“Lets distribute Pedas!” is a figure of speech that is commonly used when somebody excels at something. In typical Indian fashion, this is celebrated with sweets and probably the most common one is the peda – a semi-soft sweet made with thickened milk, sugar and flavored with cardamom, saffron and optionally garnished with nuts such as pistachio. Traditionally, the base of the peda is made by evaporating milk in an open pan and stirring it till it forms a soft semi-solid called Khova. This is a time consuming process and one has to stir the milk continuously to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the vessel and getting burnt. This recipe is much simpler – milk powder, condensed milk and the microwave reduces the cooking time to a few minutes.
- Milk powder - 1 1/2 cups (I used the Carnation brand)
- Condensed milk - 1 can (14 oz)
- Butter - 1/2 stick (4 tbsp), at room temperature
- Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
- Saffron (Kesar) - few threads
Powder the cardamom finely using a mortar and pestle
In a deep microwaveable dish, put all the ingredients and mix well. It is important to use a deep dish since the heat of the microwave causes the mixture to rise.
Cook it in the microwave on high for 3 minutes. Stir well.
As it gets cooked, the batter tends to rise up in the dish, so its always better to be close by when you are making this.
Put it back in the microwave and cook on high for another 3 minutes. Stir and keep aside till such time you think you can touch it.
When still warm, apply little softened butter (or ghee) to your palms and take a small spoonful of the cooked mixture and make a smooth ball and then slowly flatten it. Make the rest in the same manner and the easiest Pedas are ready!
- If you want a smooth finish to your pedas, make sure your palms are well moistened with ghee or butter.
- If it is cold where you live, the butter may solidify and the pedas tend to get a little hard. Don’t worry, just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and you have nice and soft pedas.
- Pedas are popular all over India. The most common ones are just plain white in color and are flavored with cardamom. Variations include the kesar peda (flavored with saffron) or pedas flavored with nuts such as pistachios or almonds. Then there are the pedas which owe their name to their place of origin – the most popular ones being the Mathura peda and my personal favorite, the dark brown Dharwad Peha. Pedas are also used as the “prashad” during pujas – religious ceremonies.