Monday, October 29, 2018

Agra Petha Recipe | Ash Gourd Candy | Kumbalanga Sweet | Diwali Special Recipe

The exciting part of being a food blogger is to learn new recipes based on upcoming festivals. This year too I have planned new recipes and already started trying some, which I will be posting in the coming days. Today's recipe is from the drafts that I tried during the last Diwali and missed to post it here.  I am very much fond of this sweet during my childhood and we call it Kumbalanga (Ash gourd) Sweet. We buy this from Tirunelveli Arasan Bakery or Nagercoil Agarwal sweets. Once, my mama tried this Agra petha and shared a photo on WhatsApp, I was super tempted to try that immediately. However, finding Limestone/Sunnambu in Sydney is really hard and I never thought that I could find. I started looking for it in all the Indian shops around me and luckily I found it in a shop. When I tried the first time, it was a big disaster. I didn't lose hope and again tried it the next day. It came out really well and I am here with the recipe. Check out my already existing Diwali Sweets/Snacks from the blog. Let's see the preparation: 
Ingredients:
Ash gourd/Winter melon/White Pumpkin - 500 gms
Limestone(chuna/sunnambu) - 1 tsp
For the Sugar Syrup: 
Sugar - 1.5 Cups 
Water - 1/4 Cup 
Cardamom / Saffron - as required for flavouring
Method:
1. Peel the outer skin of the pumpkin and remove the middle soft fleshy portion with seeds. 
2. Now, cube the pumpkin and prick all the sides of the pumpkin with a fork.
3. Dissolve the chuna/sunnambu in water and soak the ash gourd pieces. Allow it to soak for 24 hours and make sure to stir it once in a while. (I stirred it every 3 hours and left it overnight without stirring) . 
4. After 24 hours, the pumpkin pieces becomes hard and now wash it thoroughly in running cold water. Clean it really well such that no traces of limestone is there in the pieces. Boil 4 cups of water and add the pumpkin pieces. Cook it for 10 to 12 minutes and drain it from the water. Keep it aside.
5. Add the sugar, cardamom/saffron and 1/4 cup water. Stir it well until the sugar dissolves and then allow it to boil. Boil the sugar syrup until it reaches one string consistency or honey-like consistency. Check out my Ladoo recipe to know about the one string consistency in detail.
6. At this stage, add the boiled pumpkin pieces and simmer for another 7 to 10 minutes until the pieces are coated well with sugar syrup.  The sugar syrup would have reached more than 2 string consistency by now. Switch off the flame and transfer the pieces to the wire mesh to cool completely.
After cooling, the outer portion becomes hard while the inner portion is soft and juicy. Serve the yummy Agra Petha.

Points to remember:
  • The limestone makes the ash gourd pieces hard and it is one of the main steps in making this petha.
  • Separate the pieces after taking out of the sugar syrup and then allow it to cool else the pieces will stick to each other. 
  • Don't overcook the pumpkin pieces. It will turn yellow if overcooked.
Warm Regards,
Happy's Cook - Divya

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