Meetha Peetha – Savory Rice Dumplings

This is yet another dessert that I was introduced to by my MIL. It’s a traditional dessert made in Bihar – Meetha Peetha (sweet variation of usual healthy peetha or farra which has a chana dal (bengal gram split) and spices filled in it).

It’s a humble traditional recipe of delectable rice flour dumplings in milk. Soft rice-flour balls dissolve in mouth the moment you put it. Then you are greeted by heavenly mawa-filling – this bursting of balls in mouth is the high point of this dessert. 🙂

mawa-stuffed-peetha

After my marriage, when this dessert was made for the first time at home, everyone waited for my reaction. As it was the first time when I tasted this dessert, my response was like, “nothing unusual, it tastes like kheer!”

However, this didn’t went down well with my FIL.  He said, “how can you compare it with kheer, it’s different, didn’t you noticed mawa-filling in it?”

Later, I too felt he was so right! Comparing this dessert with kheer is injustice to this not-so-common Indian dessert, although it’s made with milk.

I am sure there many women who too come across such embarrassing situations during initial days of their marriage. After all, when MIL prepares a dish which is loved by everyone in the family, then as a good daughter-in-law, it’s better to develop the taste for it or at least not to wear critic’s hat. 🙂

So, after having this dessert for few more times, I developed a taste for it and now I really relish its unique taste.

How to make Meetha Peetha?

Although it’s quite simple-to-make dessert with minimum ingredients required, little amount of patience will always bring out the best result.

Since I myself have become so fond of this sweet temptation, I make it quite often. However, unlike most of the mawa desserts that I make (like – gulab jamuns, chandrakala, suji and gond ki barfi and parwal ki mithai etc.), I don’t use residual mawa (left after making ghee at home) in this dessert.

Ingredients

  • Rice flour: ½ cup
  • Milk: 1 liter (full fat)
  • Sugar: 3 tbs

Ingredients for Filling

  • Mawa: ¼ cup
  • Powdered sugar: ¼ cup
  • Cardamom powder: 1 tbsp
  • Almond flakes: 1 tbsp
  • Saffron: few strands

Procedure

Step – 1 (preparation of inner filling)

Roast mawa in heavy bottom skillet on medium flame for 5 minutes. Take it off the flame, and add sugar, almond flakes and cardamom powder. Mix well and make small balls and keep aside. Making balls in advance makes the filling process smooth.

mawa-balls-filling

Step – 2 (kneading dough)

Knead the rice flour with warm water just like you do to make chapattis. Dough will be sticky at this stage. So, apply ghee on palms and then do the kneading work. It will result into soft dough. Cover and let the dough rest for 2 minute, divide the dough into small rounds.

Dough can also be made from soaked rice, the process of which I have shared in farra making process. Technique is same in both.

Step – 3 (process of filling mawa)

Make small dough balls and make small flat round with the help of fingers (image 1). Place one mawa-ball in the center and join the edges. (images 2 and 3). Press the edges gently yet firmly to seal it (image 4) so that dumplings do not burst while boiling in milk.

peetha-filling-process

Fill all dumplings following the same procedure.

Step – 4 (Boiling in milk)

Put milk to steamer on heavy bottom vessel. Once milk starts boiling, drop dumplings one by one into it. Stir gently and be careful not to break dumplings.

Allow the milk to thicken for 15-20 minutes and then add sugar.  Stir well to mix the sugar and keep on flame for another 5 minutes.

mawa-stuffes-peetha

Take it off the flame and allow it to cool. Sprinkle few saffron strands and it’s done. Here I must mention that it tastes best when on room temperature.

mawa-filled-peetha

Tip – Enjoy this dessert when it’s fresh, as refrigeration makes rice dumplings hard. If at all, you happen to store in fridge, bring it to room temperature before serving to relish soft dumplings dipped in thick milk.

