Wednesday, April 22, 2009

PEDAS, PEDHAS, PEDOS.

Pedas (pronounced PAYDAAS) or Pedhas, hold an important place in the hierarchy of Indian sweets. I think they come in second, right after laddus. In my book of favorites, they are right on top of course.

There is a custom in India...at the birth of a boy, laddus were distributed to family and friends, at the birth of girl, pedas.
Pedas are also known as Doodh Pedas (doodh=milk, which is the main ingredient).
North India is proud of it's Mathura pedas also called Gokul ke peda, while South India has the delicious Dharwar Peda, which is a dark brown ball rolled in fine, granulated sugar.

There are some sweets that are made at home in India and some that are just bought at the halwaii or sweetmeat shop. The latter need a degree of expertise, originally handed down from father to son. Pedas are one of the sweets we bought in India.

As a child I remember clutching my mother's hand with excitement as we walked towards the Tunnel Shop in Commercial Street, Bangalore's well known shopping area. The Tunnel Shop was so named because from the street there was a dark dingy corridor with a low roof, that we had to traverse carefully to get to the shop. There was often water seeping out of the sides of the tunnel, coming from places it was better not to know about. The Tunnel opened up into Ali Baba's cave of sweetmeats. There sat Bhagatram the owner and magician, making his delicious sweets on a wood fire over which he balanced a huge kadai full of hot milk being boiled down to make khoa.

Of all the multitude of sweets in there, we always got pedas. He placed them in a cup of leaves, wrapped in newspaper and tied with string. Nothing tasted as delicious as those 'bundles' of fresh pedas!

Bhagatram passed away some years ago. His sons have built the place into a huge modern cafe and sweet shop where they do flourishing business, BUT the pedas don't taste the same...much to my disappointment. They are in fancy boxes and we are served from a glass case by smiling salesmen, but the pedas are different.
I gave them three tries on my last visit and all three times had to acknowledge a sense of deep disappointment that the sons haven't stuck to the original recipe.

After returning from India last January, I decided to work on a good peda recipe here.
The peda odyssey led to research on the Internet and looking at old cookbooks because I was looking for a recipe that would give me the taste of the old pedas.

Trials were not so hard as both grandkids love pedas (they have my Indian sweet tooth DNA). HD (Hubby Dearest) didn't mind tasting them and giving his opinion. ('Remember, all the things I do for you!' he said nobly, devouring the fourth peda in the spirit of true suffering). As he likes only a very few sweets, maybe it was noble of him.

Here is my collection of peda recipes garnered from the web. In the case of finding the same recipe on many sites with the same recipe, I have given credit to the first site I got the recipe from.
I tried 3 recipes,keeping in mind time and effort involved. The recipes that are quick and easy are the ones you'll find here. Please don't try a recipe till you read my tips at the bottom of each recipe.

So after months of experimentation, I was able to finish this piece on Pedas.

And the winner is...




PEDAs,TAKE 1

http://showmethecurry.com/2007/11/05/peda-indian-sweet/ was the first of seven sites this recipe was on.

Ingredients:

Instant Dry Milk (Milk Powder) - 2 cups (150gm)
Sweetened Condensed Milk - 1, 14oz can (396gm)
Unsalted Butter - 1, 4oz stick (113gm)

Method:

1. In a microwave safe dish, melt the butter.
2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
3. Cook in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirring very well after every minute.
4. After the 3 minutes, mix well again and leave aside for the mixture to cool down enough to handle.
5. Once the mixture has cooled down, grease your hands and make balls.
6. Gently press the balls and flatten them to shape…round and flat.
7. Decorate them with chopped pistachios.
8. Let the pedas set and cool down.
9. Store in refrigerator
Tips:

1. Try half the amount listed in this recipe. I did and got 18 pedas
2. Add 1/4 tsp cardamom powder to the mixture.
3. I microwaved the mix for only 2 mins...3 mins makes it too grainy and crumbly. Though it looks soft it shapes well when cool.
4. After microwaving it for 2 mins I mixed it in a food processor to get the mixture smooth.
Look at the picture...the pedas on the right are grainy after being cooked for 3 mins and shaped...on the left are the pedas which I kneaded for smoothness.
5. Wet your hands to shape the pedas...when the mixture is hot, I press it down in the small spoon in the picture, turn it out of the spoon then pick it up, roll it and flatten it...it just seems an easy way to get them more or less the same size.
I tried this recipe twice as I forgot to take pictures the first time...next time I will add a tablespoon of sugar to the butter when I melt it just to see if it's going to change the consistency and taste of the peda.

HD says it's perfect the way it is (which, in husbandspeak means 'don't try to fix it and ruin the recipe!')
My photograph may not show perfect pedas in shape and texture but the taste was great...not yet like Bhagatram's, though.

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PEDAS, TAKE TWO.

