Carrot Halwa or Halva is a type of sweet preparation that is found across cultures from India to the Middle East and North Africa. It is often compared to the puddings of Europe. Different regions have their own unique ingredients and way of preparing it. In India, carrots are used commonly to make carrot halwa (gajer ka halwa). This dessert item is very easy to make.
Grate carrot finely. Take a thick bottomed vessel or non stick pan and boil milk on high flame. When it starts to boil, add the grated carrot. When the milk is reduced to just a half a cup, add the sugar, powdered cardamom and ghee into the vessel. Now you have to lower the flame and keep stirring continuously till you get a sticky ball consistency.
Payasam is usually the last item served in a traditional South Indian meal, as dessert. Many varieties of payasams are made using different ingredients like broken wheat, rice (basmati) sago, and pulses like green gram dhal etc. This recipe uses vermicelli (semiya) as the main ingredient. Vermicelli in India is made from semolina and isknown as seviyan in Hindi and as semiya in Tamil. Semiya payasam is also known as kheer in North India.
Cooking Time: 15 minutes Servings: 3
Milk: 500 ml
Refined sugar: 100 grams or ½ cup
Vermicelli (Semiya):1 cup or 40 grams
Cashew nuts: 10
Ghee (clarified butter) 1teaspoon
Grated coconut: 2 tablespoon
Adding one teaspoon ghee (clarified butter) roast the cashew and raisin and set aside. If vermicelli is not roasted, you will have to roast it lightly in the remaining ghee.
Allow the milk to boil on high heat in a thick bottomed vessel. When it starts to boil, stir it for 5 minutes. Reducing the heat to medium add the roasted vermicelli and let it cook for another 5 minutes. Add the sugar, cardamom powder, grated coconut and cook for a couple of minutes. Garnish with raisins and cashew nut and serve hot.
Laddu is a sweet delicacy prepared not only in Tamilnadu but all over India and South Asia, for festivals and special occasions.
Different types of laddus are made using different key ingredients such as Bengal gram, dhal(chickpea), flour ( besan), wheat flour, semolina (suji or rava ) and so on. Here the recipe is for the most common kind of laddu in India, using Bengal gram.
Bengal gram flour ( besan or kadalai mavu): 360 grams or 4 full cups
Refined sugar: 600 grams or 31/2 cups
Water: 2 cups
Rice flour(raw rice): 2 1/4 teaspoon
Soda bi-carb( cooking soda): 1/2 teaspoon
Cashew: 50 grams
Raisins: 40 grams
Ghee(clarified butter): 100 grams
Oil(preferably refined oil): 11/2 litre
You also need a perforated ”boondhi” ladle, for frying the boondhi.
Mix the Bengal gram flour with rice flour and soda bicarb and add some water to make batter. This batter should be similar to ‘dosa’ batter consistency. Set aside. Take a thick-bottomed vessel and add both sugar and water(2cups). Heat on medium flame to make sugar syrup. You have to keep stirring often till you reach a certain consistency, which can be tested by taking some syrup between your thumb and index finger and spreading the fingers out. If the syrup is sticky and extends like a thread between the two fingers, it is ready. Set this aside. Powder the cardamom. Heat oil in a frying pan on high. When the oil is very hot, take a big spoon of flour batter. Place the ”bhoondhi” ladle over the hot oil, pour one spoonful of batter into the bhoondhi ladle and press down. Small balls of the dhal batter will drop into the oil. Once they are cooked, remove with another spoon, draining the excess oil. Let the fried batter balls (Boondhi) soak in the sugar syrup. Do the same with the rest of the batter. Using a big heavy spoon, pound the cooked mixture to a pulp. Fry the raisins and cashew in ghee and add to the pulp with the remaining ghee. Now you can add the powdered cardamom and the whole cloves, and make round laddus, pressing the pulp into spheres using your hands.
Tips: Making the sugar syrup to the right thread-like consistency is the tricky part in the preparation of laddus. Adding colours and other ingredients like edible camphor, saffron or ”diamond kalkandu”(sugar crystals) is optional.
Coconuts are an easily available commodity in the coastal areas of India, and the fleshy white inside of the nuts are used to make sweet dessert dishes for all occasions. Coconut burfi or barfi is a sweet preparation made using many different types of ingredients, mostly in India and Pakistan. Coconut Barfis are especially common in South India.
Grate coconut using a coconut grater (or purchase grated unsweetened coconut) and set aside. Powder the cardamom and grease a plate with a little ghee. Take a thick-bottomed vessel and add the grated coconut and sugar. Place on high flame and stir for 5 minutes. Reduce the flame to medium and add the ghee, cardamom powder and the color powder and stir continuously for another 10 minutes. The coconut – sugar mixture should begin to leave the sides of the vessel and come together with a ball-like consistency, and a sweet aroma should fill the room. The mixture will be very sticky.
Remove from heat and pour into the greased plate. Flatten with a wooden spatula . Allow to cool for 10 minutes and cut into squares. This sweet dessert can be stored for up to 10 days or so without refrigeration.
Sesame is a flowering plant cultivated widely in India. Sesame seeds known as “til” in Hindi and “ell” in Tamil are used for making dishes such as ell urundai (literally, Sesame-seed Balls). Oil from sesame seeds also known asgingelly oil is used extensively in Tamilnadu cuisine. Ell Urundai is a traditional sweet dessert often seen in rural parts of the country.
Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Sesame seeds (Til): 2 Cups
Puffed Bengal gram
Dhal & peanuts together: 1 Cup crushed
Coconut: 1 Cup
Brown Sugar( Jaggery or unrefined sugar): 3 Cup
1. Remove peanut skin and along with puffed Bengalgram dhal make into a coarse powder in a blender. Set aside.
2. Roast the grated coconut in a skillet (without oil) till it turns yellow and dry.
3. If black sesame seeds are used, you must remove the skin first. Soak the seeds in water for an hour and drain completely. Roast the sesame seeds in a pan (without oil) till the seeds turn golden brown. Remove the seeds from the hot pan and using both hands press and rub the seeds with sufficient force to remove the skin from the seeds. Use a sieve for removing the chaff.
4. Grind the seeds in a blender till the oil starts to seep out. Mix the sesame-seed pulp with the other ingredients and shape the mixture into small balls. Heating the jaggery a bit before adding to the mixture will make it sticky and thus easier to shape the mixture into round balls.