Healthy, sugar-free Diwali recipes for this festive season

Published: Oct 16, 2019, 15:04 IST | mid-day online correspondent | Mumbai

Low-calorie sweeteners provide sweetness with minimal calories, benefit glucose levels and are found to be effective in weight management

Pal Khova
Pal Khova

The festive season is here and just one teaspoon of sugar in your diet can result in a gain of one kg of body fat in a year, not to mention the other metabolic ill-effects. Sugar is everywhere and not many can really know how much excess we consume. Thanks to the fact that sweets are positively entrenched in our culture as happy celebration foods, they can never be wished away.

Sugar in excess can lead to coronary heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), lowered immunity, impaired brain function and increased risk to cancer. Therefore, resorting to sugar substitutes or low-calorie sweeteners can help maintain a healthy lifestyle without having to make any drastic compromises on taste. Low-calorie sweeteners provide sweetness with minimal calories, benefit glucose levels and are found to be effective in weight management.

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor says, "Correct knowledge is the key to correct choices. Replacing most of the high-calorie food products is difficult. However, sugar which adds free calories to the diet can be replaced easily with low-calorie sweeteners. People often say that it doesn't taste the same and I agree with them. It won't taste 100 per cent same, however, if one tries it for 2-3 weeks then they will get habituated to the taste. If compromising on 10 per cent of taste can help you cut down on your total calorie intake, it is a deal worth taking."

Pal Khova

Ingredients:
2 litres milk
2 tablespoons thick yoghurt
20 Sugar-Free Natura Sweet Drops
½ cup fresh cream
½ teaspoon cardamom powder

Preparation:

  • Boil milk in a non-stick pan. Add yoghurt and mix well. When the milk starts to curdle, add
  • Sugar-Free Natura Sweet Drops, cream and stir continuously till the mixture thickens.
  • Add cardamom powder and mix well. Remove from heat, transfer into a bowl and cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer in individual serving bowls and serve immediately.

Chana and Moong Payasam

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons split Bengal gram (chana dal), soaked
2 tablespoons split skinless green gram (dhuli moong dal), soaked
4 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons ghee
15-20 cashew nuts
1½ cups milk
½ cup scraped coconut
2 tablespoons zero-calorie sweetener

Preparation:

  • Boil milk in a non-stick pan. Add yoghurt and mix well. When the milk starts to curdle, add zero-calorie sweetener, cream and stir continuously till the mixture thickens.
  • Add cardamom powder and mix well. Remove from heat, transfer into a bowl and cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer in individual serving bowls and serve immediately.
Gujiya

Gujiya

Ingredients:
For the filling:
500 gms of Khoya/mawa
6 tablespoons of zero-calorie sweetener
3 ¼ tsp of desiccated coconut
15 Cashew nuts (blanched and chopped)
15 Almonds (blanched and chopped)
20 Raisins
½ Green cardamom or nutmeg powder

For the outer covering:
4 cups of refined flour (maida)
2. ½ Salt
5 tbsps Ghee

Preparation:

  • Mash khoya and roast it in a deep pan on medium heat till pink. Take off the heat and let it cool.
  • Add all the other filling ingredients along with zero-calorie sweetener to the khoya and keep aside.
  • To prepare the covering, sieve flour and salt and rub in five tablespoons of ghee. Add enough water and knead into a firm dough. Cover it with a moist cloth and keep aside for fifteen minutes.
  • Divide the dough into small balls and roll each ball into a small puri of four inches diameter.
  • Spread a puri on a greased gujiya mould and fill a tablespoon of the filling mixture on one side.
  • Moisten the edges of the puri and fold one side of the mould over the other. Press the edges and remove the excess dough and reuse.
  • Prepare all the gujiyas and spread on a damp cloth.
  • Heat sufficient ghee in a deep pan and deep-fry the gujiyas, in batches on medium heat, till golden brown.
  • Drain onto an absorbent paper. Cool and store in an airtight tight tin.
Gajar ka Halwa

