Come Diwali, you will be inundated with pedas, barfis and laddus. I don’t know about you, but I get mithai-fatigue after a few days. That’s when the gifts like health bars, stuffed dates and roasted nuts are most welcome.
They are tasty, healthier and also luxurious.
So, I though how about a festive granola. It contains all the special ingredients we associate with Diwali - saffron, cardamom, almonds, pistachios and of course, sweetness. Except this granola is also vegan, gluten-free and made with all-natural honey.
Make a large batch, pour them into clean jars, pop into a festive bag or box and deliver. You can decide the quantities you wish to gift and make one or even half a batch.
The cost of the granola can also be adjusted to your budget. You can omit the saffron and reduce the amount of nuts per 1 kg of oats. My ratio is of nuts to oats generous but that's because I’m nuts about nuts. Charoli is a more economical substitute for almonds and cashews.
You can also use seeds like white sesame if you have a nut allergy.
The lucky recipient can eat this granola as a snack, a topping over yoghurt, rabdi, kulfi, fruit compote and as cereal with milk or a dairy substitute. I’ve even used it as a streusel over pie and on hot fudge sundaes.
This Diwali give the gift of health.
Recipe for Festive Granola
Ingredients (for approx 1.750 kg of granola)
1 kg flattened oats (like Kellogg's)
2.5 cups golden honey
600 ml vegetable oil (unflavoured) or melted ghee
2 tsp freshly ground green cardamon
1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed with a pestle
250 gm chopped Turkish apricots or golden raisins
1 tsp salt
Use one or all of the following but the total measure should be 200 grams.
If using white sesame a total weight of 25 grams per one kg oats is adequate. Be sure to check with your doctor if you have an allergy to chironji/charoli.
100 gm almonds pieces with skin on toasted
100 gm unsalted shelled pistas toasted
100 cashew pieces toasted
100 grams charoli
25 grams white sesame
1. Preheat oven to 350f. If you don’t have an oven use a large anodized wok or 2 large non-stick skillets.
2. You can divide the ingredients into 2-3 batches also and do them one at a time. This will make it easier to stir and you can use smaller cooking pots.
3. Combine the oats with the oil salt, saffron and cardamom in a mixing bowl until well incorporated.
4. Add the honey and mix throughly.
5. Ensure that all the oats are covered with oil and honey.
6. Spread over a large baking tray and bake in the middle
7. Rack until golden and toasty about 25-30 minutes.
8. After 15 minutes open oven door, use an oven proof spatula and scrape the granola, turning it over to ensure that all sides cook evenly.
9. If cooking on a stove top, divide between non-stick pans and roast over a slow flame. Stir regularly to prevent burning.
10. Remove from the oven or off the flame when done.
11. Stir the nuts into the hot granola.
The author began her career on the English stage and worked as a model and MTV veejay. Post marriage, she moved to the US and attended classes at The French Culinary Institute in New York and Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. The cookbook author now lives in New York and Mumbai, and documents her food stories on her website.