Indulge me a little bit as I tell you about choti diwali and the ritual of 14 saag and 14 baati. I grew up with this ritual - lighting 14 diyas mostly one for every entrance and doorway and eating a special Diwali dish from 14 different leafy vegetables. Fourteen signifying the 14 years of exile for Lord Rama.
Since I have never been back to India for Diwali, I have not done this for many years. But this year is different as you already know. :) So, this time when my mom wanted to make 14 saag, we scrounged around the market and the backyard but we were still short of 14. So we improvised including mint, celery leaves and cilantro as part of the 14 saag. It turned out pretty good :)
And for Diwali mithai (sweet), we made sandesh, that too from scratch. Yes, we boiled whole milk, made channa (paneer) and then made the sandesh. It takes time, but the end result of soft sweet, melt in your mouth sandesh is worth it.
1 ltr whole milk
2 tspoons lime juice
sugar - equal amount as channa
2-3 cardamoms - powdered
pistachios and almonds for garnish
Boil the milk and add the lime juice. Put it in a cheesecloth and drain the water.
Once the channa is drained, pulse is lightly in a mixer till it becomes smooth. Add an equal amount of sugar (as the channa) and mix it well. Then heat a deep bottomed and stir it constantly over low heat. The mixture will first turn liquidy and then start thickening. When the mixture becomes a creamy thick paste and leaves the sides of the pan, stir in the cardamom powder. Roll it in to small balls and garnish it with pistachios and almonds.
Have a joyous festival filled with happy memories.