Indian Deserts

Bobbatlu – Pooranpoli – Lentil Stuffed Sweet Roti

Diwali is the festival of lights , an occasion to celebrate the triumph of the good over evil. It is an auspicious day when one would try and please ….well pray to the goddess of wealth ‘Laxmi Devi’ .  Traders and businessmen celebrate Diwali by having  huge prayers at their place of work, give bonuses to the employees and distribute sweets to everyone you know. They organise parties , exchange gifts, lots of sweets and dry fruits. I remember the day after Diwali , we would be sitting there staring at fruit baskets, sweet boxes and dry fruits in addition to the cooked treats from the neighbours and friends not knowing what to do with all the food. But the women folk always had a plan , fruit salad for breakfast , smoothies and dry fruit laddus and  sweets sometimes have been recycled …oops!! There I go spilling the family secret J  . It was crazy looking at my mom running towards us when you are just about to open a new packet of sweets to stop ..I am actually chuckling while I am writing this ,  but looking back she had a point , what would you do with 20 packets of sweets which  you know won’t last more than a week. But as kids , we always want one sweet from a gift box, another sweet from a different gift box and never finish the whole thing. It’s basically the thrill of unwrapping and opening the gifts. Adding to that , we ourselves end up cooking so much at home, stocking up savoury and sweet meats weeks ahead of Diwali.

On the day though, you ought to cook at least seven different things as an offering to the goddess laxmi. This is where the home chefs want to get creative and strive and plan to cook something that different and unique to impress the friends. We usually did well at this task at ours but there has to be one thing that is to be made repeatedly in the name of tradition and for you to carry forward. We have the pooranpoli or Bobattlu, in our case as a must for Diwali. Now, I am not that keen on deserts and sweets but this is quite different. It is almost like a sweet parata , so the carb element in it does enough for me to keep making it again and again. The pooranpoli and bobbatu are very similar while the former is a north Indian version , the latter is a south Indian version. The cooking method and seasoning does vary from region to region. I personally prefer the south indian version , because its more luxurious and made with plain flour whereas most pooranpolis are made using wheat flour. So , while six of the dishes are cooked , offered to god and enjoyed by afternoon , we have to wait for these bobattlu till evening. Reason being, the dough needs to soak in oil for at least four hours …..yes, immersed in oil until its absorbs some of it. Now, you know why I called it luxurious 🙂 . So , the usuall practice is get out of the house and start on some lightweight fireworks, come back to eat bobabbtlu, sit there with a cranky dog petrified of the loud crackers and bombs. Poor thing , it used be exhausted at the end of the day. The crackers , bombs keep going off till really late. We used to take turns , lock ourselves up in a room and keep ‘Nancy’ (our dog) distracted  in our laps most of the time to calm it down. Fireworks  are fine but , the 1000 wala , 2000 wala 5000 walas , which are literally 1000 small bombs tied together  are just too much …how can one gain pleasure putting the labyrinths through that sort of sound, is beyond my understanding. As they say  there are always some things that can change and this is one of the things that should definitely change with Diwali. Well , along with the green movement ,  cleanliness movement, a lot of awareness towards a responsible Diwali has been promoted both by Ngo’s, private sectors and government and hopefully we will see some change soon.

Staying back home all night , means us chomping on more and more bobattlu . As I said I am not a big fan of sweets , so I used to ask for just the paratha  without the filling or with very little filling. My brother used to love the filling (I think he still does) so he used take away balls of the sweet lentil filling to munch on. Worked out perfectly with no fights and arguments for a change. I started making them for every Diwali in my kitchen as well and again my son just loves the paratha  J …just like me J . They can seem a bit tricky at first but as you make them , you will get used to it as with anything else and you will get the hand of it. Give this recipe a try and enjoy the bobattlu my family style, especially if you have tried the north Indian version of them and let me know what you think of them .

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You will need :

500gms Plain ( Maida)

650gms Yellow split lentils (Chana dal)

200gms Sugar

1 tsp. Cardamom powder

500ml groundnut oil

Pinch of salt

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Bobbatlu – Pooranpoli

Method:

Make a soft dough with the plain flour adding a pinch of salt and one tablespoon sugar.

Soak this dough in a bowl of oil ( Fully immersed ) for at least 4 hrs and keep aside.

Meanwhile boil the lentils in a pressure cooker and make a nice paste of it. Add the remaining sugar, cardamom powder and mix well, try and keep this thick with no added water. You should be able to make balls and handle it to shape the roti’s. Keep aside until you are ready to make the Bobbatlu.

When you are ready, divide the dough and the lentils mix in equal balls . Take a clear plastic sheet, smother some oil on it and flatten the ball of dough with your fingers to form a small roti .

Place a lentil mix ball on top of the dough and seal the lentils mix with the dough from all sides and make a parcel. Now press to make a roti with your fingers.

On a pan cook the roti with more oil if required on both the sides till it’s done. The lentils are already cooked so you don’t need to worry about the inside bits being cooked.

Enjoy hot Bobbatlu with desi ghee …Ah …the aroma is to die for !!

Some pointers :

You can make with whole wheat aswell , equally tasty and this definitely can be made without soaking it in oil , they just won’t be as indulgent.

For a clear sheet , I usually use the liners which in between frozen paratha’s , works perfectly. Or, you can shape the rotis on the back of an oiled plate.

Cardamom is optional, but it does add a lot of flavour !

Serving the bobbatlu with ghee takes the dish to a new level so try not to miss it J

I make cupcakes with the bobabbtlu/pooranpoli flavours and they are quiet good. So if you have some lentils mix left over after making these for Diwali , head over to my pooranpoli Cupcake post and make some delicious fusion cupcakes !!

