Fruit Shrikhand (Fruit Yogurt)

Fruit Shrikhand

Shrikhand is an Indian dessert made with hung yogurt, sugar, dry fruits, and cardamom powder. This is a fruity version of the traditional homemade Shrikhand. This is one of the desserts we had as kids (there were no pastries or doughnuts). We mostly had homemade desserts like these which we would help our grandmother prepare for us. My oldest memory of making Shrikhand is helping my grandmother whisk the yogurt as a 7-8 year old and waiting for her to divide it for us in bowls so that we can take our share and relish it in the summer heat.

Hung yogurt is basically the creamy thick yogurt you get when you drain out all the water from yogurt. You can use a muslin or cheese cloth and hand the yogurt on your kitchen tap or any other clean place for 4-6 hours. Since I wanted a very thick and creamy yogurt for this recipe, I left it over night. You can also use the Greek yogurt.

Fruit Yogurt

You can add any fruit of your choice. For me berries work the best and so does Mango. You can decide to leave the seeds or fruit bits in the Shrikhand or just pass the fruit puree through a fine sieve for a rich creamy shrikhand. Remember to chill it for 4-5 hours before serving. You can serve it with fresh fruits and drizzle it with the remaining fruit puree or make it a mini pickup dessert by piping it in mini tart shells. I made chocolate tart shells and piped the shrikhand using icing tips. However you serve it, this summer dessert is sure to please your taste buds with tangy fruits and health yogurt.

Fruit Shrikhand

Ingredients

Serves 5-6

  • 1 ½ cup Hung Yogurt*
  • Icing sugar to taste

Fruit puree

  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup mango pulp
  • Icing sugar to taste

Recipe

For the Strawberry Puree

Wash and chop the strawberries. Put them in a nonstick pan. Add a table spoon of sugar. You can add or reduce the quantity of sugar based on the natural sweetness of the fruit. Mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Once the strawberries are soft, mash them using the back of a spoon or spatula. Make sure to scrape the edges while cooking. Cook for 1-2 minutes or till the puree comes to boil. Let it cool for 5-10 minutes. Pass this through a fine sieve for a smooth and shiny fruit puree or just leave it as it is if you like bits of fruit in your Shrikhand.

For the Blueberry Puree

Follow the same procedure as the strawberry puree. Make sure to pass this puree through sieve or you will have the fruit peels in your Shrikhand.

For Mango Puree

Depending on the thickness of the mango juice, you can just pass it through a sieve and use it or if it is too runny cook it for few minutes to make it thicker and then use it. As with other fruits, add sugar based on the natural sweetness of the fruit.

For Shrikhand

Whip the yogurt using a whisk or an electric mixer until it is smooth and creamy (approximately 2-3 minutes should be good). Divide the yogurt in three bowls. Add the fruit puree of your choice to each bowl. Add 2 table spoon of puree at a time and whisk well. Add more or less puree depending on taste and consistency requirements. I used approximate 2-3 tbsp of puree for half cup of hung yogurt.  Add icing sugar as per taste. Mix well and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. You can serve it with fresh fruits, fresh cream, or a drizzle of fruit puree on top. You can even fill the Shrikhand in plain tarts or chocolate tarts.

*To make hung yogurt, put fresh yogurt in a muslin or cheese cloth, tie the ends and hang it to your kitchen tap over night. Once all the water I drained out, transfer the thick yogurt to a bowl and chill.

Cham Cham Pops (Indian Dessert Pops)

Cham Cham Pops (Indian Dessert Pops)

Chamcham pops or you might want to call them rasgulla pops going by their look. Its an east meets west experiment gone right. Cham cham is a famous sweet in India. It is made with fresh chenna and cooked in sugar syrup. This is my idea of dressing up the traditional Indian sweet as cake pops. Chilled cham chams iced with khoa cream taste just perfect for people who like sweets with a twist. The same taste and texture but without the mess of sugar syrup and overdose of sweetness.

Fresh and full fat milk makes the best chenna. Make sure there is no water left in the chenna otherwise it will be very difficult to roll the chenna balls. You can add colors of your choice to the chenna. I used the gel colors and added them just before mashing the chenna.

Do not over boil the sugar syrup. Add the chenna balls as soon as the syrup starts boiling and do NOT touch the cham cham unless it is cooled and chilled. Let it sit for at least 6 hours or more if possible.