Doodh Peda Recipe

http://www.recipes.keralaz.info/ganesh-chathurthi-recipes/DoodhPeda.shtm#

Ingredients

2 cups of Milk Powder
3 tbsp of unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk - sufficient enough to make a soft dough
1/2 cup sugar + 1/2 cup water
3 or 4 cardamom (powdered or crushed)
1 tbsp pista crushed

Method

Mix butter and milk powder, and add milk to make a soft dough.
Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Take out the dough after 15 minutes and crumble it with your finger breaking all the
lumps.
Make sugar syrup of one strand and put the crumbled dough and keep stirring till it
starts leaving the pan.
Remove it when it starts leaving the pan and cool it lightly.
Make small balls and flatten it into a shape of Peda and decorate it with cardamom
and pista powder on the top.

TIPS: Be sure the sugar syrup is well done and the mixture leaves the side and bottom of the pan and stays in a mass, before you remove it from the heat.

I liked these pedas too, but the family voted on Pedas Take One.


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PEDAS, TAKE 3

http://www.awesomecuisine.com/recipes/1380/1/Festive-Pedas/Page1.html

Ingredients
1/2 kg. soft white khoya
2-1/2 cups (approx.300gms) sugar powdered
1/2 tsp. cardamom powder
1 tsp. cardamom seeds semi crushed
1 tbsp. slivered or crushed pistachios

Method
Grate khoya with a steel (not iron) grater. Add powdered sugar and mix well.
Put mixture in a large heavy or nonstick pan. Heat first on high for few minutes.
The on slow till done. Make sure to stir continuously, while on heat.
When mixture thick and gooey, add cardamom. Mix well, and take off fire.
Allow to cool, gently turning occasionally. Use cookie moulds, or shape pedas with palms into patty rounds.
Mix pistachios and cardamom seeds and press a bit on top of each. If using moulds, first sprinkle some at bottom.
Take some mixture and press into mould. When set well, invert and carefully, unmould.

Note: Above is the basic recipe.
Any colour ( yellow, orange, green, cochineal), essence (pineapple, orange, pista, chocolate), topping (almonds, walnuts, cashews), can be added. To above recipe add any of following for varied flavours: cashew powder 1/2 cup, cocoa 2 tbsp.(then increase sugar by 1/2 cup), walnuts powdered 1/2 cup, etc. Add when the mixture is half cooked.

TIPS: This took longer and I was not happy with my results as my khoya was not the soft, white kind. I should give this another try. When I do I will report back here.

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PEDAS, TAKE FOUR (I haven't tried this out yet).

http://www.dgreetings.com/gifts-to-india/diwali-gifts/diwali-recipes3.html

Doodh peda is easy to prepare and even a novice cook can whip up one in a very short time. And it has a great taste. To prepare it you will require 2 kg khoya(very easily available in any Indian sweetmeat shop), milk (250 gms), grounded sugar(250 gms), rose water, 2 tbsp each of slivered almonds and pistachios, 1 tsp cardamom powder.

Add sugar to the khoya and knead it into a smooth lump. Heat the khoya over medium fire and a few tbsps of milk at a time and mix well. Repeat it over and over till all the milk is utilized and a smooth paste is derived. Now add the cardamom powder and rose water and mix well. Let the mixture cool down a little. Now make small balls of the mixture and flatten them a bit to give them the shape of pedas. Sprinkle some slivered pistachios and almonds over the pedas. Let them cool till they are solid and serve.

This really reads like a recipe worth trying.

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PEDAS, TAKE FIVE

http://www.daawat.com/recipes/indian/sweets/malaipeda.htm

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups milk
1 tin sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp corn flour
1/4 tsp citric acid
4-5 cardamoms powder
1 tbsp ghee or butter
A few drops of yellow color

Method:

1. Heat ghee in a pan, add condensed milk, milk and citric acid dissolved in a little water.
2. Continue heating and allow it to curdle.
3. Make a paste of corn flour with 2 tbsp water. Add to the milk mixture after it curdles.
4. Continue cooking on slow/medium heat till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
5. Add the yellow color and mix well.
6. Empty the contents onto a dish and shape into pedas. Decorate with cardamom powder.
Makes: 20 Pedas
Preparation time: 20 minutes

Bhagatram's pedas were a chalky white not yellow, but this recipe sounds like a good one too. I should try this recipe too.
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There are many other recipes on the Internet for pedas including the famous one with ricotta cheese.
If I find other easy ones, I will add them to this peda compilation, or keep updating my results after further trials. .

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2 comments:

Mallugirl said...

i like pedas, especially the browned southie variety.. but i make only the ricotta cheese ones over and over. will let u know if i come across a good recipe.

Cynthia said...

Thanks for all your hard work and do thank the noble hubby for doing this for you to share with us.

I have learnt much from this post.

I think that it is sad that the sons have not maintained that recipe that gave that unique taste that can cast one back to the days of old. Such a pity. Thanks however, to bloggers like you, all is not lost.

Excellent post!