First of all wish you a very HAPPY DIWALI.
I could see festive environment all around wherever I went. The separate counters in the Indian Hypermarkets and stores for food, sweets, decorations, diyas, lights and lanterns, traditional indian wear etc. all signaling one thing; Diwali is around the corner. For Indians living abroad, childhood memories of celebrating any festival, are the strongest and mean so much to them.
Looking down my memory lane I can still hear the sound of crackers and fire works bursting, I can still taste the richness of ghee,sugar, nuts of those pretty decorated boxes of sweets which is lingering on my tongue. I cannot imagine Diwali without making and giving sweets.
There are reasons why we Indians typically gift sweets. In any joyous occasion, we celebrate our happiness with family and friends and treat each other with sweets. Therefore exchanging sweets becomes quite obvious. Diwali festival signifies triumph of good over evil. Small earthen lamps made with clay are lit up.Whole house is decorated with diyas(earthen lamps with oil) and lights giving a look of no less than a big fat Indian wedding. In fact any Indian festival are mostly celebrated in a grand wedding style. All over India lord Ganesha and goddess Lakshmi is worshiped on this day wishing for a prosperous year ahead. Wearing new clothes and new gold or silver jewelry is a ritual during Diwali. Also buying new utensils and other house hold items is commonly followed in most of the parts of India. But in the north-eastern part of India, like Assam, Bengal and Odisha, we celebrate Diwali in a little different manner and worship goddess Kali, having a Kali puja. Though I am from Assam, I grew up celebrating both Kali puja and Lakshmi -Ganesha puja during Diwali and had the privilege to learn and enjoy amidst different cultural people.
Right from the time of Durga puja its been festival always here in some way or the other manner, and so is the sweet eating saga, that will continue at least until the new year. I had been telling myself ..”hmmm control Manisha!” but what to do, when there’s an occasion I can’t help but pop one or two along with the flow of joy and happiness of the occasion.
My fondness for sweets made of desi ghee( clarified butter) reminds me of the local best sweet stores of Guwahati. To name a few, Mohanthal, kaju burfi, jalebi, besan ladoo, kesar peda, gulab jamun etc are few of my favorites especially during diwali. Now every year I try to make one or two variety of sweets for friends as give aways. This gives me simple pleasure, and equal pleasure I had making these sweets named Mohanthal, a rich combination of besan( chick pea flour), Khoya( milk solids), desi ghee( clarified butter), sugar and flavoured with cardamom and topping of nuts.
I couldn’t just stop looking at my mohanthal, and having small bites every now and then. Moreover the pride of having made these by myself and the satisfaction of outcome is simply divine.
- 500 gm besan( chick pea flour)
- 7500 gm khoya( milk solids)
- 350 gm ghee( clarified butter)
- 500 gm sugar
- 8-10 almond and pistachios finely sliced
- 6-8 crushed cardamom
- Add the besan( chick pea flour) in deep pan or wok( kadahi), add the ghee little by little with continuous stirring over low heat. Keep stiring until the colour of the besan turns nice brown color which means its roasted well and until you get the lovely aroma of roasted besan and ghee. Please avoid rushing and taking your time keep stiring so that the besan does not get burn. Once the besan is roasted well turn off the heat and keep it aside.
- In another pan add the khoya( milk solids) and start stirring over low flame until the khoya get roasted well and get the nice brown color and starts releasing its oil.
- While the khoya is getting roasted, you can also start preparing for the sugar syrup. Do not rush and take your time to avoid the khoya from getting burned.
- Take a sauce pan and mix 2 cups water in the sugar and heat this mixture gently until it forms a syrup and of one-thread consistency . To check this, take a drop of the syrup and rub it between your thumb and first finger. When you separate the thumb and finger, the syrup should be thick enough to form a thin string.
- First, add the roasted khoya into the roasted besan and mix throughly until very well combined.
- It’s now time to add the sugar syrup. Add the syrup and some crushed cardamom powder into the besan khoya mixture , and keep stirring the mixture till the besan, khoya and sugar syrup is well combined.
- Now transfer this mixture into a greased thali or something similar to a flan dish with ghee. Spread the mixture evenly and garnish with the sliced almonds and pistachios and some more cardamom powder. Allow it to cool down completely.
- Once completely cooled down, cut into your desired shape either diamond or square.
Enjoy this Diwali with this delicious traditional mohanthal recipe and i am sure you will never bring this sweet from any store here after.