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Parwal ki Mithai

I guess this Indian confection is a rarity and you won’t find it easily in sweet shops, unless you happen to be in Bihar or Varanasi. The process of turning a vegetable into a tasty sweet course requires some effort. But this mellow comfit is worth the effort and time it takes.

parwal-ki-mithai

My mom makes this every year in summers when pointed gourd (parwal in Hindi) is available in plenty in market. I asked its recipe every summer but somehow never make it. My husband is not found of pointed gourd so whenever I mention him I’m going to make Parwal ki Mithai he would say why you have to make something that I don’t like. He always wants me to make sweets that he is fond of, like jalebi or gulab jamun. 🙂

However, last week when my mom visited me, I asked her to make it in my kitchen. To me, biting this dry sweet felt ambrosia, I missed this indulgence so much. My husband’s reaction was – “OK, I will only have the filling”. But, to my delight he had it completely without leaving the outer layer of parwal.

If you are getting tempted to make it this summer, here is the process to make this not-so-common sweet!

Ingredients

Pointed gourd (parwal): 250gms

Sugar: 1cup

Water: 1 cup

Ingredients for Stuffing

Mawa: 1cup

Sugar powder: ½ cup

Cardamom powder: 1tsp

Almond and pistachio flakes: 1 tsp

Muskmelon seeds: 1tsp

Procedure

While buying parwal choose of bigger size. As it allows more mawa filling in it, making it more tasty. Wash and peel the outer layer of parwal and make a vertical cut.

parwal-cutting

Scoop out the inside seed filling and keep it aside. These seeds are of no use in this recipe.

parwal-sccoped-out

Take 1 cup of sugar and equal amount of water in heavy bottom skillet or pan. Drop the parwal in it and let it simmer on low flame. Keep checking in between. In approximately in 15 minutes, parwal will get soft. To check if it’s done you need to observe it carefully. Surface of parwal will become shiny, indicating it’s time to take them out of sugar syrup.

parwal-with-sugar-syrup

 

Take them out and drain excess sugar syrup from them. Now proceed to prepare the filling for these shinning beauties.

Procedure for Stuffing

Roast mawa on medium flame on heavy bottom skillet. Roasted mawa increases the shelf life of dry sweets. In around 5 minutes, take it off the heat and add sugar powder and rest of the ingredients. Mix well and stuffing is ready.

parwal-mawa-filling

Stuff each parwal with a spoonful of mawa filling, and press gently by your fingers.

At this stage they are soft and delicate. So, place them in refrigerator for 1-2 hours and they’ll become firm. If store this sweet in refrigerator, it can easily last for 10 days.

parwal-sweet

Even if you don’t like parwal go ahead and try this sweet as after getting boiled in sugar syrup there is hardly any taste of parwal in it. You will find its taste closer to chandrakala (dry sweet which has similar mawa-filling).

Additional info:

One may add green color in sugar syrup or boil parwal in water with a pinch of baking soda to get greener parwals. However, keeping health in mind, my mom forgoes both these beautification steps. Still parwal ki mitahi that she makes is amazingly delicious.

Here I have shared exactly how my mom makes parwal ki mithai. If you happen to make this sweet following this recipe, and you like it then credit goes to my mom. However, if by any chance (although very unlikely), you don’t like it, it’s my fault. As I got you into making it by sharing tempting pictures. 🙂

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Chandrakala sweet – Holi Special

During Holi festival, making ghujia is a regular tradition in North-India. So, this time I thought why not make something other than ghujia, but similar to it. So the idea of making Chandrakala popped up.

I have made ghujia many times before but this was the first time I tried my hands on Chandrakala, and I’m really happy the way they turned out.

chandrakala-ready-to-eatSoft yet crumbly texture outside and delicious mawa-filling inside that just lifts up the mood. The taste of cardamom and almond in the mawa-filling is amazing.

This Indian sweet easily stays good for 15-20 days or more. However, I’m sure this won’t last for more than a week in any family with sweet-tooth. Ok, enough of introduction and let’s start with its preparation. 🙂

Simple ingredients are required and if you have mawa that’s left after making ghee at home, the same can be used for filling.

I also use same residual mawa  (extracted from ghee-making) for making gulab-jamuns as well, and trust me they taste equally good. However, you can very well use ready-made mawa to make Chandrakala or gulab-jamun.

