Snack
A simple and crunchy Diwali snack.
Thin Poha (flattened rice) – 2 cups
Peanuts – 1/2 cup
Dalia (roasted chana dal) – 1/2 cup
Cashews – 1/2 cup
Golden raisins – 1/4 cup [OPTIONAL]
Garlic cloves – 4 minced
Curry Leaves – 15
Asafoetida (hing) – 2 pinch
Green chilies – 2 finely chopped
Dried coconut flakes – 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Sugar fine – 2 tbsp
Salt as per taste
Oil for tempering – 2 tbsp
- In a microwavable plate, dry roast half poha in microwave for 2 minutes on high. Repeat the same for other half. Keep aside.
- In a pan, heat oil. Now add mustard seeds, when it starts splattering, add minced garlic. Saute for 2 minutes.
- Add asafoetida powder, green chilies, peanuts, dalia, cashews, raisins, coconut flakes and curry leaves. Saute for few minutes.
- Now add turmeric powder and mix well. Also add roasted poha to the pan, mix well.
- Finally add salt and sugar and keep mixing gently. Take it off the heat or it will burn.
- Cool the mixture completely and store it in airtight container. It can be stored for a couple of weeks if kept airtight.
Enjoy this crunchy snack with Masala tea or Kesariya chai.
Fruit custard is an easy fruit salad with delicate creamy sweet sauce. It can be served as dessert or a side dish.
For Fruit Custard – Approx. 6 servings
- Custard powder (Vanilla flavor) – 2 tbsp
- Whole Milk – 3 cups
- Sugar – 4 tbsp
- Seedless grapes – 1 cup
- Apple – 1
- Banana – 1/2
- Pomegranate seeds – 1/2 cup
- Almonds – 8
- Cashew nuts – 8
- In a small bowl, take 1/2 cup warm milk and add 2 tbsp custard powder. Mix well to make it smooth and lump free. Keep aside.
- In a heavy bottom pan, add remaining milk and bring it to a boil. Add sugar and mix well.
- Now gradually add custard mix to the milk. Stir continuously. It starts to thicken.
- Mix well and turn the heat off.
- Cool it down at the room temperature and then refrigerate.
- Clean and cut all the fruits in bite size pieces and keep aside.
- Chop the nuts for garnish and keep aside.
Garnish and serving suggestion:
In a serving bowl, arrange cut fruits. Now pour chilled custard and garnish with chopped nuts and pomegranate seeds. Serve chilled.