Wishing all my dear readers, family and friends a very Happy Ganesh Chaturthi ! May Ganpati Bappa bless you with treasure of good health, happiness, peace and prosperity.
Ganesh chaturthi is a major Indian festival celebrated to mark the birth of Ganpati Bappa who is worshipped as the God of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. The festival begins from Bhadrapada Shudha Chaturthi when Ganesh idols are placed in decorated homes and ends on Anant Chaturdashi with the idols being immersed in water. This household celebration was made into community celebration by leader Balgangadhar Tilak during the freedom movement and since then the public celebrations continue till date.
I have been part of this celebrations while growing up in Mumbai, the financial capital of India where it is celebrated in a grandiose way. Every corner of the city is all abuzz - busy streets, decorations, music and devotional songs, large number of devotees, huge pandals with tall Ganesh idols been installed in these pandals. Modaks, [sweet dumplings] are believed to be bappa's favourite and so prepared as prasad on this day. I still remember the pedhas from a local dairy near my mom's house... they were prepared from mawa/ khova and moulded in the form of modak. We used to get them as a prasad offering to Lord Ganesh. I thought of preparing similar modak shaped pedhas this time... not from khova but milk powder.
2 cups milk powder
1 can (395 gms) condensed milk
3 tbsp ghee + extra for greasing
2 tsp cardamom powder
Few strands of saffron soaked in 1 tbsp of warm milk
1 tbsp milk [optional, if required when the dough hardens upon cooling]
Chopped pistachios and saffron strands to garnish.
Take a wide mouthed heavy based pan. Heat ghee on medium flame. Once the ghee melts, simmer the flame and pour in condensed milk. Add milk powder and cardamom powder little by little. Mix well without any lumps. Keep stirring so that it doesn't get burnt at the base of the pan.
Add soaked saffron milk and continue stirring till the mixture thickens. Once the mixture starts leaving from the sides switch off the flame. Allow it to cool down until you are comfortable to handle the warm mixture. Grease your hands with ghee make small balls and flatten them to discs. Press the center with your thumb [or a clean coin] and garnish with chopped pista saffron mixture. Place the pedhas on parchment paper. Allow them to cool down completely. Refrigerate them by storing in an airtight container.
[If you are an expert to make modaks you would know to pinch out the pedha dough and shape them into modaks. I have used modak mould to prepare them].
Bring the pedhas to room temperature before serving as they tend to harden upon refrigerating. If you get cracks while making the pedhas or the dough hardens upon cooling add drop by drop of milk and knead the dough well and continue with the process of making pedhas as mentioned above. Take care not to overcook the mixture and switch off the flame as it starts leaving the sides of the pan.
"Pan chadhe Phool chadhe Aur Chadhe Mewa, Ladduan ka bhog lage, Sant kare seva"
Happy celebrations and once again Ganpati Bappa Morya !!!