I dislike when God disposes my plan during holiday. Yes it was the four wonderful Easter holidays. Wanted to be low on productivity, high on day dreaming and lazy to extreme higher limit. But it went the other way round: a surprised baby shower party was planned for one of my Indian friend. The Idea was to bring the reflection, as back in India. Thereby extensive research, series of shopping and good substitutes were required. The value for people, product and pith of any tradition or custom will be understood better when we are far from it. At this point I missed being in India.
Ambiance for baby shower party
The concept of our tailor made baby shower was to shower her with delicious food, loads of sweets, gifts and bangles. Bangles are one of the key elements of baby shower in India, the going to be mother will be worn with numerous colorful glass bangles. According to my understanding, hands full of bangles will be in close proximity with the baby in womb, which creates a rhythmic co-ordination between mother and baby.
Ingredients for halwa, love eating fresh coconut
Thick, thin coconut milk and rice paste
Myself and other Indian friends formed a cooking league. Five sweets (Kachories, black gram ladoo, rasgulla, coconut ladoo and coconut halwa) were on the list, two required group work which almost took a day from our hands. Many ideas and hands for a single recipes made the sweets taste better and an opportunity to learn something new. Other sweets were individual contribution.
Ready to be cooled
Next day passed by cooking food for the party, then the party, loved the ambiance we created, with quite a lot of balloons, ribbons and flowers. Third day was sleeping day after extensive cooking and fun-filled long party. Fourth day was waking up and thinking "why do holidays go fast?" Oh no I have to be back to work tomorrow.
I equally love Iittala dishwares
Coconut halwa, from mum kitchen, though a simple recipe required quite a lot of patience. A relay between both my hands happened, as I kept stirring the halwa on low heat, till either of them ached. Always did I love when mum made it and equally loved when I made. For this recipe no additional flavors were added, it's solely coconut, mild and special.
2 Medium size coconut
180 gram basmati rice
125 gram sugar (you may need bit more or less sugar depending upon the sweetness of coconut)
10 soaked almonds
3/4 tsp ghee
Soak 180 gram of basmati rice in water for one hour.
Slice almonds into thin slices and roast them with 1/2 tsp of ghee till they turn golden brown.
Next step is to extract coconut milk by grinding the coconut.
Make small pieces of coconut, grind with 200 ml of warm water, pour the coconut paste to a sieve and extract thick coconut milk. keep the milk in a separate bowl. Transfer back the coconut to mixer and add another 150 ml of warm water and grind the coconut. Extract again the thin milk and keep in separate bowl. Now grind the soaked rice into smooth paste using thin coconut milk.
In a big heavy bottom, non sticky pot, mix rice paste, thick and thin milk and100 gram of sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved, check for sweetness, now add the renaming, if required (The sweetness for halwa depends on sweetness of coconut and your taste, you can alter the way you want it to be).
Now place the pot, on low heat and constantly keep stirring. Make sure not to stop stirring so that lumps are not formed. when mixture become thick and big bubbles starts to form take the pot from heat. It took about 30 to 35 minutes to obtain the required consistency. Grease the mold, or plate with 1/4 tsp of ghee and pout the mixture into the plate(28cm). Spread the roasted almonds on top. Let them cool till room temperature. Now cover the plate with fresh wrappers and transfer into refrigerator. Before serve cut into desired shape and serve cold.