For a sweet festive season

With Dussehra and Diwali just round the corner, GAURAV MASAND rustles up some divine delicacies

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Festive season is here, a time to enjoy with friends and family. It is also a time to relish various sweets and delicacies. Here is a collection of delicious recipes which are easy to make.

                                                                   Chikki

Chikki

Chikki/brittle can be made with sugar or jaggery or both. We can make this recipe with peanuts, dry fruits, coconut, sesame seeds or bengal gram. This recipe is simple and has readily available ingredients.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup peanuts (without skin)

1/2 cup jaggery

1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter

2-3 cardamoms powdered

INSTRUCTIONS

* Pulse peanuts in a food processor for less than 5 seconds, to get roughly cut peanuts.

* Dry roast peanuts in a heavy bottomed pan for 5 minutes.

* In a heavy bottom pan, add ghee and jaggery so that it starts to melt.

* Keep stirring on a medium flame till jaggery turns deep brown in color and you get a boil.

* To test if the jaggery is ready, take few drops of hot jaggery and drop it in a small bowl of cold water. If it turns brittle, the jaggery mix is ready.

* Add cardamom powder to it along with roasted peanuts and turn off the heat.

* Pour the mix on a greased plate/baking sheet.

* Cover it with a baking sheet and roll it with a rolling pin so that it spreads evenly.

* Make incisions of desired shapes before it cools down.

* Let it cool for an hour, break it into the pieces.

* Store in a dry container.


Baklava

Baklava is a Mediterranean sweet pastry with Turkish roots. It has a rich filling of dry fruits, sweetened with honey or sugar, between filo pastry sheets. Below recipe is a Persian Pakhlava, made with dry fruits and rose water. You will need filo pastry sheets; these are readily available in the freezer section of any supermarket.

Baklava

INGREDIENTS

For filling

1/3 cup almonds, peeled

1 cup walnuts

2 tbsp rose petals

1 tsp cardamom powder

1/4 cup sugar

For covering/pastry

20 filo pastry sheets

½ cup melted butter

For sugar syrup

1 cup sugar

½ cup water

¼ cup rose petals

INSTRUCTIONS

For the syrup

* In a saucepan, boil water. Stir in sugar and rose petals, to make a syrup.

* Keep it aside.

For the filling

* In a food processor, pulse walnuts, almonds, rose petals and sugar for 1 minute.

For making baklava

* Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

* Grease the baking dish (18cm x 28cm and 3.5cm-deep) evenly with butter.

* Lay 8 filo sheets in a baking dish, brushing each with butter.

* Scatter half of the filling on filo sheets.

* Cover mixture with 6 filo sheets, while brushing each with butter.

* Scatter the remaining filling. Repeat the procedure to cover the filling, with 6 sheets, each brushed with butter.

* Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

* Make incisions into baklava, with a sharp knife, in desired shapes.

* Bake at 180 deg C for 35-40 mins or until golden brown.

* Pour rose petal syrup over the pieces. Let it cool.

* Cut the baklava pieces along the incisions with the sharp knife.

* Serve at room temperature.


Khorak

This is a traditional Sindhi recipe, made with wholemeal flour, dry fruits, ghee and poppy seeds (khus khus) during festivals, especially during Diwali.

Khorak

INGREDIENTS

¾ cup wholewheat flour

½ cup ghee

½ cup water

¾ cup Gud/jaggery

¼ cup dry fruits (cashews, almonds, walnuts, raisins), chopped finely

2 tbsp poppy seeds

2 tbsp dessicated coconut

3-4 cardamom, seeds only

INSTRUCTIONS

* Heat water in a pan, add jaggery to it. Boil until it forms a sticky liquid. Keep this aside.

* Heat ghee in a pan. Add flour and cook on medium flame, stirring continuously, until golden brown for 5-6 minutes.

* Add all other ingredients except the jaggery mix to the flour. Mix well.

* Add the jaggery syrup to the flour mixture.

* Stir for 2 minutes on medium flame until jaggery syrup has been absorbed.

* Spread the mix in a tray lined with baking paper or greased with ghee.

* Garnish with extra dry fruit slices.

* Let this set for 2-3 hours and cut into required shapes.

* This can be stored in a cool and dark place for 1-2 weeks.