Poila Baishakh.... one of the two major festivals for us.... our New Year. Just like Durga Puja, during this period I do miss my family a lot. Memories... old and new rush in. Earlier, it was much more fun. Waking up early, taking shower, wearing new clothes, getting ready for the special prayers. An elaborate lunch menu was the most interesting part for this foodie girl. This is one of the days Bengalis would go beyond their limits and have a scrumptious lunch and dinner menu. Evening, either someone visited us or we visited others.
It is very unfortunate that what we love to eat is going beyond our limit. Every year I see the price of mutton increasing on each visit, Hilsa price goes up to 2500-3000 rupees per kg on such special occasions. How many can buy.... next question..... is it worth it? The new trend back home for the past few years is dining out... all the speciality restaurants arrange for a Bengali spread. We have never been then, neither now. Such special occasions had always been a homely thing in our family, I have maintained that tradition. Though we usually prepare and eat a non-vegetarian fair on this day, I prefer to have a vegetarian fair for the day to offer a 'bhog' to the family deity. There will be a non vegetarian item done separately to accompany at dinner time.... I wish to see my men all smiles.
These Instant Ladoos are made of milk, powder, ghee, paneer and little sugar. We prepare so many kinds of ladoo, sweets throughout the year. I was lazy enough the other day to cook coconut for so long and planned for these Instant Ladoos instead which were done within an hour. Let us do these mouthwatering Instant Ladoos together.
INGREDIENTS :[for the paneer]
Milk : 1lt
Vinegar : 1tbsp
A clean, white cloth
Ice Cubes : 1small cup
Milk Powder : 1/3 big cup
Sugar : 4 tsp[fine or powdered]
Paneer[cottage cheese] : 1/2 big cup
Rose Essence : 2-3 drops[optional]
Ghee : 3-4tbsp
Let us prepare the paneer[cottage cheese] first. Take the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel and put on the gas. Bring it to a boil and put off gas. Add the vinegar, the milk will curdle. Add the ice cubes to avoid the paneer getting harder. Let cool. Strain through a white cloth and tie it to the kitchen tap to let the excess water drain. It should take 1/2 an hour.
Transfer the paneer to a wide mouthed bowl. Keep kneading for about 10 minutes. Add the milk powder and mix well. Knead for 3-4 minutes. Add sugar and rose water drops. Knead for further 3-4 minutes. At this stage, they look like crumbled. Add the ghee. Mix well and keep kneading. The sugar will melt and incorporate well with the mixture.
We get a soft, yet firm, flavourful dough which will not be dry in any case. Do add a little more ghee if it is so. Apply a drop of ghee on both of your palms and shape into round balls taking a portion from the dough.
Our Instant Ladoo is ready. I would suggest not to refrigerate and have it fresh. It can be stored without refrigeration up to a day or two in a cool, dark place.