Diwali is here. The air is fragrant with the faint whiff of festivities. While I don’t go all out with the celebrations in a big way, I do enjoy bringing in the festival with little things that add cheer to life in my own sweet way. That brings me to my favorite topic – sweets! My sweet tooth works overtime this time of the year. I allow myself to binge guilt-free. Not that I don’t do that for the rest of the year but this one time one can get away with the excuse of the mandatory celebrations.
I hardly make Indian sweets, except for the occasional Kheer that is offered as prasad during puja in the temple at home on festivals and birthdays, or Gajjar Ka Halwa in winters when the crop of red carrots start flooding into the markets. I enjoy sweets bought off the counter. A few weeks ago, since there was still time to buy them and the spirit of the festive season was almost setting in, I was in the mood to try something at home over the weekend. I didn’t have many ingredients for whipping up the rich sweet I had in mind. On scanning the refrigerator I chanced upon half a tin of condensed milk and a few slices left from a loaf of brown bread. So well, the Hyderabadi genes got it sorted and had their sleeves rolled up to rustle up a sinuous dish of Double Ka Meetha as it is popularly known in Hyderabad.
Double Ka Meeta is an authentic Hyderabadi dessert served at weddings and parties. Bread is called double ka roti in Hindi as the dough raises double in size and meetha means sweet. Hence the name Double ka Meetha (bread sweet). Another popular Indian Sweet, Shahi Tukda, is similar to Double Ka Meeta with slight difference in serving style.
This recipe mainly calls for deep frying pieces of bread really crisp and brown (you could toast or shallow fry if you wish to cut the calories), dip it in sugar syrup and douse them with flavored thickened milk or Rabri. I don’t enjoy sweating out for long hours in the kitchen hence I resorted to the cheat code to cut short my method of preparing the Rabri by adding in condensed milk and my dish was ready in less than 20 minutes. Here’s the detailed recipe:
Brown or White Bread: 8 slices, halved into triangles
Almonds: Blanched and sliced for garnish
Ghee: For frying
Sugar: 1 cup
Water 1 cup
Rose water: 1 tsp
Milk: 4 cups
Condensed milk: Half tin
Cornflour: 2 tsp
Cardamom: 1 tsp, powdered
Heat enough ghee in a wok for deep frying. I prefer to keep it authentic hence I decided not to substitute it with oil. Fry the halved bread triangles crisp and brown.
In another pan add one cup of water for making the sugar syrup and bring it to a boil. Add one cup sugar and keep stirring to prepare the sugar syrup. Once the sugar dissolves, add rosewater and keep it aside.
In a separate pan bring the milk to boil. Add additional sugar to taste if you prefer it sweeter, else the addition of condensed milk is sweetening enough for the Rabri. Blend in the condensed milk and cardamom. Dissolve cornflour in some cold water to make a smooth paste. Add this paste to the milk and keep stirring continuously. Wait for it to thicken into a smooth paste like consistency till its ready.
Now, dip each slice of fried bread into the sugar syrup. Remove it immediately so that the bread remains crisp without getting soggy. Arrange these syrupy slices in a serving bowl. Pour the Rabri on top of the slices ensuring that it covers all pieces. Garnish with blanched almonds. You could also add pistachios to the garnish if your prefer to. To take the presentation further ahead you could also use silver vark (edible silver leaf). Refrigerate and serve it chilled.
The charm of this dish is in retaining the crunch of the bread which contrasts with the creaminess of the Rabri. In spite of the simple ingredients and technique of making Double Ka Meetha, there’s a touch of royalty that this dessert evokes. It stays good in the refrigerator for almost a week, although it might lose some of its crunch after a few days but it still tastes amazing. So, you could well make it in advance if you wish to, and bring it out to dig into it with your family and friends after you’re done up lighting your homes with diyas and smiles. Happy Diwali!