Mango Phirni With Mango Roses | Indian Mango Rice Pudding With Mango Roses


Mangoes are in season and there is nothing more satiating than this dessert. Fragrant rice in full cream milk with flavor of ripe mangoes is delicately delicious and looks fantastic with the mango roses. This was my first attempt in making the roses and the mangoes were so juicy and ripe that it didn’t work the way I wanted but then it was fun and lip smacking.  I also discovered an easier way of getting those roses right which I will share later along with some other fruit and vegetable flowers.

The secret to a good phirni is the coarsely ground rise that has a semolina like texture. Traditionally it is served in mitti ka kasora or a small earthenware bowl. I didn’t have those so used a clay pot to chill the phirni then served in glass bowls. Nuts, saffron, silver leaf are used traditionally as a garnish but with the gorgeous mango flavour and roses on top I did not use anything extra. Creamy and grainy, this is a perfect dessert after a lavish meal.

Ingredients : 

  • Mango puree – 1 cup
  • Raw Basmati Rice – 31/2 tbs ( Soaked)
  • Mangoes – 1-2 ( For the roses)
  • Condensed Milk ( Milkmaid ) – 3/4 Cup ( adjust according to the sweetness of mangoes)
  • Full Fat Milk – 4 Cups
  • Saffron Threads – 5-6 ( Soaked in warm milk)
  • Almonds – 6-7 soaked / skinned / ground to a paste
  • Nuts / Raisins – for garnish ( as desired)
  • Green cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp

 

Steps : 

  1. Soak rice in water for 30 minutes at least.
  2. Rinse and blend in the food processor with a little milk or water to make a smooth yet coarse paste. The rice should not become powdery.
  3. Heat the milk in heavy bottom pan and bring in to boil. Keep stirring and reduce it for about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the rice and almond pastes, stirring continuously on low heat. Make sure no lumps are formed.
  5. Add saffron and keep simmering on low heat till the rawness of ricer goes away.
  6. Add condensed milk and stir till it thickens to pudding like consistency. Turn off the gas. Add cardamom powder.
  7. Let the mixture cool on the counter and then st
  8. ir in the fresh mango puree. Mix it to get a smooth texture.
  9. Add the desired nuts and pour into the earthen pot or any serving pot you are using. Let it chill in the fridge so it sets properly.
  10. Meanwhile make mango roses and cool them. Before serving arrange the roses as desired and serve chilled.

  1. To make mango roses : Peel a hard yet ripe mango and cut the two side slices. Remove an inch from the sides and slice thinly. Arrange it the thin slices to form the petals and place it on the chilled phirni.

 

My Tip:
Keep the sugar level mild in phirni for excellent taste. You can layer white phirni and mango phirni alternately in individual glasses or serve in individual earthen bowls too. If serving individually you can add chopped mango pieces or simply drizzle finely chopped pistachios and almond shavings.
You can layer the phirni in individual glasses. For that take out a portion of phirni before adding the mango pulp and chill. Once the mango phirni is ready, spoon some mango puree in chilled glasses and layer the two phirni alternately. Garnish with chopped mango pieces or nuts.

 

 

 

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Recipe – Traditional Rawa Besan Laddoos


Over the years I have learned that the best way to dissolve any emotional strain is to cook or bake. It is therapeutic and helps remove all negativity. You can call it culinary therapy. Any activity that involves complete attention reduces stress considerably. I think it is also the aromas, the colors, touch, visual delights and a sense of creating something that lifts the mood instantly.  It is also a  very good remedy to heal a  broken heart. :p

Making Indian sweets is like making love. There are no shortcuts, no quickies. You need to sweat it out in the kitchen, let it unfold at its own pace. Laddoo making is a messy affair so be ready for sticky hands. 😀

I always associate laddoos with besan and barfi with khoya. I have a weakness for besan laddoos though I do make different kind of laddos especially during winters. Besan laddoos are usually an integral part of religious ceremonies, festivals and celebrations , the other being boondi or motichoor ke laddoo.

Mostly laddoos are made with flour, sugar, ghee (clarified butter) and garnished with dry fruits. Some are even made with resin and seeds like fenugreek. Usually they are for medicinal use.

So, coming back to my favorite besan laddoos, I add a little amount of semolina or rawa ( suji) to the mixture to give it a good granular texture.

I also dry roast both the ingredients to reduce the use of ghee. Less ghee makes it healthy and less sticky and everyone can have them. Bite size laddoos make a good filler anytime of the day.  Normally people use powdered sugar or sugar syrup but I use Boora cheeni. it tastes better.

The recipe is easy to follow so do try it .

