Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Desi Food

TIL MAWA LADDU / तिल मावे के लड्‍डू (Indian style Sesame Seeds Confection)



Remember these Gur Parathas (Jaggery filled Flatbread) that I had made last year for Makar Sankranti? They were delicious with that wonderful and fragrant filling of desiccated coconut, spices, nuts and jaggery and so perfect for the winter season. Here is another recipe that is specific to Makar Sankranti. Til (sesame), gur (jaggery) and kite flying are synonymous with this day; rather the celebrations are incomplete without these three being there. Read more about this festival. This time I have ditched the jaggery and gone for the mawa and sugar (not the healthiest choice I know but aren’t winters about some indulgence!?)

I have used a mix of white and black sesame seeds but it is more for aesthetic purpose (basically for the laddus in the pictures to pop out some color) but you can go with all white or all black. And before I take you to the recipe, the two things that need care while making these laddus is, one, to not over roast the sesame seeds. They need to be toasted on medium heat (stirring all the while) till they just begin to change color and you hear one or two crackles from the sesame seeds. Immediately transfer them to a plate and you will be able to hear them gently crackling even after you remove them from heat. Even a little over-toasting will make the sesame seeds go bitter. So be watchful and careful. And second, do not over roast the mawa / khoya either else it will dry out and the laddus won’t bind together well. I learnt this by wasting a whole batch once. Once you have crossed these two little hurdles the laddus are a nutty aromatic delight to indulge in.

¾ C White Sesame Seeds

2 tbsp Black Sesame Seeds

3 tbsp Almonds

250 grams Mawa / Khoya (reduced milk)

1 – 1½ tsp Cardamom Powder

¾ C Powdered Sugar (Confectioners Sugar / Icing Sugar)

In a pan roast white sesame seeds on medium heat gently and continuously tossing them around in the pan with a spoon or spatula. Once they begin to change color and you hear a crackle or two from the pan immediately decant the seeds on to a plate. Set aside to cool.

Repeat the same procedure for black sesame seeds. Remove the seeds in a separate plate or bowl and allow to cool.

In the same pan toast the almonds on low heat for a few minutes or till they just begin to change the color. Remove in a bowl and allow to cool.

Pulse the white sesame seeds (each pulse should be of a second or two else the seeds will release their oil) to a coarse or fine powder (which ever is desirable to you).

Remove the powdered white sesame seeds in a mixing bowl and add sugar and cardamom powder to it along with cooled black sesame seeds.

Repeat the same process with the almonds and add them to the above ingredients. Set aside.

In a heavy bottom pan (I use a wok/ kadahi) roast the khoya/ mawa on medium heat for 5 – 6 minutes. (I prefer grating it over crumbling for easy roasting)

Switch off the heat and add the sugar – sesame seed mix and using mix everything well.

Be careful of the heat when you are ready to roll the laddus. Start making the laddus when you are ready enough to handle the heat of the mixture.

If the mixture sticks to your hands while making laddus, moisten your hands a little and they will easily roll.

Note – I advice you sieve the confectioners sugar to get rid of any lumps and for easy assimilation in the laddu mixture.

Yield – 15 Laddus (the size shown in the picture)

Thanks for your visit and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!


HARA CHANA BURFI / हरे चने की बर्फी (Green Garbanzo Beans Fudge)

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There have been phases where I have oscillated between being a non vegetarian and then switching back to being a vegetarian. I wasn’t always a non vegetarian. In my mother’s house, we rarely had chicken or mutton and fish was a rarity, except for fish fritters in winters. The emphasis was always on eating one’s veggies. The things however changed once I moved to my marital house where I encountered hard core carnivores. Everyday at least one meal would have fish, mutton or chicken. And if anyone in the house was not in a mood for vegetables on the menu, they would simply have an omelette with bread. So much of non veg food, was quite something for me to handle. There would come a point when I wouldn’t even want to hear the word chicken or fish. When we moved into our own house, I ensured that we incorporated more veggies in our meals. And last year, when I switched over to being a vegetarian, again, I tried to incorporate as many veggies and lentils & legumes that I possibly could, into my meals. I try cooking them in different ways so that they provide me with a healthy variety of meals.

Although green garbanzo beans are a seasonal produce, you can find them being sold in dried form just as regular black or white chick peas at your grocery store. Soak them the same way as well and you have them just as fresh green garbanzo beans would be. I enjoy them as a salad, in rice pilaf and as a curry or as this fudge here. The fudge takes very little time to get cooked and makes for a healthy and tasty dessert.

