Binging on balanced bites

What makes a perfect festival feast? A sensorial journey that promises gastronomy through the season’s celebratory offerings

author_img Express News Service Published :  27th October 2021 02:16 PM   |   Published :   |  27th October 2021 02:16 PM
Binging on balanced bites

Binging on balanced bites

What makes a perfect festival feast? A sensorial journey that promises gastronomy through the season’s celebratory offerings. And if this can be devoured guilt-free with the right doses of mindful indulgence,  and the delightful company of kin and kith, you’ve got yourself a healthy cheer for the upcoming Deepavali festivities. From karuppu kavuni arisi murukku, little millet nei appam to karupatti kaju katli, Vaishali Vijaykumar gathers eight recipes that have fair equivalents in taste and calories.

Karupatti kaju katli by Jeyashri Suresh


Cashew nuts: 1 cup

Palm jaggery: 1/2 cup

Ghee: 1 tsp

Water: 1/4 cup

Milk: 1 tbsp (optional)


Before starting the process, ensure the cashew nuts are at room temperature.

The cashew nuts should not contain any moisture while grinding else it will become soggy and not get powdered.

Ensure that the mixer is dry. Grind the cashews into fine powder.

Do not overdo as the cashew nuts will start emitting oil and the powder will turn soggy. Just pulse it in regular intervals. Melt 1/2 cup of palm jaggery in a wide pan with 1/4 cup of water. Do not add extra water. Stir at regular intervals till the palm jaggery gets dissolved.

Once the palm jaggery is dissolved, stop stirring and boil till you get a one-string consistency.

The palm jaggery syrup will get thickened soon and the single string will be formed quicker than usual sugar syrup.

You can check the one-thread consistency of the syrup between the thumb and the index finger. This step is important.

Add the cashew powder to this. Mix well. Keep the flame low.

Work on it till it reaches a soft dough consistency. Avoid overmixing, as you might end up with hard burfis.

Grease parchment paper or butter paper. Transfer the cashew mixture to the butter paper. If you don’t have one, add it to a greased plate.

Once it becomes warm, grease your hands and knead the mixture into a dough.

If you feel it is dry, sprinkle some milk on it.

Milk reduces the shelf life of kaju katli. Knead for about thirty seconds.

Place one more parchment paper on top of the dough and roll this into medium thin katlis.

If you want really slim katlis, roll it thinner.

Rolling the kaju katlis by placing the parchment paper on top gives a smooth texture to it.

Trim the sides. Cut them into diamond shapes.

Gently remove from the paper and enjoy the kaju katlis.

Little millet nei appam by Indra Narayan


Millet flour: 3/4 cup

Sooji: 2 tbsp

Sesame seeds: 1/4 tsp

Powdered jaggery: 1/2 cup

Banana: 1 medium

Cardamom powder: a pinch

Salt: a pinch

Ghee: 3 to 4 tbsp

Eno fruit salt: 1/4 tsp


Combine the flour, sooji, sesame seeds, powdered jaggery, mashed banana, cardamom powder and salt.

Add water little by little. Bring it to a pouring consistency. Add Eno.

Heat a greased appam pan.

Pour in one tablespoon of oil in each hole.

Cook with ghee on both sides.

Kattuyanam rice adhirasam by Srividhya Ravikumar


Kattuyanam rice: 1 cup

Jaggery: 1 cup

Cardamom powder: 1 tsp

Dry ginger powder: 1 tsp

Oil to fry


Wash and soak the rice for three hours. Drain the water.

Let it sit for half an hour, but make sure the rice is moist.

Transfer it into a mixer and pulse it to a semi-coarse powder.

Sieve it a couple of times to get a smooth rice flour.

Repeat the sieving process till you get a smooth rice flour.

Add grated jaggery in a pan with 1/4 cup water; when it dissolves, strain it.

Again, boil it till you get a stone-like consistency. Take a cup of water, drop a spoonful of jaggery juice in it. You should be able to roll it into a ball; this is the correct consistency.

Remove the jaggery syrup from the stove, add to the rice powder and mix well.

Add cardamom powder, dry ginger powder and mix well.

Keep this adhirasam dough aside for a day.

Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan.

Knead the dough once, make a small ball, place it on an oil-greased plastic paper, press the ball to make it flat. Gently drop it in hot oil.

Keep the flame on medium, turn the adhirasam to the other side and let it cook.

When it’s done, using another spatula, gently press the adhirasam to squeeze out excess oil.

Apple jalebi  by Srividhya Ravikumar


Apple: 1

Maida: 1 tbsp

Corn flour: 1 tbsp

Butter: 1 tsp

Baking soda: a pinch

Sugar: 1 tbsp

Salt: a pinch

Saffron: 10 threads

Oil to fry

Almonds to garnish

For sugar syrup:

Sugar: 1 cup

Water: 3/4 to 1 cup

Cardamom powder: a pinch

For garnishing:

Pista: 2 tbsp

Almonds: 2 tbsp


Take maida, corn flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl, and mix well.

