These beautiful little pedas (Guyanese know this as peera) always made an appearance in our home during Hindu holidays and religious prayer functions (jhandis), but they are so delicious that they can be served at any time. I like to think of them as little round pieces of smooth fudge. Mom always made two types of peeras, milk powder and a plain milk fudge peera whenever we had religious prayers, but on Hindu holidays, she would only make this chewy, lick-your-teeth good, milk powder version. Mainly because they were quick to make and we were always pressed for time. We made a batch of these for Diwali last year and I received many requests for this recipe. The one in this photo is made with ricotta cheese, but the recipe I'm sharing today does not contain ricotta, only milk powder and condensed milk as main ingredients.
Pedas, and many Indian sweets are traditionally made with khoya as the main base. Khoya, is made by simmering whole milk for a few hours until it has reduced into solids. When the solids are sweetened and/or added to recipes, the khoya lends a rich texture and taste to the dish. As you can imagine, making khoya from scratch lengthens the peda making process to extremes, so many choose to buy this premade or use substitutes like ricotta cheese or milk powder. Although I prefer the taste of these sweets with khoya, after making it once, we never attempted again because of the time it took. I have two little kids, can you imagine me keeping an eye on all three of them- the kids and the khoya?! Milk powder it is.
For this particular recipe, I prefer using full fat (whole milk) milk powder. I've found using the non fat milk powder yields a stiffer and dried peda, but you may feel differently. I used the KLIM brand for this recipe.
For the design, all I used was a little daisy cookie cutter and turned it in different directions. Use whatever tiny cookie cutter you have on hand. I also rubbed a little butter on the cookie cutter to help it not stick to the pedas. My grandmother is headed back to India in a couple of weeks. I've asked her to bring me a peda stamp. I'll show it to you on instagram stories once I receive it!
- Ghee or coconut oil can be used in place of unsalted butter. I prefer using unsalted butter because it has a neutral flavor.
- I've found using whole milk, milk powder yields a softer texture.
- Once adding the milk powder to the condensed milk/butter mixture, everything comes together rather quickly within 3-4 minutes so don't walk away from the stove.
- If mixture feels too sticky once removed from the stove, add a few tablespoons of milk powder.
- When rolling each peda, I've found buttering my hands in between rolling helps keep pedas smooth and from sticking to my skin. Rolling while the mixture is still very warm also helps to prevent cracks.
- The mixture will feel very soft when it comes off of the stove, but once it cools, it will solidify more. These turn out slightly chewy but not overly hard after rolling and setting.
- Feel free to play around with the ingredients. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla for extra flavor. Crushed almonds or pistachios in the mixture would taste fantastic also.
My little 2 year old son colored his hands in red marker (yay!) then made his way into my photo shoot. It made for a cute photo! Happy Holi, everyone!
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter or ghee
- 1 14oz tin condensed milk
- ¼ tsp almond extract (optional)
- 2 ¼ cup milk powder (whole milk)
- ⅛ tsp ground cardamom
- Pistachio or almonds for garnish
- 1 tsp melted unsalted butter for rolling pedas
- Oiled plate for pedas
- Heat a heavy bottomed pot on medium-low heat. Add butter and once melted, pour in condensed milk and almond extract, if using. Stir until combined.
- Add milk powder in two parts. Add half and stir to incorporate. Add cardamom and remaining half milk powder.
- Mixture will come together within a few minutes, stir until it feels slightly stiff. Let mixture cool a a minute or two before rolling.
- Rub some oil or melted butter on a plate for placing pedas after rolling. This will keep pedas from sticking.
- Once mixture has cooled, rub some melted butter on both palms. Use a small spoon to scoop about 1 tbsp peda mixture. Roll into a ball and slightly flatten with both palms. Place on plate.
- Continue to roll pedas, buttering hands as you go. Work quickly before mixture cools.
- Garnish each peda with pistachio nuts or almonds.
- Let pedas cool a few hours to firm up.