Deepavali is drawing near. Previously we’ve shown you some beautiful Kolam designs you can try out to celebrate the Festival of Lights, which falls on 22 October this year. Now we bring to you some suggestions of sweets and desserts to enjoy during the festival.
One of the joys of celebrating a festivity is the excuse to eat as many delicious food as you wish. Raya has its rendang, Lunar New Year its nian gao, and Deepavali has its ladoo. Served in a wide array of colours and flavours – some sweet, some savoury – Indian sweets can be eaten plentifully during the month of Deepavali.
If the picture above has got you drooling for more, scroll down and feast your eyes on 6 of the dessert treats best enjoyed during this Festival of Lights:
1. Gulab Jamun
A dumpling-like dessert popular in South Asia, this milk-solids-based dessert is caramel brown in colour and shaped into round bite-sized balls. To make a gulab jamun, milk solids will have to be prepared first, by heating milk over a low flame for a long time. Once most of the milk content has evaporated, the remaining solids, also known as khoya, will be kneaded into a dough. The dough is later made into balls, which are then fried before dipped into sugar syrup.
2. Achu Murukku
Malaysians of any race is no stranger to the deliciously crunchy murukku. While most are accustomed to the savoury type, achu murukku is the sweet cousin to it that is a must-try for any food lover. Made of rice flour, murukku means twisted and achu means mold. Typically, a flower mold is used to give the sweet murukku its just as sweet appearance. The recipe for it calls for coconut milk. The mold is dipped into the batter, and the murukku is fried in hot oil to give it its crispy texture.
Due to its twisty appearance, it can even be called the “Indian pretzels”. A chewy sweet that can be served warm or cold, it has a crystallized sugary coating. It is made by deep-frying wheat flour batter in pretzel or circular shapes. The deep fried sweets are then soaked in sugar syrup, which sometimes has citric acid or lime juice added to it. Other flavours such as rose or kewra water are also used. Other variants of this sweet include imarti, made of urad flour, and chhena (cottage chese) jalebi.
Ladoo comes in a shape similar to gulab jamun – the ball shape popular with any desert due to its ease of molding. Also spelled as laddu, it is believed to be derived from the Sanskrit word ladduka, which means a small ball. Typically made of flour and minced dough, the batter is sweetened with sugar as well as other flavourings before being cooked in ghee, and later molded into its familiar small ball shape. There are a few varieties of ladoo, such as besan ladoo and motichoor ladoo.
A typically chunky dessert often presented in diamond-shaped slabs or round shapes. To make plain barfi, sugar and condensed milk are cooked until the mixture solidifies. Barfi is flavoured with nuts (almonds, pistachios) or fruits (mango, coconut). There are many types of barfi available, depending on the ingredients used. Kesri pedha, for example, uses saffron and is flattened into yellow round shapes. Cham cham is pink and white, shaped like sushi rice balls.
A rice pudding typically made with rice, milk and sugar. To make it, rice is boiled with broken wheat, tapioca or vermicelli. Then milk and sugar are added. Raisins, almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts, saffron and cardamom are some of the ingredients used to flavour the pudding. Kheer is known by many names in different dialects of South Asia, such as payesh in Bengal, which also uses slightly different ingredients. A dessert similar to kheer, called firni, is also popular in the Muslim community.
Bonus: Masala Chai
There’s nothing like a good cup of tea to wash down these sweet treats, and no tea is better to serve them with than a masala chai. Black tea infused with various spices and mixed with milk, it is traditionally prepared by simmering or boiling the ingredients together. Later it is strained to separate the tea from the solid residues and tea leaves. The method of preparation differs depending to local customs. Different versions of the tea also start appearing after its popularity spread outside of its originating country, India.
WHERE TO BUY:
Most of these sweets can be found at these following place in Malaysia:
(Main photo source: abycouture.in)