Add water, mix without lumps, to make a thick and smooth batter.

Soak saffron in a small bowl of water for a few minutes.

For the sugar syrup, combine one cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, and saffron water in a kadai, and boil on low flame for 10 minutes or until the syrup is slightly thick and sticky. Keep it aside.

Add cardamom powder to the syrup and mix well.

Peel the apple, slice it into thin round slices and remove the seeds (scoop out the seeds).

Heat oil in a kadai, dip the apple slices in maida batter and deep-fry till they turn golden brown.

Drain and keep aside.

Place the apple jalebis in sugar syrup, soak for two minutes and transfer it onto a serving plate.

Garnish with sliced almonds and pistachio. Serve while the jalebis are hot.

Roasted gram burfi by Indra Narayan


Roasted gram: 1 cup (dry-roast and make fine powder)

Jaggery powder: 1 cup

Water: 1 cup

Cardamom: 1 tsp

Ghee: 3 tbsp


Take a heavy bottom pan and heat it. Add jaggery with water. Let it melt (no stirring required).

Add the roasted gram powder little by little. No lumps should be formed.

Mix it thoroughly. Keep stirring it in low flame.

In between the stirring, keep adding ghee till it leaves the sides and acquires the shape of a ball.

Spread it on a greased plate; cut into pieces.

Garnish on top with cashews or almonds.


Karuppu kavuni arisi murukku by Srividhya Ravikumar


Karuppu kavuni rice: 1 cup

Fried gram dal powder: 1/4 cup

Butter: 1 tsp

Asafoetida: a pinch

Cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp

Salt: 1/4 tsp


Grind two cups of karuppu kavuni rice in a rice mill (no need to roast the rice).

Grind the fried gram dal to a fine powder in a mixer and sieve.

Take a bowl, add 1 cup of kavuni rice flour, 1/4 cup fried gram dal powder, 1 teaspoon of butter, asafoetida, salt, cumin seeds and mix well.

Add water, little at a time, to make a smooth dough.

Take a small portion, fill the greased murukku press with that dough.

Heat oil in a kadai. Grease a ladle, squeeze it out in a circular motion and transfer it to the hot oil.

When it is done on one side, flip it. When the sound simmers and oil stops bubbling, take it out and transfer it into a clean kitchen towel.

Let it cool and store it in an airtight container.

Dry fruit laddu by Rajeswari Vijayanand


Cashews: 15

Almonds: 15

Pistachios: 20

Raisins: 1 tbsp

Figs: a few (based on taste preference)

Dates: 8

Ghee: 2 tsp


Chop cashews, almonds, and pistachios roughly. Heat ghee in a pan, roast the nuts on medium flame for a minute.

Grind the chopped dates, figs and raisins to attain a rough texture. Do not grind smoothly.

In a mixing bowl, add the ground dates mixture, and add roasted nuts to it. You can add a pinch of nutmeg powder, but it is optional.

Mix well, grease your hand with ghee and roll into small-sized laddoos.

Optionally, you can roll it over desiccated coconut too.

Baked bhakarwadi by Ramya Sivakumar


For the outer layer

All-purpose flour: ½ cup

Besan/gram flour: ½ cup

Oil: 2 tsp

Red chilli powder: ½ tsp

Kashmiri chilli powder: ½ tsp

Baking powder: ½ tsp

Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp

Water: as needed for dough

For the stuffing

Dry coconut: ¼ cup

White sesame seeds: 2 tbsp

Coriander powder: ½ tsp

Cumin powder: ½ tsp

Garam masala: ¼ tsp

Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp

Red chilli powder: 1 tsp

Ajwain/carom seeds: 1 tsp

Sugar: 1 tsp

Salt as needed

Tamarind paste: 2-3 tsp


In a bowl, add all the ingredients for the outer layer except water. Mix well, add water little by little and prepare a

firm dough. Set aside for 5-10 minutes until the stuffing is prepared.

In a pan, dry-roast sesame seeds and ajwain till it gets aromatic. Let it cool down, and then blend it into a smooth paste along with dry coconut, coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, red chilli powder, sugar and salt. Set aside.

Preheat the oven at 180°C for 10-15 minutes. Divide the prepared dough into two equal parts and roll one part into a thin circle.

Spread the tamarind paste all over the rolled dough. Then, spread it with the prepared masala.

Starting from one end, roll the pastry tightly to form a log, making sure the stuffing doesn’t spill.

Cut into equal-sized pinwheels and slightly press them so that the stuffing stays. Repeat this with the rest of the dough and stuffing.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and arrange the prepared bhakarwadi on the tray with 1 cm gap between each of them. Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes; flip sides mid-way while baking. Once they are golden brown on both sides, remove them from the oven. Let them cool down completely.

Store in an airtight container for up to a week.