If you are one of those looking for a nutritious yet healthy dessert that not tickles your tastebuds but also has less fat content, look no further than Punjabi pinnis — small round laddoos made of atta, nuts and oodles of ghee. Pinnis, which have a nutty taste and a light, crumbly texture, are a perfect snack during winters as they keep the body warm and increase the body’s immunity against diseases. Pinni is, however, just a general term in Punjabi for desserts or sweets prepared in a round shape.
The balance of sweet, savoury and spice in the sweet dish adds a unique taste to it. There are several varieties of pinnis — atte ki pinni, chawal ki pinni and urad dal ki pinni.
Atte ki Pinni is one of the most common form of pinnis that is made in many parts of India, especially in Punjab. Made by cooking flour in ghee, sugar and milk on low flame in a heavy bottom pan, the pinni mixture is stirred continuously till it turns brown in colour and starts giving a pleasant aroma. Pinni is also loaded with oodles of nuts like green cardamom, cashews, almonds and raisins that make the dessert even more flavoursome.
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*Ghee is an essential part of every winter dessert as it helps keep the body warm from within.
*Pinnis are usually prepared during winter and are typically served to a pregnant woman during her last trimester and postpartum. If a new mother is breastfeeding, pinni is known to provide energy.
*Pinnis do not go bad for a long time and do not require to be chilled.
*Pinnis increase the body’s ability to fight infections.
2 cups – Wheat flour (atta)
2tbsp – Fine sooji
1 cup – Superfine sugar (or powdered jaggery)
1 cup – Melted ghee
1/4 cup – Chopped almonds and pistachios
1/4 cup – Yellow raisins
3/4tsp – Cardamon powder
Slow cook wheat flour in ghee on a low flame.
Cook until the flour becomes light brown in color. Keep stirring continuously.
Do not leave flour unattended at any time as it may burn.
The secret to perfect pinnis is to stir constantly and maintain the heat between medium-low and low.
Semolina has a slightly gritty texture and when added to wheat flour it lends a grainy-textured bite and an extra crunch, but it’s optional.
After dry nuts and sugar are added, the mixture will come together like a ball of dough.
Take the mix off the flame and allow it to cool until comfortable to touch.
When it’s cooled enough to handle, shape the dough like small ping-pong balls.
If the pinni mixture feels dry and crumbly, add a teaspoon of milk and knead – it will bind well.