Of the festival of lights ~ Semiya payasam, ribbon pakodi, namak pare, kaaju laddu


Growing up in a cross cultural, dual religious family was confusing at best….. for my father, any festival meant it was a holiday, to be spent with his favourite book, with a rare afternoon nap thrown in and pesty visitors in the evenings he had no interest socializing with…..for amma who tried her best to interpret what a hindu festival had to be, diwali meant new clothes, crackers and some festive food sans the rituals and religious bits….ofcourse Christmas was a different ball game…she was on home turf….for us kids, we wondered if we were hindu or Christian, why we had new clothes and crackers, but no pooja’s and if we were doing some stuff for both festivals, it wasn’t like what the others were doing…we were’nt going the whole hog!!

Whew…..thank god for growing up, for logic, maturity and sense that sometimes only age brings you…..its been long decided that any day could be festive if I chose so, …that festive food is interesting and a great way to make jaws drop with the “don’t tell me you made this!!” look, diyas with urlis look sexy and that non noisy crackers could be fun and beautiful but also terrible for cough….last year we were in coimbatore, with K on work and me tagging along…so we went to my classmates home and were part of their festivities…the year before that K was working so late that we didn’t even get to eat dinner together, this year with all the chocolate making for other people’s diwali, I got sucked in to the festive spirit and one trip to shilparamam the crafts village in Hyderabad, made me fall in love with the urlis that had diyas…this meant that I would for sure light up on diwali day and two days later too just because they looked good…. Festivals or any day for that matter should be about having fun, anyway you chose to…

clockwise (l-r): Semiya payasam, ribbon pakodi, home made chocolates, namak pare, kaaju laddu

I cooked up a storm, with puri and aloo (didn’t have time to take a picture) and sweets and savouries …I made namak pare and ribbon pakodi, kaaju katli which was a big flop and I converted it to laddus…with K teasing me all the while…saying… “hmm kaaju halwa…nice.. I’ll get myself a bowl and a spoon to eat it” …. But Appa came to my defense….he said that kaaju, sugar and ghee would taste pretty awesome whatever the outcome…. He was right… and semiya paayasam….

this goes to JFS, Jhiva is the brainchild of Indira, this month hosted with the festive theme by the wonderful Vee of Past, present and me who graciously accepted the entry though i’d missed the date….. and the fabulously talented Meeta of What’s for Lunch Honey the hostess of Monthly Mingle, this time the theme being Traditional Feasts

so happy diwali everyone…i hope we all had a lovely and safe time….

Namak pare

2 cups maida

2 T bombay rava

1 t jeera / ajwain

Salt to taste

2 T cooking butter / ghee

Oil for frying

Rub in the ghee or butter to the dry ingredients and make a stiff dough adding a little water at a time. Set aside for about 20 minutes. Heat oil in a kadai. Roll out the dough into a thin roti, cut into diamonds / squares/ strips. Fry till the colour darkens. Drain on paper towels, store in an air tight container.

Ribbon pakodi: (recipe source, amma: Mother in law)

2 1/2 cups rice flour

1 cup besan (chickpea flour)

Salt, red chilli powder to taste

A pinch of hing (asafetida)

Oil for frying

Mix all the dry ingredients together with the required water toa pliable dough. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan. Fix the flat (ribbon) mould in a murukku maker, fill with dough, check for the readiness of the oil by pinching a little bit of dough and dropping it into the hot oil. If the oil is ready, it will rise to the surface and bubbles will appear. Press the dough into the hot oil, spreading it out evenly to cover the kadai. Fry till golden on both sides. Drain on paper and store in an air tight container.

Flopped Kaaju Katli (the taste was pretty awesome though)

2 cups of kaaju powder (ground pretty fine in a mixer)

¾ cup sugar made to a powder with the seeds of 2 cardamoms

2 tablespoons of ghee

in a heavy bottomed pan, dry roast the kaaju powder till it begins to slightly change colour. Add the powdered sugar and continue to roast till the sugar mixes with the kaaju. When everything is well incorporated, add the ghee and stir till it comes together. Now here’s where I messed up…. You’re supposed to transfer the mixture onto a greased plate, spread it flatly with the back of a spoon and cut into squares or diamonds…. I did it all but it refused to come off the plate. So after waiting a couple of hours, I shaped into small laddus and placed them in muffin cups….left overnight, the kaaju laddus dried a little and were easily coming off the paper….

1 cup vermicelli (I used the pre roasted variety. If using the regular one fry/roast till golden)

1 litre milk (I used low fat/ toned milk cos that’s the one we buy!! Full cream tastes better though…and will go straight to your hips)

5 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Seeds of one cardamom, powdered (double if you want a stronger taste of cardamom)

2 tablespoons cashew and raisins

1 teaspoon ghee

Boil the milk till it thickens a bit, add the condensed milk and boil for another 3-4 mins. Add the roasted vermicelli and cook stirring in between for about 7-8 minutes. Check for sweetness, adjust and add the cardamom powder. In another pan, heat the ghee and fry the cashew and raisins till golden…beware of the raisins puffing up and exploding…. Add to the payasam, give it another boil and take off the heat. Let stand for a while. Serve warm or cold.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Alex says:

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  2. Meeta says:

    Lovely post and I can so relate to many of the things you said. Thanks for all these treats!

    Thanks Meeta…… i can’t wait for the roundup!!

  3. Lovely to read your musings. I understand the cross culture thing perfectly, having created one myself! We light a candle of peace for every festival now….and do a bit of this and that too. Christmas is the kids fave because of endless cookies and cakes…not to forget the stockings under the tree!! Great to have come by your blog…:0)

    Dear Vindee, for the last few days i have been lurking around your blog so much, it scared me!! great to see you here….

  4. sia says:

    ok…after looking at that gorgeous uruli(and also rangoli and food:) i have to make one trip to hyd to visit shilparam 🙂
    beautiful spread ….

    hey sia!! thats a beautiful thought….please be my guest, i’d love to have you over, anytime…that’s a promise…i also promise to be your personal guide and shopping assistant…..

  5. Aparna says:

    Just came across your blog and enjoyed your style of writing and the recipe. That Jangiri recipe I’m sure going to try out. I can still remember, from childhood, the warm juicy jangiris a “sweet” mama (uncle) used to bring over to my grandparents’ place!

    Dear Aparna, thanks for visiting and leaving your comments….. i love jahangiri’s hot, cold and three days old too….. try it out…it makes them taste better!!

  6. Asha says:

    Beautiful Deepas and feast!

    🙂 thanks Asha…

  7. padmaja says:

    I feel Shilparam @ Hyd is the best place for those amazing handicrafts, I love so many things there and Rocky keeps reminding me of my luggage allowance whenever I try to make a trip all the way there but definitely worth it right!!
    love those amazing recipes!!

    Dear Padmaja, there have been times when i have given a token advance to reserve something i’ve liked,and picked it up later because i’d have exhausted all the money i had brought!! i can imagine how it must be….when you are here the next time, lets go together!! it will be mayhem!! 🙂

  8. Srivalli says:

    Looks great…nice snacks!

    thanks…i had fun doing it….hope you had a lovely festival

  9. bee says:

    i adore shilparamam. they have gorgeous stuff. happy diwali to you and your family.

    i live less than 2 kms away from the place…so you can imagine…its temptation personified…and most of the time…i give in!! thanks for the wishes bee….

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