Two three days before Diwali, my home resembles a sweet shop. The aroma of the sweets and savories can be felt in the neighborhood. My grandmother, mom, and aunt make lot of sweets and savories to be distributed to family, relatives, friends, employees, friends of friends, the postman, sweeper, and anybody and everybody who comes home to get the Diwali inaam. The most popular of these preparations is chandrakala. I end up eating them for lunch the day they are being made. This is the by far the best mithai/sweet my grandmother makes. No garnishes, no saffron in sugar syrup, plain simple chandrakala which is crispy outside and melts in mouth with each bite. Heaven!
This mithai is a sweet kachori/pastry filled with dry fruits, fried in ghee/oil and dipped in sugar syrup. Its heavy on calories but isn’t Diwali a perfect excuse to indulge.
Folding the chandrakala is an art. I have learnt this from my grandmother. Once you seal two puris with the stuffing inside, gently pinch the edges and twist them to form a pattern. This will make sure that the filling does not come out while frying.
Do not keep these in fridge. They can be stored in an airtight container for few days. Enjoy the sweet treat this Diwali. Wishing you and very happy and sweet Diwali!
Makes 20 Chandrakalas
- 1 cup refined flour (maida)
- ¼ cup ghee (clarified butter)
- Oil for frying
- ¼ cup khoa/wava (dried whole milk)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp coarsely crushed dry fruits
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups water
- ½ tsp ghee (optional)
Mix the refined flour and ghee till it resembles bread crumbs. Add very little water at a time and make a firm dough. The dough should not be very stiff or very soft. It should be of medium consistency. Cover and keep it aside for 15 minutes.
Put khoa in a microwave safe bowl and heat it on full power for 20-25 seconds. Add sugar, nuts, and cardamom powder immediately and mix well. Keep aside.
You can even fry the khoa in a pan for 1-2 mins and move it to a cool bowl immediately and mix other ingredients.
Divide the dough into 40 portions and roll out small puris (approximately 3 inches). Take two puris at a time. Put one portion of khoa filling in one puri, cover it with the second puri and seal the edges and pinch and fold the sides in a pattern so that the edges do not open while frying. You can use the moulds available in the market.
Heat enough oil in a deep pan/kadhai and fry the chandrakalas few at a time, till they are golden brown. While you are frying the chandrakala, bring to boil the water and sugar for sugar syrup and make a sugar syrup of one thread*.
Once all the chandrakala are fried, poke each chandrakala on top with a fork. This will help it absorb the sugar syrup. Put them in the hot sugar syrup and coat them with sugar syrup on all sides. You can leave the chandrakala in the syrup for few minutes (3-4) and remove it carefully. Garnish with dry fruits or eat as it is.
Consistency of sugar syrup is very crucial for Indian desserts. You need to be very careful while working with sugar as it gets extremely hot and can even burn your skin. This recipe calls for one thread consistency of sugar syrup.
One thread consistency is when a single thread is formed when you take little syrup between your index finger and thumb and pull apart the fingers gently. The thread should not break.
Second way to test this is, pour the syrup in a small plate with water. If the syrup does not dissolve immediately and dissolves when you try to gather it, it is one thread consistency.
Another simpler way is to use the cooking thermometer. Single thread syrup is approximately 220ºF – 222ºF/104º-105ºC and is used for sweets where it needs to be absorbed
To test the consistency of sugar syrup, dip a wooden spatula in the syrup and lift out. Allow to cool for a few seconds. Now touch the syrup with a clean index finger to pick a small amount of syrup and bring your thumb and index finger together and pull apart gently.