Chandrakala is another popular sweet/mithai which is prepared to celebrate festive occasions in India. Chandra means “Moon’ and Kala means “Art”. The finished pastry with the encased or sandwiched filling resembles the moon. You can even fold it into a half moon just like you would a gujiya, karanji or nevri. The edges of the stuffed pastry are folded artistically to make it look dainty and gorgeous hence the name Chandrakala or Artistic Moon!
Many feel Chandrakala and Lavang Latika are identical sweets with a different name but it is not so! There is a vast difference in the shape and flavor of the Chandrakala and Lavang Latika even though they are both soaked in sweet flavored syrup. The filling in the Chandrakala consists of mawa/khoya/unsweetned condensed milk where sugar and nuts are added whereas in Lavang Latika you can include rawa/suji/semolina and coconut gratings along with mawa and nuts. The Lavang Latika is folded like a small packet/envelope/purse and sealed with a clove so it is clove flavored but Chandrakala is moulded as a moon or half moon without the clove. Both are rich, intensely sweet, soft and melts in the mouth.
The mithai shop near my home has a vast array of traditional and modern variations of mithai. The trays of mithai are arranged beautifully and they are so tempting and inviting! Each time I visit the mithai shop, the sweets beckon me to taste them each of them vying for special attention. It is so very difficult to keep pace with the artistic and experienced hands of the halwai. Every mithai is created with love, patience and much effort. It is too much for the eyes to absorb the assorted shapes, sizes and gorgeous colors of the sweets/mishti which is later on packed neatly in decorated boxes especially during festive occasions. It is here that I get inspired and motivated to try out the wonderful, aromatic Indian sweets. There are a few times when I am lucky enough to get a peek into the pre-preparation of mithai by the halwai and his assistants which helps me when I make mithai in my own home.
The Lavang Latika and Chandrakala was looking so pretty in the display counter of the mithai shop not to forget the amazing fine taste and texture and so this Diwali I thought it apt to post these two irresistible mithais which are so simple, easy and delectable!
Yesterday it was Lavang Latika and today Chandrakala rules!
Dear visitors, wish you all a sweet and safe Diwali! 😀
For the Covering Pastry:
- 200 gms. Maida/All Purpose Flour
- A pinch – Salt
- 25 gms. Ghee
- Water as required to knead
- For Deep Frying – Ghee or Oil
For the Filling:
- 150 gms. Mawa/Khoya
- 75 gms. Castor Sugar or to taste
- ½ tsp. fresh Green Cardamom pwd.
- 2 tbsps. slivered mixed unsalted Nuts (Almonds, Pistachios)
For the Sweet Syrup:
- 250 gms. Sugar
- ¼ litre Water
- A few strands – Saffron/Kesar
- A few drops of Kewra Essence or a tablespoon of Rose Water
- Slivered Almonds & Pistachios
- Edible Silver Leaf/Foil/Vark
- Edible Yellow or Orange food color (optional)
For the Covering:
Sieve flour and salt together in a sufficiently large bowl. Rub in ghee and add enough water to knead to a firm dough. Cover with a wet cloth and set aside for about 20 minutes.
For the Filling:
Roast mawa/khoya preferably in a non-stick pan with castor sugar for 3-4 minutes. Take it off the heat and stir in slivered nuts and cardamom powder. Set aside to cool completely.
For the Syrup:
Bring sugar and water to a boil to obtain a syrup of one thread consistency. Add saffron, kewra essence or rose water. Stir to combine well. Set aside.
Assembling & Deep Frying the Chandrakalas:
Divide the dough into 20 equal parts or roll out chapattis and use round cookie cutters or round steel tiffin covers to cut out uniform round discs/puris.
Place one heaped teaspoon or tablespoon depending on the size of your rolled dough disc in the centre of the disc.
Wet the edges of the disc and cover with another disc.
Seal firmly so that the filling is intact and sandwiched like a dome in the center.
Give a pretty design to the edges by rolling the edges like a rope as you would to a momo/gujiya/karanji/nevri. You may even use a fork or spoon to form a beautiful design.
Utilize all the dough and filling to prepare Chandrakalas.
Keep them covered with a wet cloth until frying time.
Deep fry the Chandrakalas in ghee or oil on medium heat until crisp and golden.
Drain completely and then gently place them on a tray lined with absorbent tissue.
Very lightly pierce the top with just one prick with a toothpick or sharp point of a knitting needle.
Immerse the Chandrakalas in the warm syrup to soak and coat them completely.
Remove them from the sugar syrup with a slotted spoon and then transfer them on to a plate after about 2-3 minutes.
When cool, serve decorated with silver leaf/vark, color (if using) and garnished with nuts.