STRAWBERRY GULKAND PENDA
Diwali is in four days. I really wanted to make penda this year, but not just the normal saffron cardamom penda that is usually found at the mithai stores. So I came up with this Strawberry Gulkand filled Penda that has been on my mind for a long while.
The strawberry is fresh strawberries as well as freeze dried strawberry powder to get a more potent strawberry flavor in the penda. It is hard to get that potent flavor otherwise from just the strawberry puree.
Ingredients for the Strawberry Gulkand Penda:
- Fresh Strawberries : I use fresh strawberries that have been washed and hulled, and then weighed to get 200 grams of it.
- Freeze dried Strawberry Powder: I use freeze dried strawberry powder to enhance the taste of strawberries.
- Granulated Sugar: The strawberries, freeze dried powder and sugar are all blended together in a high speed blender to form this smooth puree, which is then used to make the penda.
- Whole milk powder: I use this brand of whole milk powder. Do not use fat free whole milk powder, because else the pendas tend to break.
- Whole milk: gives it a creamy texture and brings everything together.
- Ghee: Ghee is a key ingredient for making penda, and for that additional fat to give it a nice shine and smoothness and that indulgent richness that is part of Diwali festivities!
- Cardamom and Saffron: Both go so well with strawberries and no penda is complete without these 2 ingredients. I always use cardamom seeds and coarsely grind it for any indian mithai, because it is more potent and gives a wonderful aroma, and flavor to the mithai.
- Gulkand: or Rose Jam, usually used in paan, is used in the center of this penda, to give a nice surprise in the middle. It is made with rose petals and sugar. You can find it at the grocery stores!
The pendas originated in Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh. They are traditionally made with khoya, which is essentially whole milk thickened over a period of time. It is khoya, sugar, cardamom and saffron that makes up the traditional penda. It is called peda, pera, pedha, in different parts of India. In Gujarat, it is called penda.
I grew up eating penda as part of the Diwali affairs. There are so many varieties of Penda that you get in the mithai stores. Chocolate penda, kaju pista penda, kesar penda, cardamom penda, mango penda etc, the list goes on!
I really wanted to make this strawberry rose penda, and with rose – gulkand came to my mind. I love gulkand and a tad bit in the center of this penda goes a long way.
The process to make this penda takes about 45 minutes, and a lot of stirring. The idea is to not let the bottom scorch even at low heat. It is a slow process, but you are essentially cooking off the liquids in the mixture and thickening the milk solids to form this absolutely delectable piece of sweet, that is a joy to devor!
The flavors all meld together beautifully, and it is not too sweet as well. I made it less sweet because of the gulkand in the middle.
TIPS for making good pendas:
- I weigh out all the ingredients, to ensure exact proportions anytime.
- I use whole milk powder. Do not use non fat milk powder. I tried it and it was a disaster.
- I use Americolor Tulip Red gel to give the pretty red hue.
- I weigh out each ball to about 32 grams each for exact shapes. It amounts to 14 pendas.
- I used a rose press shape, linked here, to make the beautiful rose shape.
- I store it on parchment paper, in an airtight container for freshness.
- Must be consumed within a week.
Hope these tips and tricks help you to make your own penda. Penda can be made with khoya, or condensed milk, as well. There are many ways to make penda, instant penda, microwave penda, etc etc. I have given you this method. And I hope it works for you and that you enjoy these gorgeous bites! 🙂
After more than a year full of turmoil, I hope you have a safe and wonderful Diwali celebration. Hoping lots of peace and love and good vibes to all of you! HAPPY DIWALI AND SAAL MUBARAK! 🙂