Friday, October 24, 2014

Pedhas or Milk Balls

It must be Divali!! My daughter serenades me with the Diwali song! Every year she belts it out, cracking me up, but most of all enveloping me in a warm hug from miles away. Boy, her dulcet tones could give Steve Carrell a run for his money! If only my parents could've heard this irreverent holiday tune. The look on their faces would've been priceless. We have to settle with my sister Prassy, who doesnt quite know what to say!!!

The Festival of Lights in my house is usually a torrid affair with food and ritual. Small diyas or earthenware lamps are lit. The mango leaf toran goes up. Rangoli adorns the front steps. And my kitchen hums with fragrant vibes. Karanjis, besan ladoo and kheer usually fill three/four days of festivities. Prayers are always offered along with some sweet confection. I don traditional clothes as we celebrate the New Year. 

This year I try my hand at something new. Pedhas, or literally translated, balls or discs of milk. Powdered milk is thickened with milk and cream. The mixture sits overnight, is then rolled and flattened into discs. Pistachios are embedded in centers. I can honestly say I cannot remember whose recipe this is. Maybe Vini? Might've been Prassy. Well, if its yours, own up!! 

Makes 24

2 cups Milk Powder
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup whole or 2% Milk
1/2 cup Cream
A large pinch of Cardamon powder
1 tablespoon Pistachios

Whisk sugar, butter, milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to boil. Stir often. Let the mixture bubble vigorously on a medium flame for 5-7 minutes. 

Lower flame and add milk powder and whisk well to incorporate.

Stir milk mixture for 5-10 minutes till the milk thickens. 

As it cools it will get very thick.

Cool, cover and refridgerate thickened milk for 7-8 hours or overnight.

Work fast with cooled dough. Gather a walnut sized ball. Roll between the palms of your hands till smooth. Flatten into a disc.

Embed a pistachio in each disc center and serve.

This year I haven't found my rangoli stencil, so I resort to the old fashioned way of yore, my fingers. The porch light is out. But the diyas are lit. The house is ablaze as I'm on fire in the kitchen. The steadfast camaraderie of old friends fills my house and warms my heart. We sit down to Kolhapuri chicken, fish kalvan, stuffed eggplants, patvad subji, potato katchori, masala karela, dal, chapattis and rice. The pedhas are the perfect bite-sized treat, along with shahi tukra and kaju katli. One person is absent. Miss you Bubs!