 

To make besan rawa laddos you need :

Besan ( gram flour) – 1/2 kg

Rawa / Semolina – 150 gm

Boora cheeni or powdered sugar – 200 gms ( I prefer less sugar  otherwise it masks the roasted taste of besan)

Ghee or clarified butter – 100 grams ( just enough to bind the mixture)

Green cardamom powder – 1 Teaspoon

Raisins and almonds – a handful . ( almonds soaked, skinned and cut into little pieces) (optional)

 

Method:

In a heavy bottom pan or wok dry roast semolina and besan separately till a nice aroma starts coming and the color is slightly brown. Keep the flame low as both tend to burn very easily.

Take them out in a plate. This process will reduce the amount of ghee which essentially is used to roast Besan.

Now pour the ghee in the pan and once it is warm add besan first and mix well breaking the lumps. The crumbly texture will soon turn smooth . When there is a distinct aroma of roasted besan and the color is golden brown add suji and mix. This will make the laddoos grainy and they taste very good.

Add boora cheeni at this point of time and the green cardamom powder. Mix well. Keep the flame very low and stir properly so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom. We are using less ghee so one needs to be a bit careful.

Take it off the flame and let it come to room temperature. You can transfer the mixture to a thali or bowl so that it cools faster.

Add the dry fruits (optional) and mix. Now, take small amount of mixture and make  bite size balls. They may tend to break so it will take some time for the beginners to get the hang of it.

 

 

 

Keep making the laddoos and make sure there are no sugar lumps and the dry fruits are equally distributed. I like my laddos a bit more roasted and with less sugar so that the taste of the two main ingredients stays intact.

Once all the laddos are made place them in an air tight box.

Now you can lick away all the remaining mixture sticking to your hands or plate 😀

I never taste when I making laddoos or any other sweets. Mostly it was the boys who did the job. If the laddoos kept disappearing from the plate it meant all is well.  I miss them a lot. Simple pleasure of cooking together. Love is the secret ingredient that makes them so delicious.

 

Serve when cool.

Hope you enjoy making these. Let me know your experience and suggestions.

Have a sweet weekend.

Recipe – Lauki Ki Barfi ( Bottle Gourd Fudge )


In Indian Ayurvedic medical system Bottle Gourd/ doodhi/ lauki holds a special place due to its health benefits. This is a recipe perfected by me over the years. Traditional Indian sweets require a lot of love and patience. They are time consuming but the end result is delicious. I usually avoid using Khoa which is base for many Indian sweets. I prefer to use full cream milk and reduce it on slow flame to get the same texture and the taste is much better than khoa.

Bottle Gourd is used for making kheer, halwa and barfi and here we will learn to make Bottle gourd barfi or fudge.

Ingredients :

Bottle Gourd – 2 cup grated.  Choose fresh lime green bottle gourd with a round bottom and no blemishes.

Sugar- 200 grams

Milk- 1 liter

Green cardamon powder –  1teaspoon

Almonds- Blanched and finely chopped 1/4 cup

Clarified Butter – 1/3 cup

Method :

Wash peel and grate the bottle gourd. Keep aside. Some people remove the pulp and seeds but I keep it all. One needs to take tender bottle gourd.

Heat full cream milk. Add the grated bottle gourd to it. I don’t fry the vegetable before adding milk. I feel all the juices should remain in the dish.

Keep the heavy bottom pan full of milk and bottle gourd mixture on low flame and let it simmer till the milk completely evaporates.

Add the clarified butter and keep the flame on medium. Keep stirring to avoid burning.

Let the mixture leave  sides and turn a beautiful golden brown.

A this point add sugar. I usually add sugar at later stage.

Dry up the water content after adding sugar.

Stir it till it gets a nice shade of brown.

Add almonds and remove from heat. Add cardamon powder. This should always be added in the end.

Grease a high edged plate covered with foil paper.

Pour the mixture and flatten it to form a smooth texture.

Let it cool. Once cool cut into squares or diamonds.

Garnish with almond shredding. I have skipped the garnish as mom doesn’t like it much. 😉

Serve as a dessert.

Spring Festival With Colors, Sweets, Bhang And Flowers


The spring is here and Delhi Trees have shed their leaves in anticipation of long summer and water scarcity. The roundabouts , the rose garden , the trees which line the  long sizzling roads are exploding with colors of spring flowers. The sight is intoxicating. Amidst all the traffic, heat, dust and stress of city life  the flowers dance with the slightest breeze.

The golden shower from the Neem trees is a such a refreshing sight . It is amazing how the yellow leaves rain on the earth below creating magic in the air.

The Silk cotton and the Coral Trees are on fire  and the Gulmohars and Laburnum are getting ready to bloom. Birds like koel,crows, pigeons,  parakeets, It is a delight to watch these dazzling flamboyant red flowers blazing amongst the soothing greens of other evergreens like Banyan, Jamun, Ashokas and many more.

