And what would Holi be, without some homemade sweets to share? Here is a recipe simple recipe for Pedas/Peras (sing.: Peda/Pera), that tastes just like it did back home.
1/2 lb Khoya
3/4 loosely packed cup brown sugar
1/4 cup raw pistachios
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tsp cardamom pods
2 tsp ghee
1- The sunflower seeds mimic the dried rock melon seeds my grandma used to add.
2- In the United States, you are probably only going to find Khoya in the frozen section of your Indian grocery store, and a popular and decent brand is "Nanak." This is fine- I have found no difference between this and the kind my mom one day made from scratch.
1- Defreeze the Khoya- leave it on the counter the night before, or put in under running hot water for about 10 minutes.
2- Grate the Khoya using a cheese grater- this will help the ingredients mix well. Spread over a large platter (see 1st photo)
3- Sprinkle in the nutmeg and brown sugar into the grated khoya, mix.
4- Break out all the seeds from the cardamoms (discard the outside), and pound the seeds into
a coarse powder.
5- Mix the cardamom powder into the khoya mixture.
6- Pound the pistachios roughly- you just don't want huge pieces, since the size of the actual peda is pretty small.
7- Heat a large saucepan over a low flame, and add the pistachio pieces and sunflower seeds- dry roast gently for about 2 minutes, until the sunflower seeds turns slightly golden. Remove from heat.
8- Add the seeds to the the khoya mixture and mix well.
9- Put the ENTIRE khoya mixture back into the pan, on medium heat, and keep stirring for about 5 minutes. The mixture will turn cookie-dough brown, and coagulate into a single mass. Take it off the heat.
10- Take 1 tsp of ghee and grease a large, flat platter.
11- Take the 2nd single tsp of ghee and smear your palms with it- steps 10 and 11 may seem
12- Begin pulling teaspoon size pieces from your still-warm peda mixture, and roll into little balls. Sightly flatten each ball with your palm, and then make an indentation in the center with your thumb (see 2nd photo). This is the classic shape of a peda.
13- Let the pedas sit in room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. They will harden a little, and keep their shape, even if you want to store them in a different container.
1- Because we added brown sugar, the pedas aren't too sweet- you can of course add more brown or even white sugar if prefer- just make sure you taste the mixture after adding the extra sugar in.
2- The pedas should be stored covered in the refrigerator- keep in mind that Khoya, the primary ingredient, is a milk product. They should last in the fridge easily for a week or more.
Total time: 45 minutes.
Low sugar, yummy and healthy (if not eaten by the bucketful)- pedas make a heck of a easy dessert- :D