Try making these sweets that are low on sugar and ghee this Deepavali

Night-long parties, loads of tasty sweets, flashing fireworks and lots of fun... that’s what Deepavali is all about. It’s a time when you just can’t stop yourself from overeating. The display in sweet shops is irresistible. And in today’s fast-paced world, there is greater dependence on packaged sweets and savouries, which may not always favour the health-conscious.

Some bakers and confectioners, however, maintain a separate counter for the diet-conscious. But often, their products may be low-sugar, but high on fat and artificial sweeteners. And if they are low-fat, they may have too much sugar, salt or monosodium glutamate. Consult a weight chart to know how much you should consume. The more aware you are about what you eat, the more you will succeed in maintaining a healthy weight.

You could try easy-to-cook, low-calorie sweets, made with low oil and low sugar. Dry fruits could be used, but sparingly. Add a mixture of jowar and ragi flour, with sesame seeds to your chikkis and murukkus to enhance their nutritive value. You can add bottlegourd and carrot to barfis and laddoos, and substitute sugar with jaggery. Do not replace the fruit bowl on the dining table with namkeens. Instead fill it with dry fruits such as figs, walnuts, almonds and soy. Avoid the use of synthetic food colours. Settle for healthy alternatives such as ragi halwa, baked farsans, chaat made with nuts, buttermilk and nimbu jaljeera. Do not miss regular meals, for the hungrier you are, the more tempted you will be to eat sweets.

Here are some easy-to-prepare recipes for Deepavali

Chocolate Barfi

Ingredients:

Condensed milk: 200 grams

Butter: 30 grams

Chocolate, chopped: 30 grams

Cocoa powder: quarter cup

Whole-wheat flour: quarter cup

Lightly roasted nuts: half cup

For greasing: A few drops of ghee

Method:

Lightly roast the flour. Remove from the flame when it turns light brown in colour. Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed pan, mix in condensed milk, cocoa powder and roasted flour. Cook for 4-5 minutes on a low flame, stirring continuously to avoid sticking and burning. Mix in chopped chocolate and cook for one minute. Add nuts and spread the mixture in a greased metal tray. Gently flatten with spatula. Cool for an hour. Slice into squares and serve.

Kesar Kheer

Ingredients:

Full cream milk: 1 litre

Grated and roasted bottle gourd: 1 cup

Sugar: half a cup

Green cardamom powder: a pinch

Saffron: A few strands

Cold milk: 1 tsp

Chopped nuts: 2 tbsp

Method:

Simmer the milk on a low flame. Add grated bottle gourd and simmer till it reduces to one-third of the total quantity. Mix in sugar and cardamom powder and cook. Dissolve saffron in cold milk and add to the kheer. Garnish with nuts.

Coconut Ladoo

Ingredients:

Desiccated coconut (reserve half a cup for rolling): 2.5 cups

Condensed milk: 200 gm

Ghee: half a tsp

Cardamom powder: a pinch

Raisins: 2 tbsp

Method:

Heat ghee in a non-stick pan and lightly roast the coconut for approximately 30 seconds. In a large bowl, mix together roasted coconut, condensed milk and cardamom powder. Divide the mixture and shape into flat discs. Place raisins in the centre and gently shape into balls. Roll in reserved desiccated coconut and serve.

Shreekhand

Ingredients:

Fresh curd: 1 kg

Sugar: 250 gm

Cardamom powder: 2 tsp

Sliced nuts: 25 gm

Saffron essence: 1 tsp

Method:

Powder all the nuts, mix with powdered cardamom and set aside. Put curd into a thick cloth and hang it from a nail to squeeze out all the water from the curd. Hang it for 4-5 hours to let all the water out. Now take a small quantity of curd and sugar and mix well on the cloth. Then put it into a neat tray. When doing this, all the curd and sugar will get used up. Add saffron and sliced nuts. Sprinkle cardamom mixture on the top. Chill and serve.