As the Deepavali dawn breaks, the thoughts of the day’s treat with packets of sweets that will arrive home in a row flood one’s mind. Deepavali is not just the festival of lights but also an occasion for indulgence in sweets, where the thoughts of blood sugar levels and cholesterol take a backseat. Though it might be no big festival in Kerala, people travelling clutching boxes of sweets are a usual sight in Mumbai during the season. It is a custom to present sweets to friends and relatives on the occasion of Deepavali with many houses receiving more than one box of sweets as gifts. They contain delicacies such as kaju katli, besan laddu, shakkar para, burfi, shankar pali, rasgulla, rasmalai, peda, roasted cranberry, and dry fruits.
The sweets decked up in boxes in a pattern during Deepavali resemble a flower carpet of various hues. Just as flowers from different lands and gardens come together to form a flower carpet, so do sweets from different corners of the country form the contents of the gift hamper. This is an occasion to savour varying tastes and acquaint oneself with different cultures and civilisations. Although each of the delicacies has a unique flavour, there is something that binds them all together, and that is the sweetness. Yes, Deepavali binds people together with sweetness. Some of the much-loved Deepavali sweets are prepared thus:
Soak dried cranberries in warm water and filter them after 10 minutes. Add milk powder, powdered sugar and ghee to it. Boil till it achieves a firm texture and shift it to a container slicked with ghee. Cut this into pieces into desired shapes. This may be garnished with dry fruits and cranberries roasted in ghee.
Dough made of maida, sugar, ghee and baking soda is made into sheets like chapatis. They are cut into pieces and fried to make this sweet.
A litre of milk is boiled to reduce it to half the amount. Add a cup of mango essence, half a cup of sugar, half a cup of coconut powder, and ghee as needed and heat it. When it reaches the stage where it flakes off the container, shift it to a plate slicked with ghee. Slice it into pieces in the shape of diamonds and coat it with silver leaf.
Dough made of maida is shaped like small puris and stuffed with rava, coconut, sugar, and milk solids before frying it.
Gram flour, powdered sugar, and cardamom are sauteed in ghee. When it achieves the consistency where it comes off the plate, this can be made into balls to make besan laddu.
Saute equal amounts of milk powder and powdered sugar in ghee. When it flakes off the container, shift it to a plate slicked with ghee. It can be sliced into any desired shape.
Mix rice flour with jaggery syrup and shape this into the form of vadas. Top it with khus khus and fry it in ghee to make delicious anarsa.