Ingredients

For dough:

  • All purpose flour (maida): 1 cup
  • Clarified butter (ghee): ¼ cup
  • Water to knead dough

For Stuffing:

  • Mawa/khoya: ½ cup
  • Powdered sugar: 1/4 cup
  • Cardamom powder: ½ tbsp
  • Almond flakes: 1 tbsp

For Sugar syrup:

  • Sugar: 3/4 cup
  • Water: 3/4 cup
  • 2-3 pieces of lemon wedges or 3-4 tsp of milk
  • Pistachio for garnishing: ¼ tbsp
  • Oil for deep frying

Procedure

Dough Making:

  • Keep aside 1 tbsp flour aside, add ghee in rest of the flour and mix properly. Rub with fingers to make sure there are no lumps.
  • Add water in small proportions and make the dough. The texture of dough should be similar to dough of roti. However, this dough will be non-sticky because of ghee in it.
  • Cover the dough with damp muslin cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Preparing stuffing:

  • Roast the mawa on low flame for 10 minutes (I roast the mawa, as this increases its shelf-life.). Let it cool and return to room temperature.
  • Add powdered sugar, almond flakes, cardamom powder and mix properly. You can add raisins, cashews and other dry-fruits of your choice. More the merrier. 🙂

Proceeding further:

  • Divide the dough in small balls and roll out thin small rotis. Make sure the thickness of roti is adequate. Too thin the roti, stuffing will ooze out while frying. If too thick the edges will remain uncooked, and the main body will turn golden while frying.
  • Roll out rotis and keep them covered with damp muslin cloth.

rotis-for-chandrakala

  • In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp flour (that was earlier kept aside) with little water and make a paste. This act as the sealing agent and prevent stuffing from oozing out.

Sealing agent for Chandrakala

  • Now put 1 tbsp stuffing at center of roti (with the above-prepared paste applied on the edges).

Stuffing for Chandrakala

  • Place the other roti on top of it and press gently from all sides.

Sealing edges of Chandrakala

  • Start folding and turning with finger tip. Keep rotating the roti on your palm, as this gives better control while folding.

Chandrakala folding process

  • Complete the circle and you will get this pattern (#3 in above image) in the end. Earlier the beauty of this pattern made me think it must be difficult. However, after few trials under my MIL’s guidance, I can now easily do this part.
  • Make all chandrakala like this, and keep them covered with damp muslin cloth till you start deep-frying process.

Procedure for Sugar syrup:

  • Take sugar and water in a heavy bottom vessel and put on medium flame. Sugar will dissolve and syrup will start boiling.
  • Let it simmer for around 15 minutes. You can either add lemon wedges or milk drops in this syrup. This helps in accumulating dirt from sugar syrup and gives it a nice transparent appearance.
  • Collect the dirt forming on the top and discard it. Another advantage of adding milk or lemon wedges is that it prevents syrup from solidifying on cooling.

Deep-frying:

  • Heat the oil in heavy bottom skillet on medium flame.
  • Drop in chandrakala one by one. Deep-fry them on medium flame and keep twisting and turning till you get an even golden color.

Deep-fried Chandrakala

  • After frying dip them in sugar syrup. Let them soak in the syrup for 10-15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle some finely-cut almonds and pistachio before serving.

Chandrakala with colorful bottles

I had been thinking of trying this sweet since quite some time and I’m really happy that I finally made it. Since it’s occasion of Holi I have added colorful dotted bottles in background.

It is much simple to make than it appears. So, do try it and surprise your loved ones with this amazing looking and delicious Indian sweet-dish.

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Making Gulab-Jamuns with Mawa

There are so many recipes of making Gulab-jamun. Like, making gulab-jamuns from milk powder or using bread crumbs to make gulab-jamuns. Traditional recipe of combining mawa (khoya) and paneer (cottage cheese) is an evergreen one.

gulab jamun ready to eat
gulab jamun ready to eat

I prefer those recipes that allow me to use ingredients that I already have at home. I make gulab-jamun using milk powder when I have milk powder at home and want to make some use of it.

