This year Diwali or Deepavali (as it is called in the southern part of India) is celebrated on October 23. The “Festival of Light” changes every year according to the Lunar calendar, and is typically the darkest, new moon night. The festival signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Diyas (traditional earthenware oil lamps) or candles are lit around the home and a puja or prayer to Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and prosperity- is offered.
In India, desserts, sweets, or “Mitai” traditionally were made just for special occasions or festivals such as Diwali. Peda, with a similar consistency of fudge, is one of the more popular desserts and one of my favorites.
I never made Peda before I found this recipe, because it was such a tedious process. The traditional way can be quite time consuming as the milk has to be boiled down to make a thick paste called “khoya” so it can take hours.
In this recipe, the “khoya” is replaced with milk powder and condensed milk to make this dessert easily at home. It also freezes well.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 can condensed milk
2 cups Carnation milk powder
1/2 cup chopped almonds or pistachio
Few strands saffron steeped in 2 tablespoon hot milk (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)
Add the first 3 ingredients to a large microwave casserole. DO NOT MIX.
Microwave for 3 minutes on HIGH for 3 minutes.*
Stir till all the ingredients are throughly mixed.
If using, add the saffron mixture, cardamom power and stir again.
Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes.*
Let cool until the mixture can be comfortably handled. Divide into small balls, flatten slightly and decorate with nuts.
*NOTE: Microwave cooking time can vary – older microwaves may need an extra minute or so.