For the icing, you can be as creative as you want. You can just simply dip the cham cham in khoa cream and roll it in dessicated coconut, coarsely  ground dry fruits, sprinkles etc. Or you can just fill the icing in a piping bag and ice it as you want.

As this is made with fresh milk, the shelf life of this dessert is not as long as other sweets. Two days is the max this can stay in the fridge. Chill it well before serving.

Cham Cham Pops (Indian Dessert Pops)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups milk (preferably full fat)
  • 2-3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1-2 pinches food color (optional)
  • 1 tbsp plain flour or corn starch for dusting

For the khoa cream

  • ½ cup khoa
  • 3 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder (Ilaichi powder)
  • 1-2 pinches food color (optional)

Recipe

Bring milk to boil. Switch off the gas as soon as the milk starts boiling. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Keep stirring in between. Dilute the lime juice with some water. Start adding 1 tbsp lime juice at a time. Stop adding the lime juice when the milk curdles. Let it sit for 3-5 minutes. Take a white cheese cloth and spread it in a deep bowl. Put the curdled milk and tie the cloth. Now run the tied cloth under fresh water for 2-3 minutes so that the chenna (curdled milk) gets washed and gets rid of the lime flavour. Hang it over a sink or any clean place  where water can drip. Let it hang for 20-30 minutes so that all the whey is strained out.

Transfer the chenna to a flat surface or a wide plate. Mash the chenna well using the heel of your palm. If you wish to make colored cham cham, add color at this point and mash the chenna well. Divide the chenna into 16 portions and roll them into smooth balls without any cracks. Keep these chenna balls on a plate dusted with plain flour or corn starch.

Combine sugar and water in a pressure cooker and bring to boil. As soon as the sugar syrup starts boiling, add the chenna balls. Close the lid and cook on high heat for 1 whistle. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 8-9 minutes. Switch off the heat and put the cooker under running water to release the steam. Open the cooker and transfer the chamchams and the sugar syrup to a bowl. Do NOT touch the cham cham until they are completely cooled. Let the cham chams cool down and refrigerate them for 7-8 hours.

To make the khoa cream, blend the khoa, icing sugar, milk, and cardamom powder to a smooth paste. If you want to add color to your icing, add color at this point. You can change the consistency of this icing as desired. Add or reduce milk based on the how you want to ice the pops. If you want to dip the pops in khoa cream, keep the consistency runny. Keep the consistency stiff if you want to ice it using a piping bag.

Put a cham cham in cocktail stick and ice it as you like. You can dip it in the icing or put the icing in an piping bag and ice it as you like. Serve chilled.

Dal ka Seera (Moong Dal Halwa)

Dal ka Seera (Moong Dal Halwa)

Moong dal halwa or Dal ka seera as it is called in marwadi is probably one of the best desserts from Rajasthan. It is a dessert made from coarsely ground split yellow moong dal, ghee, sugar, and dry fruits. Given the small list of ingredients, it is not at all a quick dish to prepare. Have loads of time at hand and want to give your arms a workout – then do go for this one. It is worth all the hard work. My mom prepares this in kgs for family and friends and this is her recipe. Very easy to prepare and minimal ingredients but tons of hard work and patience. Want to give it a try? Read on!

Do not reduce the amount of  ghee. It is a very important part of getting it right. Traditional sweets are high on fat and sugar but that is the reason they are unmatched and still so popular. You can replace khoa with condensed milk if khoa is not available. I like to keep it as authentic as possible so that it can match the taste of my mom’s recipe.

Use the husked moong dal and soak it in plenty of water for a good 6-8 hours. I like the seera grainy so I don’t grind the dal too fine. Grinding the dal coarse (resembling sugar) with prevent the seera from becoming sticky and paste like.

The most important part is roasting the ground dal. This is where all the hardwork comes in. You have to make sure that you roast it in on a low flame. Semolina is added to the ghee before adding the dal so that the dal does not stick a lot to the pan. But you need to keep scraping the edges and mixing it non stop till the dal stops sticking to the pan.

By end of appx 30 minutes, you should have nice brown granules of roasted dal. The aroma is enough to tell that the dal is roasted (or over roasted 🙂 )

The color of the roasted dal should be liked the skin of almonds. To make sure that the dal is roasted properly, keep mixing it even if the dal stops sticking to the pan.

