Chalta Hai…Diwali Hai

Finally, My kids decided to sleep at the same time, giving me some time to cook up those diwali goodies that I wanted to make. I went for the simple ones first, the ones that I had made before and hence did not require much thinking. By thinking, I mean Improvising when things go wrong. Hey, its the thought that counts. Besides, I don’t think I have ever met a combination of ghee and sugar that I haven’t liked. In fact, I love eating ghee mixed with sugar or should I say Sugar mixed with ghee.Yummmmm…As for the dreaded “C” word,Chalta Hai…Diwali Hai!!

So first, I went for besan Ladoos. My husband loves Besan ladoos. They are right up in his list of fave things right after Cars, Cricket and Crab. Those are his “C” words. Then, its besan ladoos. Before you all go pitying us, we are talking about material things here. The “F” word is on the top of the list. Family, people? What did you think the “F” word was?

So, anyway here is a fool proof recipe for Besan ladoos. I just follow it blindly. this recipe makes about 30 Ladoos.

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3 cups besan/Chickpea flour
1 1/2 cups Ghee
3 cups powdered sugar
2 green Cardmoms pods, peeled and powdered

Sieve the besan to get rid of any lumps.

Heat the ghee in a heavy bottomed pot on medium heat. Yes, all one and half cups of it. Don’t think, just do it. Don’t use oil. Don’t use the Store bought ghee. Try fresh home made ghee. I made a fesh batch of ghee in the morning. Do it. Go the extra mile. Chalta hai…Diwali Hai. Its worth it.

Add the besan, and keep stirring and stirring and stirring and stirring. It will kind of seize into a tight ball first, making it a bit tough to stir. But after a few minutes, it will actually become the consistency of “pakoda batter” making the stirring simpler. So, keep stirring and stirring and stirring. Until the besan goes from sunny yellow color to a burnt orange. The color ‘burnt orange’ not ‘burnt’ besan. Oh, No!!
Kind of like going from sunny yellow of the summer to the oranges of autumn, isnt it?. How symbolic!!! Yes, I am going nuts. Chalta hai…Diwali Hai

Just keep stirring it and dont even think about looking away for a second. The second you look away, will be the time it will decide to change color. And it can go from deliciously roasted to yucky toasted in a jiffy. The best way to know its done, is the amazing nutty smell that starts permiating through your home. My friend once told me how her mom would just shout out from the kitchen “does it smell like ladoos, yet?” to know if they were done. When the besan is done, believe me, you will know and those zombies sitting in front of your television will know, too.

Take it off the heat, and let it cool completely. It will be a little liquidy(If thats a word, you know what i mean).Thats ok, thats the way it should be. While it cools, pound regular sugar into powder in your blender. Don’t go for the powdered sugar in the market. They have cornstarch in them, which has its place, but not in besan ladoos.

When completely cool, add the sugar, cardamom powder and raisins and chopped almonds/ cashews(If using) and mix till incorporated. Shape into golf ball size rounds. Yummy besan ladoos are ready.

With the besan ladoos done and the kids still down, I decided to go for another staple at our home during diwali. They are called “tukdi” and they are crisp, savoury and a perfect antithesis to the sweet ladoos. Very simple ingredients, but can be quite a chore because they have to cut into diamond shapes and then deep fried. But, I cannot imagine diwali without these.

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First we make the dough

3 cups regular atta/ wheat flour
1 tbsp Chilli powder
1/4 tsp Hing/asafetida
salt to taste (abt 1/2 tbsp)
1 tbsp Ghee
Water, enough to make a malliable dough

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a wide bowl. Heat up the ghee and add it to the bowl. Take a fork and mix the ghee with the flour. The flour will change color. Mix thoroughly, with a fork at first and then fingers after the ghee has cooled enough, until all of the flour has changed color. Then, add water, little by little, until the dough is soft enough to roll out but still tougher than a regular roti dough. Let it rest for 10 mins.

Heat oil in a kadhai. The kadhai should hold the oil at least 2 inches deep. Take balls of dough and roll them out like you would a roti. Don’t use flour to prevent it from sticking, use some of the hot oil from the kadhai.Cut into diamond shapes. I use a pizza cutter to do the job.

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Deep fry in hot oil. Keep the oil at smoking point.The pieces will hit the bottom and rise up immediately. Turn them over. And after the other side cooks up, remove onto dry paper towels. Keep doing that until you have used up all of the dough. Store the cooled tukdis in an airtight container.

And thus, finally, I have at least 2 diwali goodies cooked up. My Mother makes five and I think it is kind of a tradition to cook up five. Well, I am not even half way there. But, hey, at least I have made a start. Between the roasted besan and Deep frying, at least the house smells like diwali. So what, if it is 2 in the morning and I hear Anoushka up and demanding her mommy. Chalta hai…Diwali hai

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