1 C Dry Green Chickpeas (Chholiya)

¼ C plus 1 tbsp Ghee

250 grams Khoya (Mawa)

¾ C Sugar (adjust to taste)

1½ tsp Cardamom Powder

2 – 3 tbsp finely sliced Pistachio

2 – 3 tbsp slivered Almonds

Pick, wash and soak the green chick peas in water for 5 – 6 hours. (I soaked them over night)

Drain the soaked chickpeas and grind them to a coarse paste (it is purely a matter of taste whether you like coarsely grained chick peas or want to turn them into a fine paste)

In a heavy bottom cooking pan or wok (kadahi), heat the ghee and add the chick pea paste.

Roast it for a minute on high flame stirring continuously and then reduce the heat and roast it till the colour begins to change and the raw smell is gone. (A total of 7 minutes approx.)

Add milk along with cardamom powder, two tablespoons pistachio and two tablespoons almonds and keep cooking on low heat for another two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and keep aside and cover it.

In another heavy bottom pan or kadahi, roast the mawa on low heat without adding any ghee.

Roast till the colour changes to golden.

Switch off from the heat and allow to cool. Add mawa and sugar to the roasted chick peas and mix it all well till everything is well incorporated.

Decant the contents in a plate or tray (mine was 9½ inches by 7 inch) and using a spatula spread it around and even it out. Level the surface and garnish with the remaining pistachios and almonds.

Cover with a cling wrap (with the cling wrap touching the contents as this will prevent any moisture to develop inside). Keep the tray in the refrigerator for the fudge to firm up so that you can slice it with ease.

Once it is firm, cut the fudge in slices of the size you desire and serve. Enjoy!

Note: In case you intend to use fresh green chick peas (when they are in season), here is an idea of the approximate weight – the soaked and drained weight of the garbanzo beans was approximately 370 grams (+ / -).

Yield: 15 slices

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LEHSUNI PANEER / लहसुनी पनीर (Garlicky Cottage Cheese Curry) – GF



Paneer is to vegetarians what eggs are to non vegetarians – a quick, easy, simple ingredient that can be turned into so many variety of dishes. In north India, if you are expecting a vegetarian at your house for a meal, paneer will invariably find its way to the menu (even more so, if it happens to be a Punjabi household). Paneer is a vegetarian delicacy of sorts. And its versatility makes it an easy ingredient to work with. You can turn it into tikka or bhurjee or kofta curry and even a cheesecake – it will never fail you. Use it with some spices and herbs to make filling for your jaffles or stuffed flatbread and there you have an excellent breakfast dish to be polished off with pickle and chai! You can find a post I had done during my initial blogging years on how to make paneer at home. The process is simple and you can use it for so many recipes or have it on its own with some sprinkle of chaat masala.

This recipe may seem to be using a lot of garlic but when it pairs with other ingredients, it mellow downs (you’ve got to trust me on that). The key here is not to compromise on the usage of tomatoes. I usually chop the tomatoes and blitz them in a grinder. For this recipe, I could obtain about one third cup tomato puree (without adding water) from one medium sized tomato. Also, do not hold yourself back from using milk. It helps bring a balance to the sourness of tomatoes, tones down the garlic and mellows the heat of chillies. This curry gets ready in under 15 minutes, what more can you ask for 😀

2 – 3 tbsp Oil

½ tsp Cumin Seeds

½ tsp Mustard Seeds

2 small Onions (thickly sliced)


4 fat cloves Garlic (grated) {approximately 1 tbsp}

1 medium Tomato

1/3 C Milk

300 grams Paneer, (cubed)

½ tsp Turmeric Powder

½ – ¾ tsp Chili Powder (adjust to taste)

2 tsp Coriander Powder

½ tsp Garam Masala

Salt to taste

2 whole Green Chilies

Fresh Coriander to garnish

This curry takes no time to cook. So be ready with all ingredients.


Wash, chop and blitz the tomato in a grinder. You should have at least 1/3 cup or more of tomato puree. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin and mustard seeds. As soon as they begin to crackle, add onions and fry them on medium heat till they turn translucent and just begin to turn golden.

Now add grated garlic and fry till the garlic changes color to golden and becomes aromatic. Add the tomatoes and along with the spices and salt.

Keep stirring the contents on medium heat till the masala begins to leave oil on the sides. Now add milk and lower the heat.

Split chilies in 3 or 4 pieces and throw them in the curry. Add the paneer and stir it in. Add more milk if required at this stage. (I do not like my curry loose and rather prefer the masala coating the paneer pieces well. Suit youself)

Cook for a minute and the curry is ready. (you do not need to cook the paneer much else it will turn rubbery)

Stir in some freshly coriander to the curry and garnish the rest before serving. Remove the contents in a serving bowl and serve with roti, paratha or naan. YUM!

Note: I have added split whole green chilies coz I just wanted some grassy flavors of the chili added to the curry. Feel free to add them chopped in case you wish to add some more heat to the curry.

Note: Also, you can tinker with the amount of ingredients you wish to use.

Serves 4 (as side dish)


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