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Pedas are a common sweet that are distributed during joyous occasions in India. Be it India winning the match, celebrating a new arrival in a family or a promotion at workplace or even good marks in the board exam, peda is a staple that is is easy to distribute and liked by everyone. Pedas are also an offering of choice to Hindu deities during puja at home or in the temple. It is easy to distribute as ‘prasad’ or offering.
Pedas of different varieties are easily available in the market these days. It is such a common sight that most people just grab some from the shop. But making peda, especially, malai peda at home is really simple.
The thing with this sweet is that everyone will give you a different recipe for it. Some use condensed milk, some with paneer, some with khoya or mava and some with store-bought ricotta cheese. It’s hard to make out the ingredient from the final prepared peda though.
In India, mava is the most common ingredient used to make pedas. Made from reduced milk, mava is a rich and creamy by-product that adds taste, texture and richness to numerous sweets.
Even though this is an easy to make sweet, it doesn’t come in the set it and forget it category. It requires constant stirring in a non stick pan to ensure that the mava doesn’t stick to the bottom. The key here is to also know the right time to add the ingredients. You have to wait for the mava mix leave its moisture and become a thick paste before you add other ingredients. You’ll also have to keep stirring the peda mixture after you’ve added all the ingredients for about 5-7 minutes until it all comes together and becomes a fine paste.
Malai peda can be either yellow or white. The golden yellow colour in the peda comes from safforn strands that you add during the cooking process. If you omit this, your peda will be white in colour. You can also add common food colours like green and orange to made pedas that look different from the usual fare.
- ½ litre Full-Fat Milk
- 2 to 3 tablespoons Sugar (as per sweetness desired)
- ½ teaspoon Cardamom Powder
- Few Pistas (slivered)
- Few Saffron Strands
- ¼ teaspoon Ghee (to grease the palm)
Take the milk in a nonstick pan and place it on low heat.
When it warms up remove 2 tablespoons in a bowl and soak the saffron strands in it. Let the milk in the pan simmer on low heat till it reduces to half.
Keep on stirring and scraping the sides of the pan where the solidified milk starts to accumulate. This process will take close to 30 minutes.
When the saffron strands have soaked for 10 minutes, add them along with the milk to the simmering milk. (Do not add the saffron to get white colored pedas).
After it reduces to half, add the sugar. Again, let it simmer with constant stirring.
The milk mixture will start to solidify bit by bit. It will turn into a paste and keep on thickening.
At this point, when it leaves the sides easily and gathers at center, stop the flame. This stage will be reached in about 10 to 12 minutes after adding the sugar.
Remove it to a plate and let it cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the cardamom powder.
When it is cool enough to handle, grease the palm very lightly with little ghee and start kneading the dough with a gentle hand.
The dough will become very soft and smooth. Make equal size balls from it and smoothen them. Lightly press to flatten.
Press with a peda or fondant mold to make a design on the top or leave it as is. Sprinkle slivered pistas.
Let the ready pedas stand for at least 1 hour before serving.
The recipe can be doubled to get a bigger batch.