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Spring flowers like roses, jasmine, Dalia, marigold, Poppies,  bottle brush, Moulsari, calendula,

Along with the riot of colors that spring brings comes the festival of Holi .

Now a days Holi is not what it sued to be in my childhood. I remember the aromas that drifted from the kitchen with the breeze . The excitement of all the goodies like Gujiya, Dahi bade , poran poli, dal moth and more.

It was a family bonding session to prepare all the delicacies and savor them along with thandai and other coolants. Holi was never a vulgar, obnoxious display . We would keep plates of abir and gulal ready for the people visiting home along with the sweets. Water guns were in but no color filled baloons . Colors were mostly natural made with sandlewood, beetroot, black grapes, henna, bolied silk cotton (Semul) flowers or Tesu flowers.

Music was very much a part of Holi always. The special holi songs , tappas, the kumayuni Pahadi holi dance and song groups mixed with Bhang was a heady combination.

Bhang was used in pakodas, thandai etc.

I remember the JNU holi at a friend’s home and the Chat sammelan which was so much fun though I went there as a guest I really freaked out . It sure was spring madness come alive.

Gone are the days of  Gulabi Holi( pink holi) and Aab-e-Pashi (shower of colourful flowers) when the holi Phags were sung. Songs like

Kyon mo pe mari rang ki pichkari, Dekho kunwarji doon gi gari! (Why am I with colour sprinkled/ By me now you will be abused!”)

Now all we hear are bollywood numbers , the local flavor is lost forever at least in big cities like Delhi. In the Mugal times also Holi was played with fervor and gaiety. India’s cultural heritage has been enriched by the harmonious amalgamation and assimilation of various faiths and ethnicities.

It was a frenzied carnival where  people, irrespective of their caste, creed or any other religious or social distinction, forgot their restraints and joined in the festivity of the celebration.

I don’t much see that spirit of brotherhood and love anymore. The traditional Holi is restricted to some areas only like the famous Bruj ki holi, kumaun ki holi and Benaras ki holi.

 

The tradition of Thandai a cold drink made with a mixture of almonds, spices, milk and sugar and Bhang ( female cannabis sativa buds and leaves) is specialty of Northern India though now a days its used almost everywhere. Associated with Lord Shiva and in the city of Banaras one can find people preparing Thandai with mortar and pestle , singing holi songs. The festive spirit is enhanced by the bond of togetherness it creates. . Bhang is also mixed with ghee and sugar to make a tasty green halva, and into peppery, chewy little balls called ‘golees’. Bhang has medicinal properties also and much safer than drinking alcohol.

It is considered good omen and auspicious  to drink a little bhang on Holi.

Its been a while since I played holi. I lost interest in it after someone poured a can of emulsion paint on my head and I had to wash it with kerosene. It was pathetic and burned my skin for days but the memory of the lovely times celebrated together still fill me with nostalgia .

Here is my Recipe  for baked gujiya

Baked Gujiya


Ingredients :

For Dough

2 cups all-purpose flour

6 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)

1/2 tsp baking soda

Water

For Filling

1 kg Khoya ( thickened milk) ( I do not use khoya)

1 cup Sugar,  according to  taste

1 cup dry grated coconut

1 cup dry fruits ( cashewnut, almond, raisins), finely chopped

1/4 tsp cardamom powder

1 tbsp clarified butter

Method:

For making dough

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking soda and clarified butter. Start kneading until smooth and stiff textured dough. To test press your palm on the dough and remove immediately. The dough should bounce back. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let it sit for sometime.

For filling

In a deep heavy bottom pan, fry khoya with 1tsp ghee until golden in color. Add shredded coconut to it. Fry for sometime. Add the dry fruits and fry again, until  you start getting nice aroma.  Add sugar and cardomom powder to it. Mix well. Fry for few mins. Allow the mixture to cool.


Assembling and Baking

Divide the dough in small balls. Roll these balls into small, thick 6″ diameter circles. I use small  bowl to cut into perfect shape or use  gujia molds available in market.

Put a tbsp of filling in the one half of the circle and brush milk all over the along the side. Fold one side of the round over the other. Pinch the edges to seal it.

Preheat the oven to 375 degree Celsius arrange the gujiyas in a oven safe greased dish and bake till golden brown from both sides.

Enjoy !!!!


I know Holi festivities are over but still wanted to share this with friends. I miss the fun, the aromas and bonds of love and warmth , the eager anticipation of new clothes , music and dance. The laughter  and carefree longings and to some extent the teasing ( nok jhok) . I miss mom’s home.