Guest blogger and photographer JP Vellotti thought for sure that prasad would be served at the end of the Diwali parade in Richmond Hill, Queens, NYC last weekend. At least, that was the promise that his wife Ramin made to him in exchange for his photo services at the event. But prasad was not served for a very simple reason -- Diwali this year is actually on Saturday, Oct. 17th and the parade was a week early for traffic control reasons. Luckily, Ramin promised she would make prasad for Diwali, and you can too by following Ramin's recipe.
The recipe is from Ramin Ganeshram's, "Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago," (Hippocrene Books, 2006). Although the first edition is sold out, a second edition with an updated and expanded recipe section is slated for February 2010.
When I was a child visiting Trinidad, the only way my father could persuade me to go to the many Hindu prayer meetings was with the promise of prasad, a sweet dessert that is given to guests at the end of a Hindu religious ceremony. The basic “pudding” is garnished with coconut, raisins, and nuts, which are collectively called panjaree. It’s generally accepted that panjaree is only for actual religious functions although plain prasad—called mohan bohg—can be served any time.
2 cups ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups farina
2 cups whole milk
3 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
2 pounds sugar
1 teaspoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
Raisins, grated fresh coconut, coarsely chopped almonds, and a few cooked chickpeas, for garnish
- Heat all but 2 teaspoons of the ghee in a large, deep frying pan. Add the raisins and fry over medium-low heat until they plump. Add the flour 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly, until it becomes light brown.