The second important thing is the sugar syrup. It should be less than one string (approximately 220 degrees F or 85-90 degrees C. Cool it for couple of minutes before adding the dal.

This is  a winter time dessert and  it tastes good when it’s hot. If it gets too cold or dry, add a table spoon of milk and reheat it. Do not add water to reheat the seera.

Dal ka Seera (Moong Dal Halwa)

 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup yellow split moong dal
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup khoa
  • ½ cup ghee
  • 2 tbsp almonds chopped
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder (ilaichi)
  • 1 tsp semolina (rava)
  • 1 cup water

Recipe

Soak the moong dal in water for 6-7 hours. Drain water and grind the mung dal coarsely.

Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan or a thick kadhai. Add semolina and sauté for 10-20 seconds. Add the moong dal paste and keep mixing it on slow flame till the dal is brown in color. Add khoa and mix again for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the moong dal mixture to another bowl and keep it aside.

To make the sugar syrup, mix sugar with 1 cup water and bring to boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes. The consistency should be less than 1 string (approximately 200 degrees F/85-90 degrees C). Switch off the gas. Let the syrup cool for 2 minutes. Add the moong dal mixture and mix well. Switch on the gas and cook for 2 minutes while mixing continuously. Add almonds and cardamom powder and mix well. Serve hot.

Til Papdi (Caramelized Sesame Seeds)

Til Papdi (Caramelized Sesame Seeds)

Til Papdi or caramelized sesame seeds is a sweet prepared in India for the winter festivals like Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Lohri etc. Variety of sesame seed sweets are made and exchanged in various parts of India during winters and especially for the festivals of Sankranti/Lohri. At my home it is mostly Til Laddus (sesame laddus) for Sankranti but my dad and I like Til Papdi more and my mom makes sure to have enough supply at home. There is no winter in Singapore and no festival feeling either. When my mom called to wish me and asked me to make Til papdi for my son, I was apprehensive as I had never made this before. I am glad I made it as he just loved it and enjoyed eating it as much as I do. This recipe does not include any nuts as I was making it for my little one. You can add chopped nuts if you like.

The names of the festivals and the way they are celebrated differs throughout the country. Only practice common is to eat sesame seeds on the festival day. Sesame seeds are high in iron and calcium and also helps in lowering cholesterol levels. Roasting the sesame seeds lightly adds the crunch to til papdi.

This sweet can be made very quickly and needs very few ingredients. If you want a healthier version, you can replace sugar with jaggery. Be very careful while working with sugar. If you let the sugar melt longer, the til papdi will taste bitter.

Though it takes very less time to make this sweet, it needs lot of practice. The thinner you can roll out a til papdi, the better it tastes. Speed is the key to making perfect til papdis. You need to roll out the papdi before the mixture cools down. You can either make papdi mixture in small batches or put the bowl of the papdi mixture in hot water so that the mixture remains hot while you roll out the papdis. Once you have mastered rolling out the papdi quickly, you can try cutting it in various shapes while it is still hot. Store til papdi in an airtight container and put a butter paper or plastic sheet between two papdis so that they don’t stick.

Til Papdi (Caramelized Sesame Seeds)

Ingredients

Makes 10 pieces

  • 100 gms white sesame seeds
  • 75 gms sugar
  • Little ghee for greasing

Recipe

Lightly roast the sesame seeds and keep aside. Heat sugar in a thick bottomed pan. Once the sugar melts, quickly add the sesame seeds and switch off the gas. Mix well.

Grease a clean flat work surface and a rolling pin. Take a little mixture at a time and roll it out as thinly as possible. Make rest of the papdis in same manner. If the mixture cools down, heat it up a little and you should be able to work with it again.

Rasgulla

The pioneer of cookery shows and cook books in India, Tarla Dalal passed away on Wednesday, 7-Nov-13. She was truly the first master chef of India and has inspired generations of cooking enthusiasts. Be it traditional Indian food, healthy cooking, cooking for kids, or different types of cooking, list of her expertise is endless. She taught people to cook healthy and cook well. Whenever I am stuck or confused while making a traditional mithai, her recipes work like an encyclopedia. I am sharing her recipe and hope her recipes keep spreading the cheer and happiness that she always did. RIP Tarla Dalal.

