Sweets and Savories for Diwali Part II

The weather has finally turned and it’s starting to feel nippy.  As I write this post, I am watching the rain (or light showers) drizzle outside while curled up in a blanket.  Finally (finally!) fall and festive!  It just doesn’t quite feel like October when it’s perpetually summer, and the temperature doesn’t budge from the high 80s.  Don’t get me wrong, I love good weather as much as the next person, but without the contrast of inclement weather how can one appreciate bright and sunny days?  🙂

The last week has been a busy one with lots of cooking, baking, and experimentation, and I have enjoyed every minute of it.  Hubby’s gift of an ice cream/gelato maker finally arrived last week, and I made my first batch of ice cream.  It turned out to be the creamiest, most flavorful ice cream we have ever had.  I also made a tray full of Indian sweets, to pack as gifts to friends, and a pre-Diwali dinner of jeera rice and paneer tikka masala for me and hubby dear.  Phew!  It finally feels good to finally put my feet up for a bit!  (Of course, Diwali cleaning is still on the radar, but I am trying to put that off today!)

Below are links and helpful hints for some of the treats I made last week.

May you have a blessed and joyful Diwali!  Here’s to eating, drinking, and being merry!

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Jeera (or cumin) Rice Recipe:  Jeera Rice

*I made a simple version of jeera rice with just cumin seeds, a pinch of salt, olive oil, and basmati rice.  Since I was pairing this with the spice-laden paneer tikka masala, I wanted the rice to be on the plainer side.  But the recipe yields a very nice result as well and the methodology is spot on.


Paneer Tikka Masala Recipe:  Paneer Tikka Masala

*Once again, a wonderful recipe from Veg Recipes of India.  I followed this recipe down to the last letter and it produced the creamiest and most sinful dish.  I would even say the leftovers taste better as the flavors have had a chance to seep into the paneer!  An award-winning dish!

Paneer and bell peppers coated in besan, spice, and yogurt mixture about to go in the oven.


Jeera Rice & Paneer Tikka Masala


Motichoor Laddoo Recipe:  Motichoor Laddoos

*This recipe is not for the faint of heart!  I had asked hubby dear to purchase a large sieve last year when he was in India, and I was finally able to put it to good use!  Making laddoos is a time consuming process, but the results are just lovely.  If you want to just make boondi laddoos, then there is no need to pulse the mixture, and you can simply form the balls.  I like the taste and texture of motichoor laddoos, so chose to follow the recipe exactly.  The only adjustment I made was to omit the artificial color as I don’t add any artificial ingredients in my cooking.  

Large sieve to make boondis for the laddoos.  Making boondi/motichoor laddoos is a painstaking process!


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Besan Barfi Recipe:  Besan Barfi

*I followed this recipe pretty closely and the barfis turned out wonderfully.  It does take about 1/2 hour of stirring the besan mixture for the raw taste of the besan to go away.  The only recommendation I have is to leave the mixture in a plate in the fridge for a few hours to solidify, then removing and letting sit for about an hour before cutting it into pieces.  This allows you to cut the barfis into lovely shapes, without too much effort.  They stay fresh for several weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.

I decorated a tray with several varieties of sweets (gulab jamunnan khatai) and mathri (mathri), then added a Diwali candle for a festive touch.  Lastly, I covered the tray with plastic wrap and finished it off with a ribbon bow for an ethnic and elegant presentation!

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Mango Ice Cream Recipe:  Easy Mango Ice Cream

*This recipe is very easy!  You can certainly make this ice cream even without an ice cream maker.  For my version and for an even mixture, I blended the following in the blender for a few minutes before putting in the ice cream maker for 50 minutes:  2 cups of Alphonso mango pulp (you can find this as a canned variety in your local Indian store.  I used the Verka brand), 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.  I didn’t use honey or vanilla (as per the recipe), and the ice cream tasted just fine.  This proportion gave the results in the pictures below.  The ice cream is creamy and not overly sweet.  I also let the ice cream firm up for twenty four hours in the fridge before serving.  Feel free to top it off with nuts before serving in an elegant dessert bowl!

Mango ice cream served up with chopped pistachios on top.