Of all the recipes of desi kitchens, mithais are considered the most demanding. There is the tedious process of turning milk into khoya and the long wait mithais implement. Time, it seems, is the most valuable ingredient in making these candies.
A new cookbook from culinary writer Chetna Makan simplifies this process. It offers around 80 Indian dishes that take no more than 30 minutes to prepare. She writes that the idea came to her via social media comments. While in lockdown, she shared recipes on her YouTube channel, Food with Chetna, and realized that while people invested a lot of time and effort into preparing sumptuous meals about a year ago, it was a short-lived phase.
The liberation of The 30-minute Indian from Chetna comes at the right time: offices are reopening and the holiday season is approachingâJanmasthami is Monday. Here are two mithai recipes taken from the book.
Laddoo nariyal with chocolate
These coconut laddoos are the best little candies ever, and so quick to make. My mom does them all the time and I remember helping her deploy them when I was young. I added chocolate to make them even more appealing to kids, and you can also roll them in chocolate chips or colorful cake chips instead of pistachios if you have little ones to treat.
MADE ABOUT 12
100 g (3.5 oz) desiccated coconut
30 g (1 oz) pistachios
200 ml (7 fl oz) condensed milk
1 oz (30 g) 70% cocoa dark chocolate, melted
Blend the coconut in a food processor until finely ground and set aside. Then mix the pistachios until they are coarsely ground and spread them out on a plate.
Heat a pan, add the coconut and cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly so that it does not color at all.
Add the condensed milk and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Then add the melted chocolate, mix well and cook for about a minute until the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan and form a block. Remove from the heat.
Let the mixture cool slightly. Take a small portion of the mixture at a time and roll it into a walnut-sized ball, then roll it in the ground pistachios to coat. Do not let the mixture cool too much, otherwise it will be too difficult to form balls. Let the balls rest for 5 minutes and serve hot, or allow them to cool completely before serving.
Laddoos can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Besan barfi. (Chetna’s 30 Minute Indian)
My mom makes some Indian sweets at home and this is one of them. She uses something called khoya (a thick milk concentrate) to make them, but since I couldn’t find any I started making them without and they still taste amazing.
FOR 8-10 PEOPLE
100 g (3.5 oz) of ghee, plus extra for greasing
170 g (6 oz) gram flour (besan / chickpea flour)
60 g (2 Â½ oz) icing sugar
20 g (three quarters of an oz) ground almonds
A quarter of a teaspoon of ground cardamom
10 g (1/4 oz) toasted flaked almonds
Heat the ghee in a pan. Once melted, add the chickpea flour and cook over low heat for 8 minutes, stirring often, until it begins to change color and smell toasty. The mixture will start to form lumps but gradually bubble up and become smooth and creamy.
Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease a 20 cm (8 inch) square pan and line it with non-stick parchment paper.
Combine the icing sugar, ground almonds and cardamom in a bowl, then add the toasted gram flour mixture and stir to combine.
Transfer the mixture to the lined pan, then spread it out and even the surface with a spatula. Sprinkle the toasted flaked almonds on top and chill in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes until firm.
Cut it into small squares and serve.
These candies will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Let them sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.
Chetna’s 30 Minute Indian by Chetna Makan, published by Octopus Publishing, distributed by Hachette India; ?? 1 911.29
Extracted with permission from Chetna’s 30 Minute Indian by Chetna Makan, published by Octopus Publishing, distributed by Hachette India.
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