Peda has been a childhood favourite of many including mine. Peda like its cousin ladoo is made up of very few ingredients. While looking up on the internet, Peda originated from Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. Today we all know it as Mathura Peda. From there it travelled to Karnataka, and got it updated version of the Dharwad Peda. Like any other dish in India, each state has its own style of peda.
The basis of peda is pretty simple, it is made up of mawa/khoa/khoya which again originates from Uttar Pradesh. Mawa is dried whole milk, with the consistency of ricotta or home-made paneer. It is that one ingredient which is amply used in Indian sweets, whether it is peda, gulab jamun, or barfi. If we see the difference between milk powder and mawa, then one thing that has to be checked is whether the milk powder was made from whole milk or non-fat milk. The main component of Mawa is the fat content in it, as it would be of any cheese. So make sure you check the fat content of the powder. You can also buy mawa at any local diary. As mawa is the main ingredient in making the peda. I would ideally suggest you to make it at home.The process of making peda is not complicated, it is just time consuming. I always like to control the quality of the ingredients in a dish, because quality is directly related to the taste. You use lower quality products, you will not the optimum taste that needs to come from the dish.
Second is the sweetener. There are two major sweeteners in India, sugar and jaggery. Although sugar is what is traditionally used in the recipe. I have used jaggery to give it that extra nutty caramel taste. The third is spices. Cardamom is the most commonly used spice, which I have used in the recipe. But you can also add saffron or a little nutmeg to enhance the taste.
- 1 litre whole milk
- 60 grams of powdered jaggery
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cardamon powder
- In a Kadhai or deep cooking pot, reduce the milk while constantly stirring it, shifting between high to medium heat. The milk needs to be reduced till its 1/4 the size, grainy and dehydrated.
- Reduce the heat to medium – low. Add cardamon powder and jaggery.
- The jaggery when melted will leave moisture, so cook it till the moisture evaporates.
- The ideal texture you are looking at is grainy, almost like crumbled paneer. The colour would be a light brown. It should be dry.
- Take it out from the heat. Let it cool down, the sugars will start to crystallise and it will become more drier, which is what we want.
- Knead the dough for a bit to make it smooth. I prefer the grainy texture as it adds a little crunch element.
- Roll it into a log. Cut 1/2 inch size pieces. Roll them into ladoos. Lightly press within your palm, to flatten it. Press your thumb in the centre to give it that dent.
- I didn’t add any nuts but you can add them while you are kneading or when press them while shaping.