When I have residue mawa left from making ghee at home I opt for this recipe to make super soft gulab-jamuns. It’s an easy to make recipe with basic ingredients available at home. I prefer using home-made paneer than ready made ones. However this recipe can be followed to make gulab-jamuns from ready-made mawa and paneer.

mawa from ghee making
residual mawa

Gulab jamun is a popular Indian sweet during festival times. In my family all are blessed with sweet tooth and we need some reason to have desserts. When we have khoya at home it becomes a common discussion at dinner table that what next can be made from it.

In-fact we already had discussion on what can be made from sugar syrup that remains from these gulab-jamun! I suppose my next post will probably be on that. 🙂

So here is the process I follow to make gulab-jamuns.

  • Making time: 45 minutes
  • Serving: 20 pieces (medium-size)

Ingredients for sugar syrup:

  • Sugar: 2 1/2 cup
  • Water: 3 cups
  • Saffron: few strands
  • Cardamom: ½ tea spoon

Ingredients for gulab-jamuns:

  • Mawa: 2 cups
  • Paneer: 1/4 cup
  • All purpose flour (maida): ¼ cup
  • Baking soda: ¼ tea spoon
  • Milk: few spoons
  • Rose extract: ½ tea spoon (optional)
  • Oil/ghee for deep frying
  • Almonds, saffron, Pistachios for garnishing

Procedure of sugar syrup:

  • To make the syrup add water and sugar into a vessel and put it on low flame. It will approximately take 15 minutes.
  • Take a drop of syrup between your finger tip, join your fingers and move them apart. You must see a strand. This is called “ek taar ki chaasni”. We need “ek taar ki chasni” for gulab-jamuns.

You must have heard “ek taar” and “do taar ki chasni” in context of making Indian sweets. I use to get intimidated by these culinary jargon’s. Now I know it simply means no of strings you get during the finger-test. 🙂

Make the sugar syrup (chaasni) and keep aside. The sugar syrup should be at room temperature while putting gulab-jamuns into it. If the syrup is hot gulab-jamuns will burst.

Also, sugar will thicken a bit on cooling. So, it’s advisable to make it before-hand you will get exact idea on cooling and no chance of any doubt. If on cooling you find syrup too runny put it again on flame and if it’s too thick on cooling just add little water and heat a little. See it’s so easy! 🙂

  • Add few strands of saffron, cardamom powder and rose extract in this syrup and keep aside.

Procedure of Gulab jamuns:

  • If the mawa is kept in fridge keep it out for 30 minutes. It will return to room temperature and become soft.
  • Take paneer and mawa in a big plate and mix with hand. After rubbing pass the mixture through the grater. This will further remove any lumps if any and give smooth mixture.
gulab jamun grate the mixture
After grating the mixture
  • Add all purpose flour, baking soda and mix thoroughly. You will notice mixture leaving ghee and your palms will be greasy. The mixture should be soft enough to bind into balls, there shouldn’t be any cracks. If there are any cracks balls will break while frying.
  • If it’s difficult to bind into balls without visible cracks, it means mixture is dry. Sprinkle few drops of milk and then try to bind. You can choose either round or cylindrical shape. Keep the size small as it will double up when soaked in sugar syrup.
gulab jamun shape the dough
shape the dough
  • Before shaping all the balls let them pass through the frying test. To do the frying test, drop two three small balls into hot oil. See if balls are maintaining their shape and are not bursting. If they pass the test then fry other balls too.
  • Just in case if the balls are bursting, sprinkle few drops of milk and mix properly.  Shape the balls and fry them on low flame till they turn golden brown.
  • Carefully fry all the gulab-jamuns in small batches say five at a time. These gulab-jamuns are soft so frying in small batches reduces their chances of breaking.
  • Dip the gulab-jamuns in sugar syrup. Cover the vessel with a plate and let the gulab-jamun soak the syrup for 2 hours before serving. You will notice the size of gulab jamuns have increased.
gulab jamun in sugar syrup
gulab-jamuns soaked in sugar syrup
  • Garnish with few almond, pistachios pieces before serving. Can be served warm or at room temperature.

gulab-jamun

Which other Indian sweets come to your mind while reading this post? What do think what else can be made using residue mawa?