Nine day long Hindu festival of Navratri starts today. These melt in the mouth pedas made with earthly sweet potatoes can be offered as prasad as well as eaten if you are fasting. These are unexpectedly creamy and grain free.The beautiful color is natural from the yams and they are such a breeze to make.
The sweet potatoes are sautéed in ghee, which makes them so earthy and then patiently cooked in milk and mawa until they are caramelized and extra delicious. Peda is one of my favorite kind of sweet and I was so happy how this recipe came out.
Ingredients (Makes about 18 pedas)
- 2 whole sweet potatoes (yield 200 gms of pulp)
- 2-3 tbsp softened (not melted) ghee
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3 tbsp finely ground almonds
- 1/4 cup sugar (can go unto 1/3 cup )
- 50 gms fresh mawa or replace with 1/2 cup milk powder
- 10-12 saffron threads ground fine in a mortar pestle and infused in 1 tbsp warm milk
- Substitute sweet potatoes with any kind of yams you like.
- I found that pedas were perfectly sweet after adding just a quarter cup of sugar, however you can add more sugar if you wish.
- Add cardamom or rosewater in place of saffron.
- Add ghee slowly, I start with 2 tbsp and really, you can add upto 5 tablespoons of ghee, the potatoes will absorb it all. Since I was already using mawa and whole milk, I avoided.
Wash and scrub the sweet potatoes clean. Add them to a big pot and to the pot add 1.5 to 2 cups of water. Do not let the potatoes submerge in water completely. Let water start boiling, reduce heat to medium low and then cover tightly with a lid.Let the sweet potatoes cook for about 20-25 minutes.Check once or twice in between. Don’t let the sweet potatoes cook to very soft and pulpy, once they are fork tender, use tongs and take them out.Let cool down. Peel the skins once cooled enough to handle(you might need a knife, since these arent very soft) and then using medium size of a box grater, grate the potatoes. Avoid mashing them with fork, they will remain stringy and won’t come out good.
In a wide, 12 inch nonstick pan add the ghee. Once ghee melts, add the sweet potato pulp, milk and sugar. Using a wooden spoon or a silicon spatula start sautéing the sweet potatoes, continue to do so for about 10-12 minutes on low heat, until all the milk is absorbed and the moisture from the sugar is evaporated. Don’t completely dry out, but the mixture should not be a slurry. Add the almond powder and crumbled mawa (or milk powder) next along with saffron and continue to sauté on low heat.
After about 5-8 minutes you will notice that the mixture is thick and shiny and starts to clump around the spoon/spatula.If you try to fold it over itself, it does it smoothly. At this point, switch off the stove and transfer the peda mix to a plate.
Once cooled down a bit and is easy to handle, gently knead the mix for 2-3 minutes like you knead roti dough. Pinch little portions and roll between palms of make pedas. Makes about 18 pedas. Decorate as you wish.
Store in fridge for 3-4 days.