DIWALI DESSERTS- HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVES
If there is ever a time to indulge in all the mouth-watering sweets and deserts our Indian heritage has to offer, its during Diwali time. The busiest time of the year for all sweet vendors and a time for overindulgence for most of us. Even though our traditional sweets are incomparable in taste, there are a few healthy alternatives that can be equally delicious and don’t load our bodies with excess sugar. With people increasingly getting conscious of their health, there is a growing demand for low calorie, low sugar, and organic sweets and desserts. Enjoy the recipes below that have been contributed by some of our readers.
– Compiled by Shikha S. Lamba
CHAKRA PONGAL (SOUTH INDIAN SWEET PONGAL)
- Rice (Ponni raw rice or equivalent)
- Moong dal
- Chana Dal
- Cashew – 8 to 10 pieces
- Ghee – as required
- Cardamom 3-4
- Edible camphor
Take 1 cup of rice, ¼ cup moong dal, and ¼ cup chana dal and wash them thoroughly. Pressure cook them together till the rice and dals are cooked and soft in texture. Take 1 measure of jaggery and mix it with a cup of water and boil till the jaggery is thick. We call it the 1 string consistency- that is if you take a bit of jaggery water between your fingers and then move your fingers apart, the jaggery should form a single
Once the jaggery is ready, add the cooked rice mixture and mix the two well. Add cardamom powder and the edible camphor (in powder form).
Fry the cashew nuts in ghee and garnish on top before serving.
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GAJAR KA HALWA(VEGAN)
This delicious gajar ka halwa recipe stems from my childhood days and it was one dessert we were allowed to consume without guilt because of the way it was made. Of course, back then milk and nuts were used, but it was still made with minimal white sugar. The sweetness of the carrot and milk was enough to satisfy my sweet cravings.
- Carrots grated – 500g
- Creamy cashew milk- 1-2 cups (see recipe below)
- Cashews – 10 to 12 pieces
- Pistachios – 2 tablespoons crushed
- Coconut sugar, maple syrup, jaggery (Optional)
- Water – 2 cups
Creamy Cashew Milk
Soak approximately 1 full cup of cashews for 3-4 hours. Take out 10-12 pieces and keep them aside for later. Place the rest in a blender and add 100 ml of filtered water and blend. Add the rest of the water and blend very well again. Keep aside. Place the carrots in a wok, on medium heat and let it cook till the water evaporates. Add the 1-2 cups of cashew milk and stir till the remaining water evaporates as well. Take the soaked cashew pieces and grind them (not too finely). Add them to the carrots. The halwa should be soft in consistency and mixed well with the ground cashews. Top with a little jaggery or maple syrup if extra sweetness is required. Garnish with crushed pistachios before serving.
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