Peda is a soft milk based sweet and is very popular amongst all. In fact, Pedas are of so many different type and textures, that it is hard to decide which one is the favorite. In the peda making process, milk is boiled till the moisture is evaporated leaving behind milk solid that is reffered to as MAWA. This Mawa is then mixed with sugar and garnished with nuts. Doesn't that sound easy? Yes, it is very simple, but sometimes it is tricky to form a good Mawa. These pedas are so soft, that each of these is individually placed in a paper cup and served. They are sometimes difficult to hold too :) Malai Pedas are specially close to my heart. My sister and I share lovely memories of these.
This recipe was a successful trial to recreate the taste and texture of those soft, sweet, memories. If you like Malai Pedas, you should try these soon.
To make around 12 Malai Pedas
Boil 1 liter (5 cups) milk in a non stick pan stirring continuously.
Here is my Robot stir (a battery operated device) to stir milk for me :)
When all the moisture from milk evaporates, the solid remains which is smooth in texture. Since these malai pedas have a granular texture, it is important for milk to curdle slightly. This curdling can take place by adding a tiny bit of acid to the boiling milk.
Citric acid, Alum, or Cream of Tartar can be used to help form granular mawa.
In this recipe, I used 1/8 tsp. alum and 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar (tartaric acid) after the first boil.
(You could use 1/8 tsp. citric acid mixed with 2 tbsp. water adding little at a time.)
Alum is a white rock or powder used in purifying water or in pickles. A very tiny bit of alum can be consumed. Please keep this away from reach of children.
Alum can be easily available at any India Grocery store as Fitkari. Alum powder is also available at Walmart in the spice aisle.
Cream of Tarttar is found easily in any American grocery store n a spice aisle.
As water evaporates, you will see these granular milk solids remaining. Stir continuously.
Add few strands of saffron for color and flavor.
Stir till water completely evaporates. Remove from heat.
Add a tsp. of cardamom powder.
Mix well and let the mixture cool almost completely.
Use 1/2 cup powdered sugar. I like to use this organic powdered sugar better than confectionery sugar. Confectionery sugar contains cornstarch which is not permitted during Hindu fasts. This sugar does not contain cornstarch, rather has tapioca starch :) I was indeed so happy to see this.
(You could also powder regular sugar in your grinder to form a powder.)
Mix 1/2 cup sugar into almost cool mawa mixture. If your Mawa is warm, sugar might start to dissolve and would melt your mixture. Be patient.
Grease you palm with some ghee. Divide the mixture into 12 parts and roll them lightly into small balls.
Garnish with chopped almonds and pistachios. Serve!
Celebrate with this Delicious, Soft, Sweet!