Parval ki mithai is definitely a genius work of someone who had this idea to turn a vegetable into a delectable mithai.
Parval (pointed gourd) grows really well in the Indo-Gangetic plains and there are a few cultivars of this vegetable that taste really good when cooked to make alu parval ki bhujia or even parval ka chokha. Stuffed parval ki kalonji is something every family cooks at least once a fortnight in eastern UP.
When the same parval is stuffed with mithai material it transforms into something else literally. I remember how I used to be a reluctant mithai eater always but would look for a parval ki mithai in the assorted sweets dabba whenever someone brought a mithai gift. There is a tradition in UP to carry a dabba of mithai to your host whenever you visit.
Later when I started making a few mithais at home, the rasgulla and parval ki mithai were the most frequent. The reason why I make mithais and other desserts at home is that I am a little paranoid about the synthetic colours, silver foil and too much sugar used in the commercial mithais. Although most Indian mithais are relatively safe to eat but one must watch out for synthetic colours used.
They use green colour to make the parval look bright green in the mithai shops. The stuffing has now deteriorated too with spurious khoya and some leftover mithai material being stuffed after dehydrating everything. A few such experiences in the past have actually made me positively allergic to mithai shops.
Oi khanna boudi onek shobji kinten he says (that khanna lady used to buy a lot of vegetables) ...
I never use silver foil in my cooking for obvious reasons and I find making boat shaped mithai with the fillings visible as a topping more attractive and practical.
parval 500 gm (choose equal sized ones, I used 9 parvals to make 9 mithais )
sugar for syrup 1 cup ( if making it my way )
for filling ...
homemade khoya 1 cup (about 250 gm )
finely chopped cashew nuts 3-4 tbsp
finely chopped almonds 3-4 tbsp
chopped raisins 2-3 tbsp
green cardamom powder 1/4 tsp
saffron threads a generous pinch
Peel the parvals using a potato peeler.
Make a slit and remove the innards using a melon ball scoop or just using a paring knife.
Boil enough water (to submerge all the parvals) in a wide pan with the sugar. Dunk the peeled and emptied parvals in simmering sugar syrup and cook till done. Keep stirring in between and turning the parvals so they cook evenly.
The syrup starts frothing when the parvals are nicely candied and yet wet and sticky. The syrup should not dry up but remain a honey like consistency. There will be very little syrup remaining in the end.
Now fish out the parvals and drain them into a colander propped over the same pan so the sugar syrup drains back into the pan. The syrup can be used to make something else as it will not be used in this recipe any more.
Make khoya using this method of home made khoya in microwave. You can cook the milk powder mixture into a pan on low heat to make a nice granular khoya. Use ready made khoya if you get good quality.
Add the chopped nuts and raisins, saffron and mix well. No need to add sugar to this stuffing.
Now make lime sized balls of the khoya stuffing. Elongate the ball of stuffing by pressing into your fist or rolling between the palms, prop open the candied parvals and stuff the khoya mix into it.
You would actually need to wrap the candied parval around your stuffing if you want more stuffing into each parval ki mithai. Pinch the ends to make them look pointed as the raw parval looks. Repeat with each candied parval and make more parval ki mithai.
Make stuffed paratha with the khoya mix, that khoye ka paratha is also a Banaras special that many people crave for.
The end product of this exercise is sensational. Especially if you love this mithai. A forgotten gem amongst the Indian mithais.
Earlier I used to make open faced parval ki mithai too. Here is a picture to show how I used to halve the parvals and make 2 mithais out of one parval.
Make the way you like it and let me know if you try this recipe.
Many other summer gourds are made into mithais and I intend to share the recipes some day. So much to do so little time.