Thursday, November 20, 2008

Belated Diwali Treat : Kalakand

It's been long since I visited my blog. So, here I am stuck with an empty page for the past 15 mins not knowing where to start. I'm writing sentences back and forth and deleting them after a few minutes. Anyway, I'm determined to come out of my hibernation although it's not the appropriate time for it.

Last year for Diwali I had so much time in hand that I experimented on many new sweets. But this time I wanted something quick and new. So I ended up doing Kalakand. The inspiration to do this was from my colleague Vinaya who brought this sweet during our Halloween Potluck. From that time onwards I became hooked to this sweet that I decided to give it a try for Diwali. So... many THANKS to Vinaya for introducing this sweet to me.

The Kalakand you see below is not made out of hours of labor in the kitchen. There is actually a short cut way. Some of you must be already familiar with the Ricotta cheese method and that is what I followed here. I've never tried the traditional way of doing Kalakand and I'm sure it will taste the best….. but I guarantee you - when you try this method you will find a very marginal difference between the two or sometimes you might not even notice any difference.

The version that my friend had brought was the plain Kalakand. So, I decided to get creative and make two more types of kalakand - The Mango Kalakand and the Chocolate Kalakand. So far, I have done this for 3 parties and the variety that won the most votes was the Mango Kalakand. But my vote is for the Chocolate one. The plain ones were also very good but for some reason the kids liked it the most.

So, here goes the recipe:

Ingredients:
Ricotta cheese: 1 (30 oz tub) - Whole Milk
Sweetened Condensed milk - 3 cans
Elachi powder - 1/2 tsp for each batch
Ghee - for greasing the microwavable container and the tray in which you are going to pour the Kalakand.
Chopped nuts - Qty as desired (Pista, almonds)

The quantity I have mentioned above serves a large crowd. I made 3 batches out the cheese quantity I mentioned above (see the 2nd picture… but we ate some before we took pictures). So, if you want to first try a small batch use just 1 can of milkmaid and equal amounts of ricotta cheese. I forgot to mention something... this is a recipe that uses microwave for cooking and not the stove. In future I'll experiment with the stove top as well and update you.

Procedure:
Take a microwave safe cooking bowl (Corning ware) and grease it with ghee. Pour 1 can of milkmaid and equal amounts of ricotta cheese. Blend them to a smooth liquid. Add elachi powder and mix again. Keep the bowl in the microwave and cook it for 5 mins in high power. My microwave says power 10. In-between these 5 mins keep an eye on the liquid mixture as it might boil over if you are using a small bowl. To be on the safe side, I would recommend using a big bowl that enough room for the cheese mixture to rise a little bit.

After the first 5 minutes, take out the bowl and give a good mix. Stick it back into the microwave for another 5 mins. This time, you need to watch your cheese mixture very keenly as it might boil over. Pause the microwave anytime if needed, give the mixture a stir and continue cooking.

By the end of the 10th minute, the mixture would have become somewhat thick. Scrape the sides and blend well. Again put the bowl in the microwave for another 5 mins. At this stage, open the microwave every 1 min and stir the contents well each and every time. The kalakand is done when the cheese mixture becomes grainy and still has some moisture in it. You might get this stage by the 15th minute or 17th minute.

Take out the bowl from the microwave and pour/scoop the contents to a ghee greased tray. Pile it up a little high so that you can get pieces out of them. While the mixture is still hot, spread the chopped nuts and slightly press them down. Wait for 1/2 an hour to 45 mins. Take a pizza cutter or knife and cut them neatly into squares.

Don't worry if you see the kalakand with some extra moisture at this stage. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours if needed. You will be able to take out the entire pieces fine.

Note: For the Mango version, just use 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mango pulp. Mix the pulp with cheese and condensed milk. Follow the same procedure as above. Just increase the cooking time by 2 more minutes.

For the Chocolate version, I used 2 tbsp of Hershey's milk chocolate powder. But when I did this batch, I noticed that the mixture got its grainy texture by the end of the 10th minute itself. So, I trusted my instincts and stopped cooking further. Finally, I realized that I did the right thing. The kalakands came out perfectly fine.

Another version that you could try is to add MTR Badam feast powder to the Ricotta cheese mixture. I have not tried this before but my friend Vinaya suggested this idea. Maybe I'll try it next time.

So... Folks are you ready to give it a try???

The other sweet that I made was my Kaju kathli and for snacks I made murrukku. As I posted the recipes for these earlier I'm not going to elaborate on this.

Ok Guys, time to go. Before that... Thanks to all my blog friends and readers for your sweet comments and enquires. Sorry to many of you for not responding to their queries. I'll start spending some time on my blog each week to make up for the lost time.

Take care and happy eating!

12 comments:

indosungod said...

Kribha, glad to see you back. Kalakand looks like a perfect sweet to make without much fuss. The plain is the best looking of them all.

Happy cook said...

Kribha, better late then never.
Should try this version as you are using ricotta cheese. Looks yummy delicious

RAKS KITCHEN said...

Hi Kribha, how are you and its a surprise to see ur post after long time....;D
come back to form,its so boring around here without ur sweet words!

Sharmi said...

hi Kribha, how are you doing? You don't seem to blog frequently these days.nice looking sweet. never tried kalakand, have to make this!

meeso said...

These look great, I'd love to make them and give as gifts!

Priyameena said...

Hi,

I am new to this blogging world.I visited your blog it was wonderful.your kalakand looks yummy!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the receipe. Appreciate it.

Sanctified Spaces said...

Wow,thanx for the recipe.I have to go hunting for ricotta cheese in chennai.

Rajitha said...

hey kribha...how are you doing?? that kalakand looks delicious....

Kribha said...

Hi ISG, HC, Raks, Sharmi, Meeso and Rajitha,

Thank you all for kind remembarance. I was so thrilled to see your comments and it felt so good to see my old buddies still stopping by to say hello. Take care all of you and don't forget to try the Kalakand. It sure won me so many ooh's and aah's.

Hi Priyameena, Anonymous and Sanctified spaces,

Warm welcome to my blog. Glad that you enjoyed the recipe Do give it a try when time permits and sorry for my late response.

Happy Cooking!

Rajitha said...

Kribha...how are you?? Long time no posts..do make a random post now and then...take care...hope u and your family had a great new year!

PS said...

hi, it looks yummy.Thanks for the recipe.