Gajar Ka Halwa

Ingredients:
8-10 medium carrots, grated
3 tablespoons pure ghee
2 cups skimmed milk
¼ teaspoon green cardamom powder
10-15 sultanas
⅓ cup zero-calorie sweetener
¼ cup grated khoya
10-12 pistachios, blanched, peeled and sliced

Preparation:

  • Heat the pure ghee in a non-stick kadhai. Add the grated carrots and sauté for about five mins
  • Add the skimmed milk and cook.
  • Add the green cardamom powder, sultanas, zero-calorie sweetener and mix. Cook for about ten to fifteen minutes.
  • Add the khoya and mix. Cook till the mixture is almost dry. Garnish with pistachios.
  • Serve hot or cold.

Mawa Anjeer Barfi

Ingredients:
2 cups + 1 tablespoon (375 grams)
khoya/mawa
7-8 dried figs, chopped
1/6 cup zero-calorie sweetener
1 teaspoon liquid glucose
5-6 almonds, chopped
5-6 cashew nuts, chopped

Preparation:

  • Cook the khoya in a large non-stick kadhai on low heat, stirring continuously, till the khoya starts to melt. Add the zero-calorie sweetener and mix till well blended.
  • Add the liquid glucose and continue to cook, stirring continuously, for thirteen minutes, or till the mixture thickens and begins to leave the sides of the kadhai.
  • Add the almonds, cashew nuts and dried figs, and mix well.
  • Transfer the mixture to a greased six-by-eight-inch aluminium tray and spread it evenly. Leave to cool to room temperature.
  • Cut into squares and serve.
German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
100 gms milk chocolate, chopped
4 eggs
1½ cups zero-calorie sweetener
2 cups refined flour (maida)
A pinch of salt
1 tsp soda bicarbonate
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup chopped almonds
1 cup oil
¼ tsp citric acid

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Boil 1 cup water in a deep non-stick pan and add chocolate. Mix well and switch off the heat. Set aside to cool.
  • Break eggs into a bowl and beat well with an electric beater till light and frothy.
  • Add zero-calorie sweetener and beat again till well mixed.
  • Sift together refined flour, salt and baking soda into the bowl. Mix well, add chocolate and mix again. Add buttermilk and mix again.
  • Add walnuts and oil and mix again. Add citric acid and mix.
  • Pour into a baking dish, place it in the preheated oven and bake for thirty-forty minutes.
  • Remove from oven, cool, slice and serve.

Kesar Pista Phirni

Ingredients:
A few saffron threads
10-12 pistachios, blanched, peeled and sliced
5 cups (1 litre) skimmed milk
3 tablespoons coarse rice flour
¾ teaspoon green cardamom powder
3 tablespoons zero-calorie sweetener

Preparation:

  • Bring the milk to a boil in a deep non-stick pan. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring continuously, till it reduces by half.
  • Add the rice flour, mixed with a little water, and stir well to prevent lumps from forming.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • When it starts to thicken, lower the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring continuously. Add the cardamom powder and saffron, and mix well.
  • When the mixture attains thick custard-like consistency, remove from heat and stir in the zero-calorie sweetener.
  • Pour the mixture into four individual earthenware bowls while still warm. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
  • Serve chilled.
Kesar Firni

Sugar-Free Kesar Phirni

Ingredients:
2 cups Skimmed milk
3 tablespoons Rice, soaked
Saffron (a few strands)
3-4 Pistachios
3 tsp zero-calorie sweetener
¼ teaspoon Green cardamom powder

Preparation:

  • Boil milk and set aside. Drain and grind the rice coarsely.
  • Soak saffron in one tablespoon of milk. Blanch pistachios, peel and cut into slivers.
  • Add rice paste to the milk and cook stirring continuously so that there are no lumps.
  • Add zero-calorie sweetener and mix. Add green cardamom powder, saffron milk and mix. When the mixture starts thickening take it off the heat.
  • Pour into soaked kasoras and keep them in the refrigerator.
  • Served chilled.

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