Monday, October 27, 2014

Kheer / Chawal ki Kheer

How do I introduce Kheer? It's one of our most traditional and loved desserts. I started making it pretty recently and now there's no stopping me! 


2 litres full fat milk
1/2 cup rice (see notes)
1/3 cup sugar (or more per taste)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
Pinch of saffron
1/4 cup chopped almonds, pistachios and cashew nuts (see notes)
2 tablespoons raisins

Wash the rice thoroughly and soak it in water for 20 minutes. 

In a very thick bottomed wok, heat the milk. When it comes to a boil, add the strained soaked rice and saffron. Cook on a low heat stirring intermittently. When the milk if reduced by half, add the sugar, raisins and dry fruits. Continue to boil in low heat till it reaches a thick consistency and the rice is completely cooked. The whole process takes about an hour and half (90 minutes). You can also cook it on high heat but you have to continuously stir it; this way it takes 45-50 minutes. Serve warm or chilled garnished with slivered almonds. 

It is best to use any small grain rice or broken basmati, known as tukda basmati for kheer. 
I typically chop and add almonds with skin. For a smoother bite, soak the almonds in warm water, de-skin and then chop and add almonds. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Date, Coconut and Cocoa Bites (With a Sugar free option)

My R masi is my inspiration for trying out new recipes. She always has a new recipe to share when I call and now in the Whatsapp age, she never fails to send photos of her dishes.

She had made these date, coconut and cocoa bites for Raksha Bandhan and it was a hit with everyone. I made these for Diwali. Here's her recipe...


1 cup tightly packed chopped dates
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons powdered sugar (to make it sugar free, see notes below)
1 tablespoon ghee

Heat ghee in thick bottomed pan. Add the dates and cook for 8-10 minutes till the dates become a smooth lump. Add the cocoa and sugar and mix well. Cook for another minute and add the coconut. Quickly mix into the date mixture and after a minute, put it off the heat. 

Line a chopping board or any flat surface with a cling film. Put the lump in a tube form and form into a roll with the help of the film. Cut into discs and let them cool. Finally roll the sides in coconut. 


You can store it in the refrigerator upto 1 week
Use good quality Omani dates which are sweeter and have more moisture in them
If you want to make it sugar free, add 2 tablespoons more dates 
You can add nuts to this mix as well 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Rose flavoured Karachi Halwa

My mother used to make this for Diwali when she was young. It's quick and easy and for me, a recipe to continue tradition. Typically it's made with a cardamom or kewra flavouring but I picked rose. It's a keeper!


1 cup Corn flour
1 1/2 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Ghee
5-7 Sliced Almonds
2 drops Rose essence
2-3 drops Pink colour 

Mix the corn flour with 1 1/2 cup of water while whisking. Make sure there are no lumps. 
Add about 1/2 cup of water to the sugar and heat till it just dissolves. 
Mix the corn flour and sugar syrup. Cook this in a non-stick or thick bottom pan on a low heat while stirring. In about 15 minutes, it will start to thicken. Add ghee at this time and continue to cook till all the ghee is absorbed in the halwa. Add the colour and essence and cook for 2-3 minutes more. It will be a thick mass now. Taste a little bit, it should not taste floury. Place this into a greased container and level. Press down the almond slivers while it is still hot. It will harden once it cools down. You can refrigerate it to cool it. Cut into squares and serve. Store in an air-tight container upto a week. 

I found that I was not fast enough to have all the almonds placed in the halwa before it cooled. As a result a lot of nuts came off the sweet. To avoid this, mix in the almonds when you add the colour and flavouring. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Date and Walnut Cake (Eggless)

What cake makes you feel good about eating it? I know its a death by chocolate cake but which one is healthy? Yes! A date and walnut one. Iron, Potassium, Vitamin A and fiber from dates, and Vitamin E, Omega -3 fatty acids and Iron from Walnuts. And its easy bake even for a novice baker. Originally baked with all purpose flour, I have baked it with half whole wheat four and half all purpose flour with good results. The picture above is for the half whole wheat version.


2 cups All purpose flour (maida)
3/4th cup (200 grams) condensed milk
125 grams butter, salted (if using unsalted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon salt)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
15-18 pieces dates
1 cup walnuts
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

Chop the dates into small pieces and soak them in lukewarm milk for half and hour. Chop the walnuts and coat them in one tablespoon of the flour (out of the two cups of flour).

Preheat an oven to 200 degrees F. Prepare a loaf pan by applying a thin coat of butter on the bottom and sides. Next take a tablespoon of flour and roll it around the pan so the bottom and sides are well coated. shake off the excess flour. 

In a large bowl, beat the condensed milk and butter together for 2 minutes. Mix in the milk and dates mixture and the vanilla along with the sugar. Mix well.

In another bowl, sift together the flour and the baking powder and soda. Fold this in to the wet mix. When all the flour is added, fold in the walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes. To check if done insert a toothpick in the center, it it is clean the cake is done. Else bake for additional time. I used a aluminium pan, silicon mould will need more time and a dark pan will need less time. The cake will also have a beautiful browned top.

Serve warm with coffee. Or drizzle with some chocolate sauce and have as dessert.


Make mini muffins, baking for 12 minutes
Make muffins, baking for 20 minutes
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