Good morning everyone,
Okay. Today we’re going to make some sweets. Two of these – Mitha Poha (a sweet rice flake dish) and Kheer Seviyan (a thin pudding) are suitable for desserts (which again are treats around our home) and Chikki is an Indian version of nut brittle. Yummy!
Mitha Poha (Sweet Rice Flake)
3/4 cup thick poha (pressed rice flakes)
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (400 mL size)
1/2 cup milk
5 tbls cane sugar
2 tbsp slivered almonds, dry roasted
2 tbsp raisins
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1 tbls rose water
2 tbsp shelled, unsalted pistachios
Place the poha in a strainer and run under cool water while gently stirring with your fingers. Rinse and place the strainer over a bowl to allow it to drain. In a small non-stick pan, dry roast the almonds and pistachios over medium-low heat, shaking constantly, until slightly browned and fragrant. Spread out on a baking sheet to cool. In a medium pot over medium heat, bring coconut milk, milk and sugar to a boil, stirring gently. Reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes or so. Add the poha, toasted almonds, raisins, nutmeg and cardamom. Stir gently to mix. Simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in rose water and pistachios. Transfer to 6 serving bowls. Serve at room temperature or you can put it in the refrigerator and serve it chilled.
Kheer is often served at Sikh langars. A langar is the Guru’s (God’s) kitchen where free meals are served to anyone who arrives. All people, rich or poor, educated or not, male or female, of any faith, race, or creed eat a simple vegetarian meal on the floor, side by side, together as equals. I think it’s one of the most beautiful aspects of our faith. The kheer is different from langar hall to langar hall, depending on who is cooking that day and what little tidbits they use in the pudding. It is usually made from rice but a few gurdwaras I visited served this form of kheer. Kheer is also eaten by many Indian Muslims when they break the fast of Ramadan.
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 tbsp toasted slivered almonds
1 tbsp unsalted, slightly crushed pistachios
1 tbsp ghee (Recipe here)
6 cups whole milk
2 whole cloves
2 green cardamom pods, cracked lightly
30 g sevian (vermicelli, available in Indian markets)
1/3 cup cane sugar
Soak the raisins in water for about 30 minutes. Drain well and set aside. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the coconut , shaking frequently, until it is lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside. In the same pan, toast the slivered almonds and pistachios together until slightly browned and fragrant. Set aside. In a large pot with a heavy bottom, bring milk to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently until it is reduce by half, mixing frequently as the cream separates to the top, ensuring that the milk doesn’t scorch to the bottom of the pan. This will take almost an hour if using whole milk and less time if you are using a fat reduced milk.
While the milk is reducing, melt the ghee over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add the cloves and cardamom an saute for about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the sevian. Saute until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir this mixture into the milk. Add the cane sugar and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally for 6 minutes. Remove from heat. The pudding will continue to thicken as it cools down. Stir in the raisins, toasted coconut, almost and pistachios. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Makes 8 servings.
Nut brittles are nice for festive occasions and India has a lot of festive occasions! This recipe is chock full of peanuts but you can substitute most any other form of nut (or seed) that you like. This will work with toasted sesame seedds, sunflower seeds, cashews, walnuts and pecans and the like.
1 1/4 cup peanuts, skinned
1 cup jaggery, loosely packed (available in Indian markets and sometimes in Canadian supermarkets)
2 tsp ghee
In a large nonstick frying pan, toast the peanuts over medium-low heat, shaking the pan frequently, until they begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet to allow them to cool (be careful, they are very, very hot). Once cool, chop them coarsely by hand or by lightly pulsing in a food processor. In a pot with tall sides, over medium-low heat, melt the jaggery and ghee, stirring until the jaggery is completely dissolves. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil until it turns a golden brown colour. The temperature on the candy thermometer should read between 121C and 129C (this is known as the hard-ball stage). Do not let it get hotter than this! Add the peanuts, remove from heat and, working very quickly, mix the peanuts through the sugar syrup. Be very careful as the sugar is hot and will cause serious burns. Turn the peanut and sugar mixture out onto a well-oiled baking sheet and using a greased spoon or spatula, pat the mixture down quickly to spread it as thin as possible as quickly as possible. Allow it to cool completely to room temperature. Break it up into pieces.
I hope you enjoy the dessert and Chikki!
Until next time,
Peace & love,