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DIWALI, THE SEASON OF LIGHTS AND DESSERTS!

Nov/04/2021 / by BINDU GOPAL RAO AND RASHMI GOPAL RAO

Come November, and it is time for the festival of lights, aka Diwali or Deepawali. Arguably the most popular festivals of the Hindu calendar, it celebrates the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, and brings with it delectable desserts.

Diwali is all about new beginnings, prosperity — and happiness. It marks the beginning of the new year in some communities in states like Gujarat and Rajasthan and is celebrated for a period of five days. The worship of Goddess Lakshmi, the deity of wealth, is one of the highlights of the festival, along with the lighting of lamps. As with all festivals, food is an integral part of the celebration, and Diwali is defined by the mouth-watering desserts, specially prepared for the occasion.

Chef Praveen Shetty of Conrad Bengaluru, whose team has recently launched Khushiyan by Hilton, a range of exclusive sweets for the festive season, provided four of the recipes.

festive desserts

DATES AND NUT ROLL

A dessert that combines the goodness of dates and nuts, the dates and nuts roll does not compromise on taste despite its goodness.
Diwali is the time to indulge your sweet tooth. However, one of the key concerns is to keep these indulgences within health parameters. If you are looking for something that ticks both these boxes, try making the dates and nuts roll recipe. The best part of this dessert is that it uses no sugar, thanks to the natural sweetness of the dates. Also, you can use a variety of nuts rich in fiber to give this your own take. A dates and nuts roll recipe can also be made by using interesting additions like coconut shavings and sesame for more flavor.

INGREDIENTS

  • 7 oz dates
  • 3/4th tbsp almond
  • 1/2 oz cashew nuts
  • 1.4 oz pistachio
  • 13/4 oz sugar
  • 4 tbsp ghee
  • 7 tsp poppy seeds

METHOD

  1. Chop dates, almonds, cashew nuts and keep aside.
  2. Heat ghee and add date and sugar into it, and cook it well upto 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Add all nuts into the mixture and cook well. Let it cool down.
  4. Dry roast poppy seeds and spread it in a tray and roll the dates mixture and apply poppy seeds all around.
  5. Set it for another 5 to 6 hours, then cut it into even shapes and serve.

As there is no added sugar, fat or cholesterol, the dates and nut rolls have high levels of antioxidants and are rich in minerals such as copper and magnesium. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin K, niacin, calcium, and iron. If you are looking for a dessert that comes without the indulgence, this is the one to choose this Diwali.

COCONUT POTLI RECIPE

Coconuts have always been my favorite ingredient when it comes to making traditional desserts. Coconut as a great texture and body and a unique taste that gives most dishes a unique flavor and bite. While the dish is traditionally made using rice flour, you can use filo sheets for a contemporary makeover. The filling, however, is traditional, and this gives the sweet a nice, light, crispy and airy texture which adds to its charm. This twist was given by Shetty of Conrad Bengaluru.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 filo sheets
  • 3/4th tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1/ 2cup semolina
  • 1.7 oz ghee (clarified butter)
  • 7 tsp sugar
  • 0.7 oz almonds

METHOD

  1. Line filo sheets and apply ghee.
  2. Cut into eight equal shapes and keep aside.
  3. Roast semolina, dry coconut and poppy seeds in ghee individually, and mix all three together.
  4. Add sugar to the mixture.
  5. Put a tablespoon of mixture in the center of filo sheet and make it into a potli shape (a tiny bag tied at the top) by joining all the ends together.
  6. Bake it at 356 degree Fahrenheit for 15 to 18 minutes and serve.

Coconuts are having a moment under the sun for being high in medium-chain triglycerides, which forms much of the fat that is absorbed by the body quickly and are converted to energy. Coconut is also rich in manganese, which aids bone health and the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and cholesterol. Sesame, on the other hand, is a good source of fiber and vitamin B.

besan ladduu desserts

BESAN AND SAFFRON LADDU

This recipe relies on kosher besan flour roasted with ghee and sugar. It is topped with saffron strands, making it a great festive indulgence. While a traditional besan ladoo recipe has three basic ingredients–besan, sugar and ghee, with cardamom, saffron, and a dash of pistachio, giving it a nice festive makeover. The recipe is quite simple, and you get a melt-in-your-mouth creamy goodness that will add a sparkle to your Diwali.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup besan flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup ghee
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp green cardamom

METHOD

  1. Cook besan in ghee till it acquires a nutty texture.
  2. Add sugar, cardamom green and saffron mix well and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Cool the mixture and pat into laddu shapes.
  4. Roll your laddu on saffron and serve.

This dessert has a lot of folic acid, and besan has a low glycemic index, being rich in complex carbohydrates. This means that you can satisfy your sweet cravings without the guilt. This recipe is easy to make and not very time-consuming, which makes it even more appealing.

ANJEER AND ROSE PETAL PEDA

With their natural flavors and sweetness, figs are always a great addition to a dessert plate. Here, they combine seamlessly with rose petals, another natural ingredient, for some delectable new age fusion. When designing the sweets as part of the festive Khushiyan by Hilton hamper range, Shetty came up with this recipe. Anjeer (figs) and rose petals come together to make this classic fusion recipe, made with fig jam and khoya (mawa, dried evaporated milk solid), and dehydrated rose petals.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup figs
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 2 oz mawa (available on Amazon)
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1/3 oz pistachio
  • 1/3 oz almonds
  • 1/2tbsp almond powder
  • 1/2 oz rose petals

METHOD

  1. Soak figs overnight in water. Take it out and chop well.
  2. Heat ghee and add chopped figs, sugar, mawa and almond powder. Cook well to 230 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Chop the nuts and add it to the mixture. Put rose petals into the mixture and cook for 5 minutes. Then allow it to cool down.
  4. Take a small portion and shape into a peda(round) shape, and roll on dry rose petals. Serve.

Figs help you lose weight, regulate blood pressure, strengthen bones, improve heart health, and manage diabetes. Dry figs are also an excellent source of dietary fiber and are packed with potassium, iron and calcium, as well as antioxidants and complex carbohydrates. You can enjoy this dessert guilt-free.

apple kheer dessert

APPLE KHEER

Apple kheer is one such preparation that is a creamy concoction of apples in milk with a generous helping of crunchy dry fruits.

NUTRITION FACTS

It is often said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. This dessert, with its rich helping of apple, is definitely healthy. The fruit is rich in soluble fiber and is known to have a positive effect in controlling cholesterol. It aids in digestion and helps build immunity. Apple is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants and helps regulate blood pressure. It is also used to treat health problems such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. This dessert contains milk, a rich source of minerals such as calcium and potassium, vitamins, and proteins. It also has plenty of dry fruits, which are also a good source of vitamins and minerals that help boost immunity and prevent several lifestyle diseases.
Below is a simple and easy apple kheer that should make your Diwali brighter and happier!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 apple, peeled and grated well
  • 1 tbsp clarified butter/ghee
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup condensed milk
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped almonds
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped pistachios
  • 1/4 tsp saffron strands

METHOD

  1. In a small cup take 2 tbsp milk and add saffron strands and keep aside.
  2. Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan and add the grated apple and sauté on a medium flame till all the moisture evaporates. Remove from the flame and allow apple mixture to cool.
  3. Add milk to the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the flame, and add the condensed milk and saffron extract.
  4. Allow the mixture to thicken, this could take at least 15 minutes.
  5. Add the cardamom powder and allow the milk to cool completely.
  6. Add the apple mixture to the milk and refrigerate.
  7. Serve chilled and garnish with dry fruits before serving.