In honour of the Festival of Lights, we decided to sample some Diwali treats.
Young Post got a taste of Diwali thanks to junior reporter Joy Pamnani, who shared some of her sweets with us, as is customary.
Prices shown are for one 400g box. All are available at Chungking Mansions.
Kaju katli (HK$70)
Kaju katli - kaju means "cashew" in Hindi - looks like little blocks of white tiles. From the way it looks, I guessed that it is made from milk. I was interested to learn, though, that some recipes use very little milk and others use none at all. I like the sweet's texture - neither too hard nor too soft - but it is really, really sweet. I couldn't taste milk, or the cashews that were crushed to make it; all I can sense is sweetness. I heard that there is a sugar-free version of the sweet; this might be better for anyone sensitive to sugar.
Soan papdi (HK$32)
This sweet is made mostly from flour, gram flour and sugar. The strongest flavour, though, is cardamom - the smell hits you as soon as you open the box, and fills your mouth as you eat it. The big problem with this sweet is its flakiness - you need to lean your head back and try not to spill it all over the floor and yourself. It's pretty sweet, so you might want a cup of tea or coffee if you're eating more than a couple of mouthfuls.
Assorted chikki (HK$75)
These four assorted chikki are a delightful combination of traditional Indian sweets. They include treats made with nuts, peanuts, cardamom, dry fruits and rose petals. The hint of saffron lingers in your mouth. My favourites are the ones made of rose petals: not only do they taste good, but they look heavenly. I envy Indians having such a beautiful, colourful festival with interesting sweets such as these.
Moti choor ladoo (Boondi ladoo) (HK$48)
This favourite sweet of the elephant-headed deity Lord Ganesha looks very much like the deep-fried glutinous rice balls eaten during Lunar New Year, but tastes nothing like them. These are made from chickpea flour, sweetened and flavoured with chopped nuts and spices. You get the enticing scent of cardomom so the exotic flavours abound before you bite. Soft crumbs of flour blend well with the nuts but don't make for easy eating. You might need a spoon.
Pista barfi (HK$100)
As I slowly slide a piece into my month, I sense its starchy texture, and a strong flavour of pistachios. That's no surprise, as the "pista" in the name refers to these nuts. The vibrant colour is another clue. Barfi is made from cooking condensed milk and sugar until they become solid, so if you don't like sugar in your morning coffee, it's certainly not for you. Barfi is the Hindi word for "snow", so that explains why it's best served cold.