I organized the Indian-style house-warming aka Grihapravesh Satyanarayan puja. Organizing this puja was quite a experience - particularly in terms of cooking. This was one event when every single thing was taken care of by me. I won't deny that it was quite stressful, however, all's well that end's well. Now when I look back, I did have lots of fun and made some lovely memories for the lifetime to cherish and treasure.
Getting back to cooking, one excruciating factor was that the cooking had to be without onion and garlic. Vegeterian food by itself is quite a challenge in my culinary pallate. Googling for "Puja menu" (try it) was not helping too..for one time, Google was not my best friend! :( Try this search and you will understand what I mean! :) Who else but my mom came to my rescue. She came up with a menu that was not just delicious but easy to make and manage with a morning puja before lunch. Sharing the menu so that it will benefit people in similar dilemma.
Sweet dishes to put for pooja:
Kheer Sagar (recipe here)
Almond Kheer (recipe immediately below)
Kalakand (recipe here)
Besan Laddoo (recipe here)
Fruits for pooja:
Aloo curry (recipe here)
Gobi Mattar (recipe coming soon)
Kaju Paneer (my mom's recipe coming soon - my favorite Paneer recipe now!)
Palak Dal (recipe here)
Dahi Baingan (recipe coming soon)
2 cups almonds
1 cup milk
1 cup (8 oz) condensed milk
10 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) - melted
6-7 strands of saffron + more for garnish
3/4 cup sugar (optional, if needed)
2 drops yellow food color (optional)
slivered almonds & pistachios - for garnish
Soak the almonds in the milk for an hour or more till the almonds become soft to touch.
Using a blender or food processor, blend the almonds and milk together into a fine thick paste.
Soak the saffron in 2 tbsp warm milk and set aside to bleed.
Take a deep skillet, set it on low-medium heat, and add the almond paste and keep stirring continuously.
After 10 minutes, add the saffron and the melted ghee slowly into the pan (in small increments) while stirring continuously, and cook till the ghee is absorbed by the almonds.
As the mixture thickens, add the condensed milk and the food coloring, then again stir for another 10-15 mins, making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom. Keep stirring for some more time if the consistency appears too liquid-ish!
Remove from the heat and allow to cool just slightly. Lightly grease a square baking tray (about 1/2 inch deep). Transfer the mixture to the tray while it is still warm.
Garnish with some chopped almonds and pistachios, and the remaining saffron strands.Now allow to cool, about half an hour. Then cut into diamonds or squares.
If its still soft, refrigerate for 15 mins then cut. You can store the burfi in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for upto a week.
Mine came out with an consistency that could not cut as burfi. So I served it like a halwa as shown in the pic! :)