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Happy Sweet Diwali

Gazar Burfi, Baked Karanji, Date Burfi In addition to the festival of lights, Diwali is also known as the festival of sweets. The planning of the making of ladoos, karnajis, and burfis is tradition. The faral in earlier years was carefully homemade with women congregating in the kitchen, gossiping while artistically molding the karanjis and shankarpale. These days these sweets are available in plenty throughout the year and no longer considered very special. Well, it is time to bring the cookery tradition back (the gossiping has of course remained) by giving a twist to the customary fare. With a growing obesity and type 2 diabetes rates in the country among all ages and classes, this is the perfect time to rethink our ingredients as well as cooking methods. Cutting down sugar and fats without sacrificing taste is always a challenge but these recipes are easy, tasty and unrecognizable as “healthy” or “low fat.”

Gazar Burfi – I was told that sugar will not go well with gazar. After testing this myself, I was pleasantly surprised…my family, the finicky master tasters loved it. Ingredients: 2

cups grated carrot 2 cups jaggery, cut finely ¼ cup cashews Method: Melt jaggery in kadai by constantly stirring. When the consistency appears sticky, add gazar. Stir frequently until gazar is cooked. Add cashews and cook for another 5 minutes. After 10 minutes of cooling, flatten mixture onto a plate. Cut after completely cooled. Baked Karanji Ingredients: Coconut filling: Mix the following ingredients well. 1 ½ cups grated dry coconut 15 cashews,roughly cut 1 ½ tsp elaichi powder 1 cup grated jaggery Outer crust: 1/2 cup rava ½ cup white flour ½ tsp baking powder 2 tbsp besan powder,3 tbsp ghee, melted pinch of salt. Milk, enough to knead the dough Ghee paste: ¼ cup paste of ghee and flour(used for making outer crust) Method: 1) Mix all the dry ingredients, then add ghee. Rub the ghee evenly. Add milk and make medium consistency dough. Cover for 15 minutes. 2) Divide the dough into 15-20 (each ball approx 1 inch diameter). 3) Roll one ball into a round shape, fold in half and spread ghee paste, fold again making a triangle shape. Fold again and roll into the same round shape. Put 1 tbsp coconut filling in the center. Cover the filling by folding other half area. Join the edges and seal. You can make a design with your hands or by a fork. 4) Prepare all the karanjis, Apply some ghee all over the karanji. Spray baking sheet or spread ghee so it does not stick. 5) Preheat oven over 160C. Bake for 15 minutes or slightly brown. Turn over and bake andother 10 minutes. Do not make them too much brown. It will burn the filling Date Nut Burfi – No sugar or ghee and easy to make!

Ingredients: 1 cup pitted and finely chopped dates ½ cup grated coconut ½ cup grated carrot 1 tsp elaichi powder 3 tbsp milk ¼ cup pistachios or almonds, roughly cut Method: 1) Soak dates in milk for 15 minutes 2) Stir all ingredients on low flame for 15 minutes 3) Add nuts and cook for another 5 minutes. 4) After it is cooled, spread on a plate, leave for 30 minutes and then cut into squares. Decorate with nuts.

Published in DNA Newspaper, October, 18, 2009

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