Wishing you all a bright, joyous and colourful HOLI !!!
Holi and Diwali are the two most beautiful & unique festivals of India, one being the festival of colours and the other celebration of lights.
For the Indians, Holi calls for rioting with splash of colours, dry and wet, along with experiencing a gastronomic extravaganza savouring refreshing sweet drinks, delectable sweetmeats, snacks and savouries, vegetarian or non-vegetarian starters and mini-meals alike, to keep them going throughout the day, energizing & enlivening the spirit of colourful holi and the lazy evenings.
Holi is celebrated in the spring season, which is again the most colourful season in India with its’ bright sunshine, soothing weather and colourful flowers. Various home made sweets and foods are hugely popular in the Holi platter like the gujiya, thandai, malpua etc. Gujiyas are almost a symbolic sweet of this festival of colours especially in northern India where it is customary to prepare this sweetmeat during the festival. However, you can make & have anything or everything that you would like to or that is easy to have, filling as well as tasty, soothing your hunger and giving you a gastronomic pleasure while you’re busy playing with colours or greeting people. Since, traditional Indian home made sweets are extremely popular in this festival, hence I’ve attempted to make this popular Bengali sweet, Lobongolotika or Lobongo (Bengali) or Loung (Assamese), which is befitting for this festival, interesting and tasty and the best part of it like few of its’ other counterparts is that you can prepare it in advance & store for 3-4 days or more, keeping you relaxed during the celebration when you are busy entertaining your guests soaked in the pleasure of Holi.
Lobongo tastes great having a hard sugary covering that encloses a filling of khoya/mawa or sweetened coconut usually. However there are no limits or boundaries to your imagination. So, try this out with your own filling giving a boost to your foody fantasies and my recipe for lobongo is here to get along with your fancies….make some and have fun.
For the coat :
- Refined flour or maida : 2 cups
- Refined oil : 6 tbsp
- Clove (or Loung)
- Khoya or thickened solidified milk : 100 g
- Grated coconut: 1/2 cup
- Grated Carrots: 1/2 cup
- Green Peas( boiled and mashed): 1/2 cup
- Sugar: As per your taste.
- Cardamom powder: 1 tsp
- Rose water : 1-2 tsp
- Ghee – 1 tsp
For sugar syrup :
- Sugar : 3 tbsp
- Water: 1 cup
- Take the flour add refined oil and knead well using water into a soft dough. Divide the dough into small balls and keep aside.
- Take the khoya/mawa in a pan with little water on a low flame. Add sugar, stir and mix so that the khoya blends well with sugar, add cardamom powder and mix. Keep stirring until it leaves the sides of pan, switch off the flame and keep the mixture aside.
- Heat little ghee in pan over low flame, add grated carrots and saute the mixture. Add sugar and mix well. Keep stirring until the sugar blends completely. Sprinkle rose water, mix and take it down from the flame and keep aside separately. You may also use already prepared carrot halwa for filling, if you have it in store.
- For filling of green peas, heat little ghee in a pan, add the boiled & mashed peas and saute the mixture over low flame for 1 minute or so. Add little amount of the khoya/mawa mixture prepared in step 2 and mix well. Now add sugar as per your requirement and stir the mixture until it starts leaving the sides of the pan. Sprinkle rose water, mix and remove from the flame.
- For coconut filling, take sugar with little water in a pan just to melt it over a low flame. Add grated coconut and stir to mix. Keep stirring the mixture until the coconut blends well with the sugar and becomes sticky. Add cardamom powder & mix. Remove from the flame and keep aside.
- Now you have your four mixtures (khoya, carrot, peas & coconut) ready for the filling.
- Take the dough balls, roll them into small chapatis. Put the mixtures, one by one in the form of small roundels over the chapati at the center. Now fold it from two sides to give it a flat, elongated shape.Turn it over and again fold the extended sides to form a square parcel. Put a clove stick on the top & press gently to seal the parcel. Make as many parcels you need, like this and keep them aside for frying. (Note: You may refer to the slideshow given below for folding of the parcels)
- Heat oil in a pan and deep fry your parcels till they turn golden brown. Drain off the oil from the parcels and put them over a paper towel to soak all excess oil.
- For sugar coating, heat water and sugar to make a thick sugary syrup.
- Now drop the parcels into the syrup & coat them with it completely. Remove from the flame and keep them on a plate for some time for air drying so that the sugar coat hardens.
- Serve them fresh or dry & store them for serving afterwards along with a cup of refreshing tea.
Note : You may skip the step of sugar coating (i.e. from step 9 to 11), if you want to avoid the extra sugary taste. However, if you want to store it for long, this sugary coat will keep it fresh and crispy.