Sweets with a vegetable! This idea sounds some strange on general ground. Really both form a rare combination. But the Food World is mysteriously marvelous, filled with endless experiments, endless unpredictable blends of ingredients resulting in endless new innovative delicacies of rare combinations one after other.
Parval sweets are neither new nor my experiment but just a first trial of mine with a rare combination of vegetable and sweets. Parwal Sweets are famous Mithai or sweet in Banarasi Food or Food of Banaras/Varanasi (new name of Banaras). Varanasi is a holy city of U.P., famous for its Ganges Ghats and also called the land of lord Shiva. I have had these sweets long long ago say in my teenage days at my Aunty’s (Mami) home who belongs to the city. She had got some portion of the brought-in sweets right from there, left in the refrigerator coincidently when I reached her place. Yeah the exceptionally delicious bites of Parwal sweets were rightfully mine. If you don’t go by its shape or color and then taste it blindly, you can’t predict that it is made of pointed gourds, a vegetable. A sugary juicy mushy coating of pointed gourd holding filling of sweet-nutty mawa! Unfortunately ever since then I could not get any chance to have them; neither sweets came on own right from there to get included in my dessert platter, neither I bothered myself to go there and buy them 🙂 . I have yet not found these sweets at any sweet mart over my place. The taste buds got acquainted with the flavor long ago but the flavor is still fresh lingering over them. Assuming the taste I undergo with the making process The Parwal Mithai, a Banarasiya Sweet. Banarasiya, haye banarasiya….oye oye oye banarasiyaaa! Heard the song from Bollywood flick, Raanjhanaa? The flick featuring Dhanush; the Kolaveri Di guy, the famous Tollywood actor in lead did amazing acting in a Hindi Flick contrary to his forte Tamil. No…. there is no significance of this sweet in the flick 🙂 but while making these sweets I was humming the lyrics :). The sweetness of humming 😉 enhanced the sweetness and flavor of Sweets. Believe me, sing while cooking your dishes, be it sweet or spicy; dishes will turn more flavorful. Don’t worry your sweetness of voice won’t make your spicy dishes sweet 😉 🙂
So we were at the Parwal Sweet; its Preparation is very easy and simple just it is a bit time consuming. The time consumption can be reduced to a minimum of 2 hr if you chose right variety of pointed gourds or Parwal and use ready made Mawa/khoya. By right variety I mean fresh, young and soft. They will absorb sweet flavors earlier than tough ones and sweets will be ready very timely. What lot of pointed gourd I could find was having mixed variety; among which I chose possibly young and fresh pointed gourds. As first trial I could not prepare them like those of Halwai. But they were pretty good and delicious. Let’s check out the method that turns pointed gourd in sweets very simply-
Time-Taken- For Stuffing- 55 min- 1 hr
Rest of the Method- 20 min + 1-2 hr (minimum) or 12 hrs
Parwals (pointed gourds) – 8 (young fresh, soft)
Milk- 500 ml or Khoya or Mawa- 125g
Cashew nuts- 7 (chopped)
Sugar- 1 cup + 3 tbsp (ground)
Water- 1¼ cups +for boiling
Baking Soda- 1 pinch
Cardamom Powder- 1tsp
Kewra jal/ Rose water- 1tsp
Steps to follow
- Wash and scrape all pointed gourds well.
- Mark a slit vertically in the middle which can enable scooping well. Scoop out all the seeds and flesh part from all gourds.
- Take enough water in a deep pan for boiling with a pinch of soda. There in which add hollowed pointed gourds and leave it to boil. When boil comes, leave it to simmer on high for few more minutes (5-6min) until they turn a bit tender.
- Strain on a colander and let the excess water drain away.
- Meanwhile work on sugar syrup. Take a deep pan on flame, put in 1cup of sugar in 1¼ cups of water and dissolve it.
- When sugar gets dissolved add drained pointed gourds and let them simmer until they become mushy, squashy soft and you see a change in their color to a lighter shade.
- Stop simmering of syrup, turn off flame, add in kewra jal and let them kept soaked in syrup for minimum of 1-2 hrs or more, max to 12 hrs (if possible or if your gourds are not fresh and young and are a bit tough due to ageing. The longer you keep; they will come out more flavorsome). Keep the pan tilted (because the mentioned syrup qty can properly soak all gourds around uniformly)
- Meanwhile work on stuffing. Like you prepare mawa/khoya, in similar way you have to go ahead. Place a heavy bottomed deep pan on flame, add in milk, leave it to boil, reduce flame to medium and start reducing milk stirring it at frequent intervals until you get wholly dry granular thick reduced milk 1/4th of the initially measured milk.
- Add ground sugar and all dry fruits/nuts i.e. cashew nuts and almonds along with cardamom powder and mix well. Stuffing of mawa is ready.
- Now when pointed gourds have gone soaked well. Take them out on a plate to drain out excess sugar syrup.
- Take one pointed gourd and fill possible qty of stuffing inside it. In similar way do for all other pointed gourds.
- Plate up garnished with nuts or silver garnish.
Enjoy deliciously sweet Parwal-Mithai!