Diwali 2023: 8 easy sweet treats to rustle up and impress your guests
Hard-pressed for time but willing to go the extra mile for your Diwali guests? Here are eight delectable but super-easy sweets you can whip up within an hour
Diwali is one of the sweetest times of the year when not only do we light up our homes but also get ready to welcome friends, family, and colleagues to have a good time together. And how can any Indian festival go without sweets?
While many prefer to buy their laddus and barfis from the stores, many prefer to rustle up something in their own kitchen to give their loved ones a special treat. But unfortunately, our fast-paced modern lives leave most people with hardly any time to make something elaborate.
If you nodded with a sigh, well, don’t give up right away. Not all sweets have to be stirred and kneaded for hours for that perfect texture that your mom and grandmom mastered. There are many easy sweets that you can make without much sweat or too many ingredients. Here are eight perfect recipes for sweets that you can make in a jiffy and impress your guests.
1. Kaju barfi
This is a favourite of many but most people buy it from the stores. However, kaju barfi can be easily made at home in a small time.
Start with buying a packet of high-quality cashew nuts. You can buy broken ones too since they will be ground anyway. But make sure the quality is top-notch and the packet is not torn or the cashews are not damp. If you are doubtful, dry-roast the cashews a bit but ensure they do not change colour.
Grind one cup of cashews into a fine powder. Next, combine half cup sugar and one-fourth cup water in a non-stick pan and boil for three minutes. Add the cashew powder, mix well, and cook for two minutes on medium flame. Remember to stir continuously so that no lumps form. Add one and a half teaspoon of ghee and half a teaspoon of cardamom powder and mix well.
Next, grease a flat plate or pan with ghee and transfer the cashew mixture to it. Spread it evenly and flatten it out with a spatula. You can decorate with edible silver foil on top. Cut it out into barfi shapes and voila! Your kaju barfis are ready to be served.
This is another favourite that can be rustled up at home within an hour. Start with making chhenna or paneer out of six cups of full-fat milk. You can use store-bought paneer but it can be too dry. If you are really hard-pressed for time, add a little hot milk to your store-bought paneer as your crumble it.
Once the milk curdles into chhenna, pour cold water to hasten the process. Hang the paneer in clean muslin and squeeze out the excess whey. In the meantime, chop some cashew nuts, almonds, and pistachios into fine slices and line a square tray with parchment paper.
Next, take a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan and empty a 400-g tin of sweetened condensed milk into it. Add crumbled chhenna, mix well, and cook on a medium-low flame until the mixture begins to thicken. You can add some kewra water or rose essence to the mix if you like.
As the mix begins to thicken, bring the flame to low and cook until the mix starts leaving the sides. Add cardamom powder and mix well. Make sure the mix is moist, or your kalakands will be too dry. Pour the mix into the prepared tray, sprinkle the chopped nuts on top, and press with a spatula to even the surface. Refrigerate and cut into cubes once the mix is set.
3. Rava laddu
This is a traditional favourite and not too difficult to make. Dry-roast a mix of one cup semolina (suji/rava) and one-fourth cup desiccated coconut on medium heat until it gives off an aroma. In a grinder jar, finely powder three-fourth cup of sugar (adjust to taste). Add cardamom powder and the roasted semolina-coconut mix and grind again. The mix should be slightly crunchy.
Fry some cashew nuts and raisins in around 4 tablespoons of ghee in a pan until light golden. Add the ghee and nuts to the semolina mix and mix well.
Next, grease your palm with ghee and try to take a little of the mix in you palms and roll it into a laddu. If the mix does not bind, add some more hot ghee or warm milk and try again. But make sure the mix does not become too moist; the laddus will be tight. Easy-peasy!
Wash and drain one-fourth cup of rice (any variety) and air-dry them slightly. Grind the dried rice into a coarse powder. Add half a cup of full-fat milk to the ground rice.
Heat three and a half cups of full-fat milk in a large pot and add the rice mix to it. Keep stirring and cook on medium heat until the rice is well done. The mix will turn thick.
Add six to eight tablespoons of sugar to the mix and a pinch of crushed saffron or kewra water. Stir and cook until the phirni thickens but can be poured. Add cardamom powder and mix well.
Pour the phirni into small clay bowls or other serving dishes. You can garnish with finely chopped almonds and pistachios. Allow it to cool and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
5. Coconut laddu
Another traditional sweet treat but this one has a twist. Add around 200 g of sweetened condensed milk to a non-stick pan. Add around one and a half (or slightly more) cups of desiccated coconut to the condensed milk. Mix it well and cook it on a low flame stirring constantly.
Continue to cook until you get a thick mass that can be rolled into laddus. Add cardamom powder to the mix and some dry-roasted finely chopped nuts like pistachios, cashews, and almonds.
When the mix is still hot, roll into laddus and across a plate of desiccated coconut. You can garnish your coconut laddus with finely sliced nuts.
6. Gajar ka halwa
Gajar ka halwa is one of the most popular and hassle-free sweets. Wash and grate around 500 g of carrots. In a pan, heat two cups of milk and add the grated carrots. If you use a non-stick pan, you can let the carrots cook on a medium flame.
As the milk mostly evaporates, add about three-fourth cup of sugar (adjust to taste) and cook. Once the halwa starts to dry out again, add one tablespoon of ghee and stir well. Finish off with cardamom powder and finely chopped dry-roasted pistachios and almonds for garnish.
Melt one-third cup of ghee in the pan and turn off the oven. Add half a cup of milk and two cups of milk powder to the ghee and switch on the gas. Stir for around two or three minutes to combine. Add in one cup of powdered sugar and cook while stirring continuously. Cook until the mix thickens and starts leaving the pan. It will take around 10-15 minutes.
Grease and line a pan with parchment paper and transfer the mix to it. Sprinkle chopped dry fruits on the top and flatten out with a spatula. Allow it to cool and set at room temperature for about two hours. Once it’s set, cut into desired shapes and serve.
8. Shahi tukda
This, too, you can rustle up within 30 minutes. Soak five or six strands of saffron in about two tablespoons of warm milk. Next, boil half a litre of milk and add the soaked saffron to it. Simmer the milk until it reduces to the consistency of rabri. You can use condensed milk or milk powder to hasten the process. Add rose essence once the milk is done.
Take some break slices and remove the sides. Cut the slices diagonally into triangular shapes. Fry the pieces in ghee till golden brown and crisp.
Boil one-third cup of sugar in a little water that’s just about enough to cover the sugar. Soak the fried bread pieces in the syrup just for about a minute. Arrange the bread pieces in a plate and pour the rabri over them. Garnish with finely sliced pistachios, cashews, or almonds fried in ghee. Serve warm or chilled and spread the sweetness and the cheer!Happy Diwali!