Life..a miracle

Life..a miracle

Friday, November 15, 2013

Diwali Recap

I cant seem to believe that Diwali is already over. The best thing with Diwali this time was it coincided with the weekend and that made things easier. We had a lovely time with friends and family through all the days of Diwali.

I decided to invite some of girlfriends over for a Mehendi party. Mainly a get-together for all us chattery heads with some food and a way to tease our creative minds. Since it was a working day, I had my menu planned in advance and decided to make things that were quick and easy to prep. I made dhokla using an instant mix, pav bhaji as the main meal and cassata for desert. The combination was perfect for a fun evening where me the host had ample time to spend with my guests without worrying much about managing it. I got the cassata set the night before and only had to cut the slices in the afternoon. Sadly in all the excitement of having friends over, I didn't click any pictures of my food. But I would like to highlight that the cassata was tried based on this recipe by Nupur, on her lovely blog. I have made it twice so far and it is a crowd-pleaser for sure!

All through the Diwali weekend, we had get-togethers each evening, and I was cooking two out of three times. On the day of Laxmi Pujan, we had our close family over for puja and dinner and I went with an authentic Maharashtrian menu. We had Cauliflower-peas sautéed in spices, Kakadichi pachadi(Cucumber raita), Tomatoche Saar(Spiced Tomato Soup), Jeera rice (Rice seasoned with cumin), Chapatis and Dry-fruit Shrikhand.

I have made Shrikhand before the lazy way. i.e. not by running the sugar n yogurt mix through a sieve but just mixing it and that definitely doesn't add the much needed airiness to it. This time I went all aboard and made it the right away and it was devoured by everyone. Here's the recipe:

Dry-fruit Shrikhand

2 cups greek yogurt (I used fat-free, any is fine, more fat means more creaminess. ;) )
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped dried fruit (pistachios, almonds, golden raisins)
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp green cardamon powder
4-5 strands saffron
1/4 cup milk (if needed)

  • Warm the saffron in a 1 tbsp of milk so that it gives out its color.
  • I prefer to use greek yogurt over the normal one, because it has less water content and gives a better creamy texture to the final product. We still do need to strain the excess water from it, I usually leave my yogurt tightly knotted in a muslin cloth hanging over a container to collect the excess water. Leave it straining for about 12-16 hrs. Refrigerate the yogurt until you are ready to make the Shrikhand.
  • Use a seive (one with 1/2 cm or little small sized holes, not the fine mesh) and start mixing the yogurt and the sugar in batches. A 2:1 (yogurt:sugar) proportion fits really well for us, but if you like things very sweet you can add in more sugar. Pass all the yogurt and sugar through the seive and you should have small noodles of yogurt collected in your container.
  • Add the nutmeg and cardamon powder and mix well. Add in the saffron with the milk and gently mix in the strands. I love having strands of saffron through the Shrikhand, they keep giving away more and more color just as if its a fading watercolor, looks lovely!
  • Taste and if the shrikhand seems dry on the palate, add in little bit of milk and mix well. 
  • You can mix in the nuts or as I did this time transfer the shrikhand to a container and garnish generously with the nuts. When you scoop out servings, the nuts will automatically mix in. Gives a nice look to the Shrikhand. Chill for 1 - 2 hrs and serve with roti, poori or have it just by itself!
Diwali isn't exactly over for us. I am performing in the local Maharashtra Mandal's celebration tomorrow here in San Diego. Yet another day of celebrating Diwali. ;)

Hope all of you are having a wonderful time with the holidays approaching us at a warp speed. Until next time..