Sweet Tooth

Chirote- Maharashtrian Diwali sweets

Just in time for Diwali another one of my mothers recipes for sweets follows:



1 cup flour /maida

1 tablespoon ghee

1 cup oil

1 cup powdered sugar

Pinch of salt


Rub the ghee into the flour with your fingertips. Make into a ball of dough with a few tablespoons of water. Divide into 12 balls. Roll out into circles. Spread a little ghee on the rolled dough then sprinkle with some flour and add another circle on top of the first. Repeat the process till all are stacked.Now roll the whole circle out again with a rolling pin.

Roll up the chapathi formed and cut into 1/2 pieces. Flatten each piece with the cut side up. Roll into an oblong shape. Heat 1 cup oil and deep fry the pieces. Drain on kitchen paper.Sprinkle with powdered sugar  . Cool and keep in airtight containers.

Karanji- Maharashtrian Diwali Sweets


Mama's Karanji recipe

It is that time of year again.Curtains are being washed, cupboards organised, long forgotten corners swept clean and ceilings brushed. New clothes are bought and stocks of diyas inspected while paper thin layers of cotton are rolled to make wicks. Pungent bottles of mustard oil are stocked up, ready to fill the diyas for the the first day of Diwali.

Besides the traditional meaning of the festival, the victory of good over evil and light over darkness, the beginning of a New Year, a prayer for the forces of light, prosperity and wisdom to enter our lives, it is , for me, a remembrance of time past, of family and ancestors with whom we each have celebrated this glorious season.

One way to do that is through food ofcourse.

For us Diwali sweets mean just three of the best, all made in the old way like my mother made them. Her recipe and old notebook are pictured above. The Old Way is labour intensive and there's the joy, as it's a labour of love.

The kitchen staff ( me) goes into high gear. First a mixture of coriander seeds and jaggery makes the Naivedya , an offering to the Gods.Then out comes all the paraphernalia for "The Making of the Sweets".

The ghee, the gehu, the copra, the coconut, dried fruits, spices and sugar, sugar, sugar. There is nothing like cooking in quantity  that brings about a complete sense of  abundance and satisfaction.

The cornucopia of ingredients are  ground,roasted, fried, stirred and fashioned into delicately garnished sweets. These are packed away in large boxes for the five wonderful days to come, when family arrive and lamps are lit  and we worship together for new beginnings with a glance over our shoulders to those who taught us all these things.


My Mothers recipe for Karanji-



1/2 fresh coconut ,grated

1/4 cup sugar, powdered

1/4 cup almonds, powdered

8 elaichi / cardamom, powdered.

Mix all these ingredients and saute in a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai till all the moisture from the fresh coconut has dried up.


1 cup flour

1/4 cup suji / semolina

1 tbs ghee

Salt to taste

Mix these ingredients and add water to make a dough.Knead the dough. Divide into 14 pieces. Roll out to make 3 " circles. Hold the circle in one hand and fill with a tablespoon of the filling.Fold over and seal the edges with a bit of water.

Deep fry in hot ghee.

Double , triple or quadruple the quantity depending on the number you want.

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An Embarassment of Riches-Rasmalai


Lately I have been inundated with interesting emails and SMS's.

They offer me a fortune, as I am one of those special people picked out of the Universe to recieve, completely gratis, a mind boggling amount of money , for doing nothing, for just being me.

Take this one for example:

"Your mobile number has won 450,000 GB Pounds in ongoing............... Int"l Mobile promo. To claim your prize email to --->"

or this:

"Your email id has been awarded £2,500,000 GBP. Send Full name, Country, Tel, Age"

Now we all know these messages are rubbish, but in my heart of hearts this sounds completely right. After all don't I deserve it? The Chosen One.  To get a gratuity for life.

Gratuity: A favor or gift, usually in the form of money, given in return for service.

Noun    1. gratuity - a relatively small amount of money given for services rendered (as by a waiter) backsheesh, baksheesh, bakshis, bakshish, pourboire, tip

2. gratuity - an award (as for meritorious service) given without claim or obligation

Obviously I mean 2 above. An award for meritorious service...etc etc.

But what is this service....for living?

Ok these are hard times- arent they? And then, in the new Americanese we are learning fast here...I am Special. So put "hard times" and "special" together and you have the infinite capacity to receive handouts. In fact they sound positively deserved!

Its because of this kind of thinking that there are more small fry caught by this phishing than you would imagine.

On the other hand its this kind of thinking that seems to characterise our politicians. They recieve fortunes all the time from unidentifiable sources. So many of them look like Cheshire Cats who have licked the cream...repeatedly.

For those of us who do not belong to that disgusting sounding group "The Creamy Layer"and are not fat cats who have creamed off the top for years- here is a nice recipe to add richness to your life without guilt. And here your efforts will be justly rewarded..its not a lottery after all.




500 gms Rabdi

1 tsp cardamom/ elaichi

750 gms Sugar

250 gms Paneer

4 tbsp maida ( white flour)

1/2 level tsp baking powder

400 ml water + 1 litre

1 tbsp sliced unsalted pistachios

Make the Rabdi from 2 litres of milk. Bring milk to the boil and reduce heat. Let it simmer gently for 1 1/2 to 2 hours stirring occasionally.Add the powdered cardamon and 150 gms of the sugar when it has reduced to 1/4th the original amount. Mix well till the sugar has dissolved. Refrigerate.

Make the patties: Mix the 4 tsps of the flour and baking powder together.Mash the paneer till smooth.Add the flour mix to the paneer and mix very well.Now make 12 patties out of this paneer.

Dissolve the remaining  flour in a bit of water.Heat the rest of the water and add the flour mix and sugar. Bring to a boil and when the syrup starts foaming add the patties . Cook for 10 minutes. The syrup should foam constantly and should not settle down during this process.You will need to top up the water to allow this to happen. Add about 200 ml water very , very slowly in a trickle from a jug right through the 10 minutes.

When the Rasmalai patties are cooked they will have little holes in them like a sponge.

Remove and put in a seperate bowl  filled with 1 litre of  water .Let them cool.

Now squeeze out the water and syrup from the patties very gently and put into the bowl of prepared rabdi.

Scatter the sliced pistas on top and serve chilled.


Now isnt that worth a million dollars??