Sunday, November 8, 2015

Date and Nut Balls

My parents are not traditional. This is a shocker in a country like India. As a result I grew up quite oblivious to the varied customs, rituals and festivities that colour the Hindu calendar. The only exception was Diwali. Every year the house would be lit up with pretty fairly lights and traditional clay diyas would make also make an appearance. The highlight undoubtedly were the array of goodies mum would conjure. A week prior to Diwali she would painstakingly spend hours making sweets and savouries. These included mathri, chakli, namkeen paras, gujiyas and gulab jamuns. She would then decorate a plate with these goodies, add a pretty diya or candle and gift one to each of our neighbours.
When I got married, this was the only tradition I brought with me. Though store bought sweets and attractive edible hampers are now the norm, I still prefer making atleast one sweet and savoury at home. They may not be the traditional ones, but they are made with just as much love.
This year though, I wanted to combine the traditional and the healthy. With a little munchkin added to our crazy bunch, I had to ensure the sweets were not just delicious but also healthy. No more empty calories! When I came across Sonal Chowdhury's Bliss Ball in Good Housekeeping, I knew I had found just the thing. I have tweaked and adapted the recipe a little but these are still nutritious nuggets from heaven! Utterly blissful!!

Dates                                1 cup
Broken Cashews              1 cup
Almond powder               2 tablespoons
Dessicated Coconut         1/2 cup

Soak the dates in hot water for 15 minutes. Run the cashews in the mixie for a coarse powder. De-seed the dates and drain the water. Mix the cashews and dates and run them in the mixie together till they form a sticky paste. Turn into a bowl and mix in the almond powder. With wet palms, form into small balls. Roll the balls in dessicated coconut. Store in the refrigerator and serve with a joyous cheer of Happy Diwali!!

Note: The original recipe called for 2 tbsp of cocoa powder but i substituted that with almonds for a kid friendly treat. However, you may choose the chocolate for a twist on taste!