A Quick Recipe to Make Kalakand!!

We all like simple and easy recipes. Every now and then, we want to be able to whip something up in minutes, treat the unexpected guests, celebrate the sudden success, and reward the husband on a rare occasion when he delivers (haha) . Everyone would like an impromptu treat. I don’t have massive sweet tooth but I would definitely go for a small serving just to remind myself of that fact.

Some of the Indian sweets I do like to dig in though is Kalakand. I have found that texture and the look bear a great deal of significance and factor into my tastes. Kalakand is usually not very sweet and has that brown ombre effect. Kalakand is usually a very long winded recipe, from reducing the milk, condensing and sweetening it and then setting it in trays. It takes hours of hard work and labour to get to the final delicacy.

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What I have today for you is a short and quick recipe to make this sweet. A recipe that is passed on to me by my mum. I have always counted on it during crisis when you NEED a desert. The recipe leads you to a quick easy and delicious sweet meat which you will love!!

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You will need:

370 grams  can of condensed milk (not sure why the weight is so odd and not rounded off on my can)

2 Tbsp. Full Fat Yoghurt

1 ½ Tbsp. Ghee

Appliances/tools :

Microwave

Tray

Greaseproof paper

Makes : 10-12 small Squares of kalakand

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Method:

Empty the condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl, add the yoghurt and ghee.

Give it a good stir and microwave at high speed for 10 minutes. Stirring at least twice in between.

You will see the milk has curdled and all the liquids have reduced. You should end up with a gooey, kalakand with its gorgeous aroma. Remove from the microwave, spread it in a tray lined with greaseproof sheet and let it cool and set

Now, I like it a bit gooey so I usually remove it from microwave in about 12 minutes maximum. You can always microwave for couple more minutes if you rather prefer a drier version. Once the kalakand is set, cut it up and enjoy.

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Desi Chocolate Mousse with Zesty Qubani Ka meeta

Qubani ka Meeta is a traditional mogulai dessert which dates back to hundreds of years in the  hyderabadi cuisine. Qubani means ‘apricot’ in Urdu. It is a very popular dish is Hyderabad and is traditionally made with dried apricots. I couldn’t get my hands on dried Apricots when I had this recipe/concept in mind so I made it with ready to eat seedless Apricots.In a way , it is much quicker like this because you skip the step of soaking the Apricots overnight. I also added a little drama in the recipe by adding some orange zest and some orange juice. It is a change worth keeping forever. I am going to make Qubani Ka meeta like this all the time from now on. Again traditionally, Qubani ka meeta is served with thick cream in the olden days and now mostly with Vanilla ice cream. I wanted to introduce this traditional hyderabadi dessert to the good old western white chocolate mousse , but wait….I felt a bit more adventurous and gave my mousse a cardamom flavour. I loved it and so did every person who had it.

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This dessert is a great new dish to serve if you are having a  big party especially  an informal one. Just serve it in shot glasses and you will be a hero. You can also prepare it ahead and no fuss of serving or plating on the day.

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Ingredients:

For the chocolate mousse :

150 Grams White Chocolate

150 Grams Double Cream

2 Egg Whites

4 Cardamoms ground

For  Qubani Ka Meeta :

2 Cups Apricots

1 1/2 Cup Sugar

3 Tbsp Orange Juice

Zest of 1/2 Orange

Few Almonds for garnishing

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Method:

White chocolate mousse : Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over a sauce pan of boiling water. Do not let the bowl touch the water or you will start cooking the chocolate. We only want melted chocolate. While the chocolate is melting, add the ground cardamom. Once the chocolate is melted , let it cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk the cream till it forms peaks, but not too tough and keep aside. Whisk the egg whites well till they form stiff peaks. Fold the cream in the chocolate and then gently fold the egg whites.Spoon the chocolate mousse in the cute little shot glasses or any other desert bowl you want to serve.Leave the glasses to chill and set in the fridge.

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Qubani Ka Meeta: In a sauce pan, boil the apricots with 1 cup water and the orange juice .Add the orange zest and cook the apricots for 15 mins or till they are almost pureed. Add the sugar and cook fo another 10 mins. Remove from heat and chill.

Plating: Just before you serve, spoon the Qubani ka meeta on top of the chocolate mousse, garnish with soaked and sliced almonds and chocolate curls.

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You can also set the chocolate mousse in a larger bowl and use it to layer it with Qubani ka meeta to create a spectacular and elegant desert.

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Ravva Laddu


I have known and ate Ravva laddus since my brother was a baby and used to mispronounce them as ‘lavva laddu’ . It was a pleasant nostalgia, when I made these yesterday and my son asked me what they are and repeated ‘Mummy Lavva laddus are yummy’. We burst out laughing, all eyes were on my brother at once teasing him.  They are quick , easy and have a great texture. The laddus keep well for a minimum of two weeks.

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This recipe makes about 15 laddus but if you are like me, who is shaping the ladus with one hand and galloping a laddu using the other, then you will end up with 12 🙂

Ingredients :

1 Cup rava/Sooji/Semolina

1/2 Cup Grated coconut

1/3 Cup Milk

1/4 Cup Sugar or more according to you taste

3 Cardomoms – Ground

2 Tbsp Cashew Halves

1 Tbsp Ghee/ butter

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Method:

In a pan , heat the ghee and roast the cashews. Add the grated coconut and cardomom powder. Toss them for a min.

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Add the semolina and keep stirring for 2 mins untill the semolina is roasted. Add the sugar and then half the milk. Mix well and take it off the heat. Add the rest of the milk the stirr well. Shape the laddus when the mixture is warm enough to handle. Enjoy fresh and warm ARV Laddus or  leave them to dry. You can store the laddus in an air tight container and enjoy!

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