OMG, summer is over and the temperature has gone down to the 40’s, just how time has passed, I hate to think of it. But the cheerful part is, the season of festivals is here and it’s time for some of our Sindhi specialties. Often as kids we watched our Mom prepare some wonderful treats during Diwali. We would distribute them to our relatives and friends and still have a good amount of leftovers, which we would then enjoy for ourselves. Diwali being only few weeks away I thought I should put up some of these recipes for the special, festive season.
Mohanthal, Pakwan, Chiwro (Chiwda), Balu Shahi, Mathris, Chikki, Laaee and Varo are some of our authentic Sindhi sweets that would be and are still prepared in most Sindhi homes. Of course we would sometime prepare Singhar Ji Mithai(Sev Burfi), Halwa(Karachi Style), Petho(White Pumpkin) Kaju Ji Mithai which are time consuming and a bit tedious to make. But most of the time these (tedious ones) we bought from our nearby Sindhi Mithai shops as they were/are readily available. The aroma would always tempt us to eat them while the sweets and savories were being prepared. I remember we used to eat while they were warm and I was the one who got into trouble most of the time, being the youngest.
Chikki is a sweet not only popular among Sindhis but all across India. When we say chikki, peanuts and jaggery, comes to our mind. Then we have our all time favorite laaee which is made of sugar and different nuts. I personally like the one with Kurmura (Mamra – Puffed Rice) and another one that I remember is the one made with Sev. The last one is Varo which is a favorite at my home especially for my hubby. Whether it is Diwali or not he loves to eat a piece every day after dinner.
Varo is basically a thick chikki made of different nuts, poppy seeds and cardamoms all of which are coated with caramelized sugar and rolled, whilst hot, quickly on the back of a plate. Sounds simple and yes it is… So let us get going to making our famous Sindhi Varo.
· 1 Cup Mixed Nuts(Almonds, Pistachios, Cashew nuts)
· 2 Tbsp Sliced Dry Coconut(optional) (I have not used it in this recipe)
· 2 Tbsp Khus Khus (Poppy Seeds)
· 15 Seeds of Cardamoms
· 1 Cup Sugar
· 1Tbsp Ghee
· Slice all mixed nuts. Powder the Cardamom seeds.
· In a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee and sugar. On low heat melt the sugar.
· When the sugar is melted and caramelized to a light brown color add the sliced mixed nuts, Khus Khus, and powdered cardamoms. Mix till nuts are coated well with the caramelized sugar.
· Pour this mixture onto the back of a thali or on a rolling board.
· Using the back end (flat side) of a katori, flatten mixture like a thick chapatti. You can use a rolling pin to roll the mixture. This has to be done very quickly as the mixture begins to harden as soon as it is removed from heat.
· Leave the rolled Varo to set for some time.
· Break into pieces and store in air tight containers.
· Enjoy this crunchy Varo any time any season.
Keep it simple, keep it Sindhi.