October 20, 2009

Vanilla Maida Cake, Ukkarai & Kaja ~ Diwali Sweets

Vanilla Maida Cake

This is Lalitha Maam's masterpiece recipe. Aunt makes it with different flavors and changes the color accordingly. I have always made with vanilla essence and used green color. This time my husband suggested to change the color. When I checked for yellow color, very little was left. I add a pinch of green to that yellow color and got a greenish yellow color. This is very easy to make provided you get the sugar syrup consistency correct, which is important for all Indian sweets.

Time : 20 minutes
Yields - 50 pieces

Maida/All purpose flour - 2 cups

Sugar - 4 cups

Ghee - 1 1/2 cup

Vanilla essence - 1 tspn

Food color - a pinch

Water - 1 cup

Heat ghee in a kadai. When it is hot, stir in the maida and switch off the stove. The maida gets cooked in the warm ghee. In another kadai, prepare the sugar syrup with 4 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water. When the syrup starts bubbling, add a tablespoon of milk. Let it continue to simmer. The scum will float on top and gently remove with a spoon. The sugar syrup should be of two string consistency, which is very important for this recipe. To check the consistency, wet your fingers and then take a drop of the syrup on your index finger. If stretched between your index and thumb fingers, you should be able to see two threads. If the syrup cooks beyond two thread is al so fine but not less, since much cooking is not done post that stage. Add vanilla essence and food color to the syrup. Stir in the maida+ghee mixture. And cook for two minutes till it comes together as one whole lump. Once maida is added to the syrup, you should act quickly. Once the sugar syrup has reached consistency, swtich off the stove. Mix in the mixture and give vigourus stir so that it blends in. Then heat the stove again.

Grease a plate with sufficient ghee and also a flat based cup (I use dhabhara) to level the mix once it is transferred to the plate. Since the cake has a soft texture, it doesn't set quickly. So you have time to level it perfectly. But you need to transfer the mix to the plate immediately from the kadai else the last portion left in the kadai tend to set faster leaving some granule texture to that part of the cake.


This is a tradional sweet, made for Diwali in most of the Kerala Iyer homes, though i don't make it for every Diwali. This time around, I wanted to make it for memory sake.

1/2 cup tuvar dal

1/2 C chana dal or use 1 cup of chana dal alone

1 cup jaggery

3 tblspn ghee

Elaichi powder

Roasted cashew - few

Grated coconut - 3 tblspn

Roast both the dals till light brown. Pressure cook till it is soft and not mushy. Drain the excess water. Pulse the cooked dal along with coconut to a smooth paste.

Heat jaggery in 1/4 cup of water. Make syrup till it reaches the soft ball consistency. A drop of the syrup dropped in a tablespoon of water,should be able to roll into a soft ball. Stir in the ground dal + coconut paste. Keep stirring till the jaggery syrup is full absorbed by the dal and it turns dry. Add ghee at intervals. Mix in roasted cashew and cardamom powder. The texture is soft but not sticky.

Kaja ~ Andhra Special

I had the recipe noted in my diary, long back, taken from a Tamil magazine. In the magazine, the recipe was named as Curly Biscuits. The recipe was new to me and seeing the name I thought it as an innovative recipe. I had tried it then.  Later, blogging introduced me various regional specialities and I found the sweet is Kaja, a speciality of Andhra. I understand there are varieties of Kaja, marked by regional variations. I found a similar recipe at Srivalli's. Valli has neatly explained with step-by-step pics.

Preparing dough - 15 minutes
Resting time - 1 hour
Making kajas, deep frying, and clicking photos - 1 hour


Maida/All purpose flour - 2 cups

Salt - a pinch

Baking soda - 1 big pinch

Ghee - 2 tspn + 2 tblspn

Rice flour - 3 tblspn

Water - 3/4 cup

Oil to deep fry


Sugar -1 cup heaped

Water - 3/4 cup

Mix maida, salt, baking soda and ghee. Add water to make a pliable dough. Leave the dough for an hour.  Resting time for the dough is essential to get good results. In a bowl mix together rice flour and ghee.It should be of spreadable consistency.

Pinch of a ping pong sized dough. Roll into a chappathi. Spread the rice flour + ghee paste on it.

Place another chapathi on it. Fold it from one end.

Lightly press the edges so that it sticks and doesn't open up. Cut intp 1 inch long pieces.

Slightly press them down to flatten the pieces.

Deep fry the pieces in moderate heat. Don't heat the oil to smoking point and fry in high flame. The inside layers will not get cooked.

Mean while prepare sugar syrup for one string consistency. Dip the fried kajas in the sugar pieces. Leave it for 2 minutes. Then remove them and spread it on a plate to cool.


  1. Nice kajalu and Maida Cake dear.....keep rocking.

  2. Lucky hubby who can eat all this, why was i not your neighbiur :-)

  3. jaisree, those kajas are inviting me.

  4. yummy cake,Do participate in my food for orphanages event

  5. Wow maida cake, ukkarai and kaja wat a delicious spread!yummyilicioua!

  6. maida cake looks so perfect..and so does the kaja..looks yumm..

  7. The maida cake has come out very well Jaysree. I have not tried this one though it was very common in my house.

  8. Wow, everything came out very well. I have maida cake in my archive. but the other two r new to me..will give a try sometime ..

  9. The kaja is definetly pretty sweet!

  10. sweet queen has tried three different sweets !!!, each one of them look very yummy...

  11. Lovely......the unfried kajas looks so much like pufs, doesn't it???

  12. Awesome dishes, i love maida cake, kajas are new to me. My mom makes ukkarai, i ahve not tried yet.

  13. jayasri.. queen?? thanks dear

    jayashree,Oh I didn't think of it till I read yours. May be i can try making pastry sheets this way and bake them.

    Thanks Vidhas

  14. Nice spread of sweets...:)maida cake is perfect in shape:)

  15. Hi dear, i was browsing for a simple sweet recipe and ended up in your Maida cake. It was easy and quick to prepare and tasted delicious. Thanks for sharing such wonderful sweet recipe. I had posted the same in my site, pls do visit the below link whenever the time permits.




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