Devilishly delicious and remarkably satisfying, peda is a sweet dish originating from the soils of Uttar Pradesh, North India. These fudgy treats are melt in the mouth soft and their typical recipe includes khoya, cardamom, pistachio, saffron, and the ubiquitous element of all Indian mithais – sugar.
But I was in an adventurous mood so the saffron and pistachio went out of the window, and ushered in rose water and cocoa powder. And a handful of almond meal. The result was fudgy, nutty, totally yummy chocolate pedas.
I also dialed the sugar down a notch, preventing them from being overly sweet. Instead of rich and heavy khoya, I resorted to the lighter milk powder, turning the pedas utterly moreish and intensely chocolatey.
How to Make Chocolate Peda?
Most peda recipes that don’t use khoya ( dried evaporated milk solids)utilize condensed milk. I avoid it because of a few previous bad experiences that made my pedas wayyyyy chewier than anyone would have ever liked. That said, the beauty of cooking is that you pander to your preferences.
So for me, for now, its the milk powder route. And the chocolate pedas remain ridiculously easy to prepare, and they come together super-fast.
Begin by cooking milk powder, sugar, almond meal, and cocoa powder in ghee. Then stir in milk ( full-fat is the way to go in this recipe). Keep cooking the ingredients on low heat until everything starts to come together.
When you see the mixture pulling away from the walls of your pan, it’s done. From start to finish, the mixture is ready in 10 to 12 minutes. The cooking process is that quick. But your full attention is needed for those 10 minutes, this mixture can burn in a hot second.
Shaping the chocolate peda
Let the mixture cool, add the cardamom powder and rosewater. Then, with a gentle hand, knead it for 2-3 minutes. The kneading makes the peda mixture absolutely creamy-smooth and prevents cracks. But if you still end up with tiny fissures, don’t stress. You can cover them up with garnishing.
Traditional pedas are flat with a distinct indentation in the center made with the thumb. I let my quirky side out while making them (hence the chocolate). So, instead of the characteristic shape, I rolled them into even-sized balls.
The pedas only appear like ladoos, but where it matters (read: taste), they are one hundred percent pedas. You can, of course, shape them the conventional way.
Once you’ve formed the balls (or discs), roll them in almond meal. It covers any chinks on the surface and imparts the sweet treats with a lovely texture. For the final touch, sprinkle a handful of dried rose petals.
Variations of the peda recipe
Indian mithai has a proclivity for sweetness. I like my sweet dishes, where each flavor shines through and is not drowned out by the sugar. It’s why I added just slightly more than ¼ cup of powdered raw sugar, making perfectly balanced pedas.
But if you prefer a sweeter taste, up the sugar to ½ cup. Don’t go overboard because, remember, powdered milk has sugar in it too. You can easily substitute raw sugar with jaggery powder. Regular white sugar works too, as long as you grind it.
For those who feel the aromatic rose water takes a very strong upper hand, simply leave it out. In case you don’t have any almond meal around, switch it with desiccated coconut as I did for my coconut cardamom pedas.
I adore the intensity of chocolate gleaming through in each bite, but you can always reduce the amount of cocoa powder. To make vegan chocolate peda, use coconut oil and plant-based milk powder.
Serving the Easy Chocolate Peda
No-fuss, no stress, and no bother. Soft, chewy, and nutty, these chocolate pedas are such fun to make that you don’t need the festivities in the air as an excuse to whip them up. Although truth be told, the whiff of rosewater instantly brings Diwali cheer to the home.
You can serve them right after garnishing or store them in the fridge for a few days. Chances are they’ll disappear faster than you imagine. Mine did; because apparently, the kids have discovered a new favorite.
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Easy Chocolate Peda Recipe- Diwali Sweets
- 2 cups Milk powder
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Raw sugar, ground to a pwder You can also use powdered white sugar or jaggery powder
- 3/4 cup Almond meal I ground whole almonds in my coffee grinder
- 1.5 tbsp Cocoa powder
- 4 tbsp Ghee
- 1/2 cup Milk Full fat is the best here
- 1 tsp Rosewater
- 1 tsp Cardamom powder
Topping ( optional)
- 2-3 tbsp Almond meal
- Dried rose petals
- In a heavy bottom pan/ kadai, heat the ghee.
- Stir in the milk powder, sugar, cocoa powder, and almond meal. Keep the heat low. And stir in the milk.
- Cook, while stirring all the time. Once the mixture starts coming together, pulling away from the sides, take the pan off the heat. This takes about 6-8 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to another bowl. Let it cool a bit.
- When its cool enough for you to handle, add the cardamom powder and rosewater. Lightly knead the mixture, for 2-3 minutes, till its smooth.
- Form into even-sized balls and roll in almond meal. You can also flatten the balls slightly and make a dent in the center with your finger if you want a more traditional shaped peda.
- Garnish with dried rose petals and serve. Enjoy!