This Makar Sankrant was all about tradition - well actually only food traditions..There were no kites..there was no Haldi Kumkum...but there was food...
My MIL makes carrot halwa every year..so I did. My mom sometimes makes Khichdo, so I did (actually a couple days later), and I grew up with Tilgul..so I made some of those too...
Here are the quick recipes:
Peel and grate carrots. Heat some ghee and saute them. Add whole milk, evaporated milk and heavy cream and keep stirring. Add sugar and keep stirring till the mixture thickens. Add cardamom, nutmeg, fried cashew, etc.
The important thing to remember here is: one part "stuff" (Til, Dalia, peanuts, etc) and half part gud.
Roast one cup Til on a low flame, till nice and nutty. Roast a quarter cup each of Dalia and peanuts and break coarsely. Add some fresh cardamom powder to this dry mixture. Heat 3/4 cup gud on a low flame and sprinkle some water. When the syrup is ready (drop a ball in cold water, and if it holds shape, it's done)..add "stuff" and make tilguls or chikki.
The proportion here is: one part each of Toor Daal and Faada (broken wheat). Pressure cook each of them seperately with two parts each water (so, total four parts). Mash the dal well and mix the two. Then, add the same amount of sweetener by volume (half each sugar and gud). Mix and cook everything till slightly thickened. Add cardamom, nuts, Charoli (special in this dish) and raisins. Serve hot with lots of ghee. It makes a complete meal.
(I know the proportions are confusing here...basically, I took 3/4 cup of toor dal and added 1 1/2 cups water and pressure cooked it. In a different cooker, I boiled 3/4 cup of broken wheat (Lapsi fada) with 1 1/2 cups water. This is very important, since you don't want to end up with a liquidy gooey mess. Then I mix the two in one pot, and with a big spoon, shift the whole thing to one side of the pot (kind of like a semi-circular cylinder), so that 50% of the space is empty. I fill that space with half sugar and half gud. So, basically, when you're done, it should look like a pie chart from the top, with 50% of your original ingredients, 25% sugar and 25% gud. There is no better way to do it. Many of my mom's traditional recipes are like this where the measure of sweetness is not based on the original ingredients, but based on the volume of the cooked product - and it always works..Shrikhand, Puranpoli, Sheero, Laadu...All of them...so it's worth mastering this technique)
Tilgul ghyaa and god-god bola.