As I was learning to become a better cook, the one area that took me longer to learn was the art of spicing (yes, it’s still a work in progress!). As far as I was concerned, a dish of pasta with a tablespoon or so of cayenne was “spiced”. Unfortunately, no one that I served it to agreed 🙂 .
I very quickly became aware of the subtleties needed in making a dish perfectly spiced, something my Indian friends had down. And I was on a mission to learn ~ I traded yoga classes for Indian cooking classes, and for every dinner with friends I was in the kitchen, trying to learn as much as I could. Now I can make a respectably-spiced meal, certainly not the same quality as those who taught me, but good enough…
Desserts, however, are a whole different story. While I can relate to the ingredients in a curry or dal or vegetable dish, Indian desserts are out of my league. Many of them are made with ghee, and it would be beyond me to veganize them and replicate the flavor. But not to worry, Richa has come to our rescue!
Richa Hingle blogs wonderful vegan recipes at VeganRicha.com and has come up with this Vegan Diwali Sweets Ebook to celebrate a dairy-free festival this year. This is her message about the E-book –
Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the big festivals celebrated in India. The festival is celebrated with vacations, visits, bursting crackers and lots of sweets and savories. The sweets and desserts served for the festival are quite heavily dependent on dairy. Like any major festival or holiday in any country, we all get obsessed with vegan-izing some family favorites. With very few Vegan Indian commercial options in India and almost none in the United states, I try to vegan-ize some of my favorites around the Indian festivals that people can make at home. This year I have a decent collection that I could make into an E-book.
The E-book has 15 recipes and beautiful photographs. A lot of trials and experiments went into some of the recipes. The names of the sweets and flavors might be new to some, but they are delicious and addictive. I have tried to keep the sweets close to traditional wherever possible, that means a few do have a similar oil content as you would find in a ghee-laden sweet. A good number of the recipes though are low fat with no or little refined oil and some also use natural sugars like maple syrup. Gluten-free options are mentioned wherever possible. Each page of the book can be printed, framed and put up as photography art or gifted as well. All the funds from the e-book sale this year will be donated. Let’s make this Diwali dairy-free.
Richa did an amazing job with her recipes and photography. How can anyone not want to make something that looks as beautiful as this? The book is filled with amazingly delicious sweets, cheesy balls, and delicacies delicately flavored with cardamom, saffron, and rose. I love them all!
And Richa is donating 100% of the money raised from the sale of the E-book to the animals suffering after Cyclone Phailin (to VSPCA
through Help Animals India
which is a 501 c3 charity) and to Pigs Peace Sanctuary
. The animals win as we all make plant-based sweets this Diwali and also because they get the funds from the sale of this book.
Richa has generously offered to share one of the amazing recipes from her book here, and to give away a copy of the E-book. (See below the recipe to enter.) Everyone else can buy a copy of it here
~ and it’s only a $5 minimum donation!
- 1/2 cup raw sugar
- 1 cardamom pod seeds or 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon organic canola oil
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance or vegan margarine or melted coconut oil or melted cocoa butter
- 2 teaspoons non dairy yogurt or cashew cream or coconut milk
- 1/4 cup fine semolina/sooji
- 1 teaspoon chickpea flour/besan (optional)
- 2/3 cup unbleached organic white flour
- 2 Tablespoons ground pistachios or cashews
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Grind the sugar with the cardamom, nutmeg and salt into a fine powder. Add the
oils, yogurt to the sugar and whisk to make a well combined mixture. Whisk the
semolina, baking soda & powder, flour, ground pistachio and chickpea flour together then add to sugar mixture. Knead to form a dough. Spray just a little water or non-dairy milk to help make the dough only if it is too crumbly.Refrigerate the dough for an hour. Shape the dough into balls. Press almond slivers or pistachio slivers on top if desired. Bake in pre-heated 350 degrees F/180 degrees Celsius for 13-14 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for another 3-4 minutes before removing from the sheet. Cool and store in airtight container for a few weeks. Makes 15-16.
And one lucky winner will get a copy of Richa’s E-book just in time for Diwali this weekend. Entries must be received by 8 pm Pacific Time on Friday, Nov. 1. The winner will be announced after midnight on Saturday, Nov. 2.
Enter the giveaway!