It’s the festival season ahead, and this week we have two special days coming up. The Gowri-Ganesha festival is an occasion to give thanks and pray for the health of all our family members. Even with Covid waning in many states, travel is still not an easy event, so most of us are staying safe at home and celebrating in small ways.
What makes most Indian festivals a great occasion are the rituals, the prayers, and the feasts. There are special eatables prepared for each festival, and when Ganesha comes home, it’s a bit more! In many houses, the Ganesh Chathurthi is a multi-day festival and every day, and different eats are prepared to please the Gods and our palates. Even if one is diabetic, there is no harm in having quick low-sugar eats that won’t run riot with the blood sugar levels.
Here are some ideas for sweet dishes you can make at home just for one or two people. They are simple to prepare and will definitely get you in the festival mood as you keep prasad for Ganeshji.
You don’t need many ingredients for a simple and quick oats kheer. However, if you are particular about making it look and feel like a kheer, you could have as many add-ons as you like. Just sauté a cup of rolled oats with a tablespoon of ghee for 2 minutes till you get the nice aroma. Then add about two cups of boiled milk and continue boiling on low flame for two to three minutes. Here is where you could make a quick choice to add sugar or jaggery or skip both. Half a cup of sugar or jaggery may be added to keep it low sugar. If not, you could skip both and add a spoon of honey while eating. Add a pinch of cardamom powder to give it a nice flavour. If this is topped with some chopped dry fruits, it could make for an appealing dessert. This can even be served chilled.
It is said that Lord Ganesha loves laddus. And do we! Here is an almost instant and simple rava laddu that can be rustled up fast. Just melt a tablespoon of ghee in a wide pan. Add one cup of fine rava (sooji) and sauté it on a low flame, till a nice aroma comes and it changes colour slightly. This may take just about ten minutes only. Remove pan from flame and allow to cool. When slightly cool, add ½ 1 cup of powdered sugar, mix well and then quickly shape into laddus with your hand. A slight variation is to beat the cooled rava mixture to make it finer if you prefer it that way.
If you have two cups of curd, three tablespoons of sugar, and two pinches of cardamom powder, you could easily make some Shrikhand. Hang the curd for about two hours and ensure all water is drained properly. If you like to have a saffron flavour for the Shrikhand, dip a few strains in a quarter cup of milk. Mix the powdered sugar, the saffron milk, hung curd, and the cardamom powder. Beat this well together smoothly, refrigerate it for two hours, and serve chilled, topped with chopped nuts, if preferred.
Instant Gajar Ka Halwa
If you have a few carrots at home, stir up a traditional gajar ka halwa without sweating much. Take two cups of grated carrot and a cup of milk and pressure cook for a whistle. Once done, add about half a cup of sugar or even less and sauté again for a few minutes. Add a tablespoon of ghee and a pinch of cardamom powder, mix and sauté for a few minutes. Remove from flame when the mixture becomes slightly dry. Top it with some chopped nuts if you desire.
Instant Rice Dessert
If you have some cooked rice at home, you could instantly turn it into a dessert. Take a kadai and melt half a cup of jaggery in it with one cup of water. When jaggery melts fully, add in the rice and mix well. To this mixture, you could add a sprinkle of freshly grated coconut (if you have it), a pinch of cardamom powder, and a tablespoon of ghee and an instant rice dessert is ready.