It is that time of the year when Indians are busy cleaning their homes and shops, decorating it with flowers, lights and lanterns, buying new clothes, making sweets and savories and visiting relatives, family and friends. Yes, it’s Diwali, the festival of lights, when the evening shimmers with rows of tiny flames of earthen lamps and when the darkest new moon night (as per Hindu calendar) is turned into one of the brightest, glowing night by the hundreds of lamps and lanterns, swaying outside homes and shops, on terraces and crossroads.
The spectacular display of fireworks fills the sky with colorful, sparkling shower of light and though I dislike the deafening sound of loud crackers, there is something very heartwarming about watching kids burning the sparklers, hopping and giggling, feeling scared but enjoying at the same time.
Every year I get requests for the Phulan ji Laai recipe, a puffed rice candy that is mandatory to use for Hatri pooja. Generally we buy it from the sweet shops since it is easily available during Diwali, in my part of the world. But those who reside in areas that do not stock Sindhi sweets feel disappointed. I avoid cooking with white sugar since I find the flavors of jaggery and honey to be more rustic. But then, this recipe of Phulan ji laai is for those who wish to go traditional way and offer this sugar candy to the Hatri.
The recipe is very simple and this laai gets ready in a jiffy.
- 2 cups of Puffed rice
- 1 cup of Sugar (a little less)
- 1 tsp of Ghee
- A pinch or Green cardamom powder
- Before making the laai, grease a flat plate or a clean surface to spread the candy.
- In a thick bottom pan dry roast the puffed rice for a minute or so.
- Remove the roasted puffed rice from pan and keep aside.
- In the same pan put 1 tsp of ghee and add sugar. Heat it on the low flame.
- Keep stirring the sugar and let it melt completely without changing its color. Put off the flame
- Add the elaichi powder and puffed rice and mix quickly to evenly coat the rice.
- Immediately spread this mixture on the greased surface and using a spatula or rolling pin, level down the mixture to make a disc of ½ inch (or as thick or thin as you wish) or so.
- You can cut it into pieces before it sets and harden up.
- Store it in an airtight container.
- To make this laai with jaggery just use half cup of jaggery instead of a cup of sugar.