After trying 4-5 different recipes and methods, it was this recipe of Tarla Dalal, which helped me make perfect rasgullas in a flash. Yes! The cooking time is not more than 12-15 minutes. This is the easiest and simplest recipe of rasgulla I have seen so far.

Rasgulla

Though there are only four ingredients you need to follow every step as mentioned to get the perfect rasgullas. Here are few tips before the recipe:

  • If possible, use half quantity cow’s milk and half quantity buffalo’s milk.
  • Quantity of lime juice required to curdle the milk depends on the quality of milk.
  • Adding excess lime juice will make the rasgulla lemon flavoured.
  • Do not touch the rasgullas once you place them on the plate.
  • Make sure the cooker has enough space for rasgullas to expand. They will double in size. If there is no space rasgullas will break.
  • Always cook rasgullas on high flame.

Soft and fresh chenna(hung curdled milk) is the key to perfect rasgullas. The process of making chenna looks long but it is worth it. Since rasgulla is milk-based, it is best enjoyed fresh. The shelf life of milk-based sweets is not very long. You can keep them in fridge for few days though.

Rasgulla

Ingredients

Makes 20 Rasgullas

  • 1 litre full fat milk
  • 1 -2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 cup + 1/4th cup sugar
  • 5 cups water
  • Little (1-2 tsp) refined flour

Recipe

Bring milk to boil and switch off the gas. Wait for 3-4 minutes, stirring it occasionally for the steam to escape. Stir in 1 tbsp of lime juice. If the milk starts to curdle, then you will not need more lime juice. Add little more lime juice if the milk does not curdle.

Let it sit for some time. Take a white muslin cloth and spread it in a deep bowl. Put the milk and tie the cloth. Now run the tied cloth under fresh water for 2-3 minutes so that the chenna (curdled milk) gets washed and gets rid of the lime flavour. Hang it over a sink or any clean place where water can drip. Hang it for 3-4 hours or till the water drips out completely.

Take the chenna in a plate and mash it with the heel of your palm till you get a smooth mixture. This should not take more than 2-3 minutes.

Dust the back of a plate with refined flour. Take little chenna at a time and make smooth balls and place on the dusted plate. Make sure there are no cracks in the balls.

While you are making the chenna balls, put sugar and water in a cooker and bring to boil on a high flame.

Once the sugar water comes to boil, add the balls to it by tilting the plate. Do not touch the balls. Close the cooker and cook on high flame for 8-9 minutes without the whistle. Switch off the gas. Let the cooker get cooled. Do not touch the rasgullas still.

Open the cooker and slowly transfer the rasgullas to a bowl. Chill them in a refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour before eating/serving.

 

 

Chandrakala (Sweet filled with Khoa and nuts)

Chandrakala (Sweet filled with Khoa and nuts)

Two three days before Diwali, my home resembles a sweet shop. The aroma of the sweets and savories can be felt in the neighborhood. My grandmother, mom, and aunt make lot of sweets and savories to be distributed to family, relatives, friends, employees, friends of friends, the postman, sweeper, and anybody and everybody who comes home to get the Diwali inaam. The most popular of these preparations is chandrakala. I end up eating them for lunch the day they are being made. This is the by far the best mithai/sweet my grandmother makes. No garnishes, no saffron in sugar syrup, plain simple chandrakala which is crispy outside and melts in mouth with each bite. Heaven!

This mithai is a sweet kachori/pastry filled with dry fruits, fried in ghee/oil and dipped in sugar syrup. Its heavy on calories but isn’t Diwali a perfect excuse to indulge.

Folding the chandrakala is an art. I have learnt this from my grandmother. Once you seal two puris with the stuffing inside, gently pinch the edges and twist them to form a pattern. This will make sure that the filling does not come out while frying.

Do not keep these in fridge. They can be stored in an airtight container for few days. Enjoy the sweet treat this Diwali. Wishing you and very happy and sweet Diwali!

