India as we proudly call “The Land Of Festivities”, where every happy or an auspicious occasion is welcomed with a common phrase, “Muh Meetha Ho Jaye”. And what follows is a predictable fare of Indian sweets soaked in generosity of sugar and overdose of forced helping. And the truth is that I am very fond of this gesture where one opens a mithai box to let the fun times flow.

Diwali is one such occasion where the entire nation is rejoicing the festival of lights. No diwali is complete without the “Bhog” to the gods. Every diwali Mubarak that is said has to be followed up with Muh Meetha. It is a must have on deepawali to exchange and share Methai with the loved ones.

At the halwai shops there are extra long queue and they make special arrangements to accommodate more buyers.

The cash register at the halwai shop does not stop ringing during this time of the year. It is diwali in true sense at least surely for the halwai. Most halwai shops I know work on low margins through the year because they will know they will cover up on Diwali and many such festivals. But what am I saying? This we all already know, this is what we have grown up experiencing.

The truth behind the sweet temptation is pretty bitter. As a fact there is never enough supply of quality milk, khoya and chenna during the festivity time to meet the demands of the customers. The demand for methai surpasses the supply across the nation. Clearly the halwai shop is not in for losing out the opportunity of making money. He is going to match the supply come what may, but how is the question?

The halwai knows that month of diwali is big business opportunity and knows even better that essential to Indian methai like khoya and chenna will run short. So they simply start preparation of the methai well in advance, a month and at times 2 months in advance. The storage conditions as we all know are deplorable. India has either a very relaxed law on food safety and hygiene or the shops just don’t bother to follow it. It is a very sad sight to see even the biggest of methai shops just displays the price tag per kilo and not the manufacture or consume by date on the mithai or the box. And honestly even the buyer is not bothered.

The second big way to meet the demand is adulteration. Simply add an unwanted ingredient to increase the quantities of the product. Suji is added to milk to increase the khoya and rabri production. This might be harmless to your health but you pay a bigger price for an inferior methai. Furthermore adulterated and artificial milk is supplied in most shops to produce the methai. In most cases this adulteration is life threatening. And this is a reason why so many fall ill around this time of the year.

This diwali lets take the onus of eating healthy and making sure to share a safe methai, something that we cook ourselves and are happy to do so. My suggestion might sound a lot of work but the recipes that I am going to share are quick, exciting and best of all very safe. Have a safe and prosperous diwali this season and “Muh Meetha” karna na Bhuliyega. Almost every home at the time of diwali has a surplus of Methai in their homes. After a point one gets bored of eating the same methai. But here are a few recipes that makes the same old methai exciting to use in a new avatar.

Spiced Anjeer & Honey Tarts Serves 4

Preparation Time – 25mins

Cooking Time – 20 mins

For the tart

  • Maida – 150
  • Butter – 75gms
  • Sugar – 50gm

For the Filling

  • Anjeer (Dried Figs) – 2 cups
  • Cinnamon powder – ½ tsp
  • Fennel seeds powder – ½ tsp
  • Cream – 250ml
  • Egg yolks – 2 no
  • Honey — 2 tbl spn

Method

  • For the Tart. Rub together maida, butter and sugar till sandy texture. Sprinkle just enough water to make into a dough. Cover with a damp cloth and keep in refrigerator for 15mins.
  • Take out the dough using dry maida and roll out thin (approx 3mm). Place this dough over tart moulds and press gently to cover the mould. Trim the sides for a neat shape. Prick with a toothpick or a fork. Now place these moulds in a pre heated oven at a temp of 180c for 5-8 mins. This is to just flash cook it. Remove and allow to cool completely.
  • For the Filling. Soak dried figs in hot water for half hour. Now drain the water completely and roughly chop up the figs. Whisk together cream, egg yolks, honey, cinnamon powder and fennel seeds powder. Add chopped figs to it.
  • Now pour the mixture into the half baked tarts and bake it at 180c for 15mins. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Dhoda Baklava Serves 4

Preparation Time 10mins

Cooking Time 20 mins

Ingredients

  • Dhaoda – 500gms
  • Filo sheets – 6 nos
  • Butter – 2 tbl spn
  • Icing sugar – for Dusting
  • Pista chopped – for ganishing

Method

  • Mash dhoda with the back of a heavy spoon. Spread one of the filo sheets on the kitchen counter, using a brush apply molten butter. Place another sheet on top and apply butter again.
  • Now on one side of the sheet place the dhoda in a cylindrical shape. Fold the filo sheet and make a thin roll. Seal the edges with fingers. Apply butter on the top of the filo. Refrigerate it for 15 mins.
  • Now remove from fridge and cut into 2” in length. Place them on abaking tray. Bake the dhoda baklava at 175c for 20 mins or till the filo sheet becomes crisp.
  • Remove from oven, allow to cool and dust with icing sugar, garnish with chopped pista and serve.

Pinni Srikhand Granola

Serves 4

Preparation Time – 10 mins

Cooking Time – 0 mins

  • Pinni – 250 gms
  • Hung yogurt – 250 gms
  • Sugar powdered – 4 tbl spn
  • Rolled oats – 2 tbl spn
  • Pista chopped – 2 tbl spn
  • Corn flakes – 2 tbl spn

Method

  • Mix together pinni, rolled oats, pista chopped and corn flakes. Rub the mixture with hands to make into a crumbly texture.
  • Mix sugar and hung yogurt. In a glass layer alternately with yogurt and pinni granola. Serve immediately.

Grilled Coconut Burfee with Ice Cream

Serves 2

Preparation Time 10mins

Cooking Time 10 mins

Ingredients

  • Burfee 200 gms
  • Coconut powder dried cup
  • Vanilla ice cream 2 scoops

Method

  • Mash the burfee and add dried dessicated coconut. Mix well and put this mixture into a oven proof dish. Press it down so that it settles.
  • Place the dish in to a pre heated oven at 180c for 10 mins, until the top gets little colour. Remove and immediately place a scoop of ice cream and serve.