Chandrakala (Sweet filled with Khoa and nuts)

Ingredients

Makes 20 Chandrakalas

  • 1 cup refined flour (maida)
  • ¼ cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • Oil for frying

Filling

  • ¼ cup khoa/wava (dried whole milk)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp coarsely crushed dry fruits
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder

Sugar Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp ghee (optional)

Mix the refined flour and ghee till it resembles bread crumbs. Add very little water at a time and make a firm dough. The dough should not be very stiff or very soft. It should be of medium consistency. Cover and keep it aside for 15 minutes.

Put khoa in a microwave safe bowl and heat it on full power for 20-25 seconds. Add sugar, nuts, and cardamom powder immediately and mix well. Keep aside.

You can even fry the khoa in a pan for 1-2 mins and move it to a cool bowl immediately and mix other ingredients.

Divide the dough into 40 portions and roll out small puris (approximately 3 inches). Take two puris at a time. Put one portion of khoa filling in one puri, cover it with the second puri and seal the edges and pinch and fold the sides in a pattern so that the edges do not open while frying. You can use the moulds available in the market.

Heat enough oil in a deep pan/kadhai and fry the chandrakalas few at a time, till they are golden brown. While you are frying the chandrakala, bring to boil the water and sugar for sugar syrup and make a sugar syrup of one thread*.

Once all the chandrakala are fried, poke each chandrakala on top with a fork. This will help it absorb the sugar syrup. Put them in the hot sugar syrup and coat them with sugar syrup on all sides. You can leave the chandrakala in the syrup for few minutes (3-4) and remove it carefully. Garnish with dry fruits or eat as it is.

*Sugar Syrup

Consistency of sugar syrup is very crucial for Indian desserts. You need to be very careful while working with sugar as it gets extremely hot and can even burn your skin. This recipe calls for one thread consistency of sugar syrup.

One thread consistency is when a single thread is formed when you take little syrup between your index finger and thumb and pull apart the fingers gently. The thread should not break.

Second way to test this is, pour the syrup in a small plate with water. If the syrup does not dissolve immediately and dissolves when you try to gather it, it is one thread consistency.

Another simpler way is to use the cooking thermometer. Single thread syrup is approximately 220ºF – 222ºF/104º-105ºC and is used for sweets where it needs to be absorbed

To test the consistency of sugar syrup, dip a wooden spatula in the syrup and lift out. Allow to cool for a few seconds. Now touch the syrup with a clean index finger to pick a small amount of syrup and bring your thumb and index finger together and pull apart gently.

Rabdi ka Malpua (Indian Dessert Pancakes)

Rabdi ka Malpua (Indian Dessert Pancakes)

Rabdi ka malpua is Rajasthan’s answer to pancakes. It is a dessert which is crispy on edges and soft in the center. This melt in your mouth wonder is a fried version of pancake and as with most of the Rajasthani desserts this too is made in ghee. This is a quick dessert that can be made with very few ingredients and most of which are available at home.

Malpuas are a regular feature at all the Rajasthani festivals. The way I like my malpua is soft centered, crispy on edges, and hot of course. You can garnish them with any dry fruit of your choice.

Batter of pouring consistency is the key to a perfect malpua. Keep the batter too thick and it will turn out as thick as bread. Keep it too thin and it will break when you try to turn it.

Every family has a variation to this traditional marwadi mithai. This is my family recipe of the rabdi ka malpua. Happy Eating!

Rabdi ka Malpua (Indian Dessert Pancakes)

Ingredients

Makes around 15-18 malpuas

  • 100 gms flour (maida)
  • 50 gms khova (dried whole milk)
  • 1 pinch soda
  • 5 almonds slivered
  • Approximately 1 cup milk

For sugar syrup

  • 1 ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cardamoms powdered
  • Few strands of saffron

Recipe

Blend together maida and khova in a mixer with half of milk to make a batter of pouring consistency. Consistency of batter is the key for malpuas. Add more milk if required. Keep it aside for one hour.

When you are ready to make the malpua, add soda to the batter and mix well.

For the sugar syrup, combine all the ingredients and bring to boil. The syrup should be sticky but without strings. Keep the syrup aside. The syrup should we used warm. If it has cooled by the time of serving malpuas, you can reheat it a little.

Heat enough ghee in a flat bottom kadhai. Pour a spoonful of batter to form a pan cake. Cook on both sides till the edges are crisp and brown. Remove the malpua and dip it in the sugar syrup immediately. Remove it from the syrup. Garnish it with slivered almonds and serve warm.