All posts filed under: Indian Sweets (Mistan)

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Indian-Inspired Rocky Road

Indian-Inspired Rocky Road

When special occasions are fast approaching and I’ve run out of time to whip up something sweet, it’s Indian-inspired Rocky Road to the rescue! It’s truffle-like chocolate studded with pistachios, almonds, dried mango, crystallised ginger, Turkish delight, mini marshmallows and spiced shortbread biscuits. Dried rose petals top the Rocky Road off beautifully. I’ve been known to leave things to the last minute at Diwali time when it’s customary to gift Indian sweets to your nearest and dearest. This recipe is a quick and easy raid-the-cupboard workaround that hits the spot when Pendas, Jalebis, Gulab Jamuns and Burfis are all too time consuming to make. It’s also great for people who aren’t too keen on Indian sweets. I’ve added all the things I love to this (namely pistachios, Nankhatai from the wonderful Chins’ Kitchen and Turkish delight) but you can swap any of these for what you like best. Other delicious mix-ins would be candied pineapple, coconut cookies and chopped dates. If you’re after a more authentic Indian sweet taste, add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom …

Salted Caramel Mohanthal

Salted Caramel Mohanthal

My grandfather was a sweet maker. He had big, thick-skinned hands that were made for harvesting sugar canes using a machete and stirring giant pots of bubbling syrup. He never used a sugar thermometer. He could tell it was done just by looking at the consistency of the syrup, perhaps testing it using a little cold water to see if it had a “one-string consistency ” or what a western pastry chef might call the “soft ball stage”. Indian sweet making isn’t for the feint hearted, you see. It’s painstakingly long, laborious, hot and intense work. Stirring, stirring, all the time you’re stirring. No, don’t stop because it will catch on the bottom and your whole mixture will taste scorched. Some of the most revered and expensive ingredients in Indian culture: sugar, milk, ghee and saffron, all wasted. If it was your full-time job and you had a knack for getting distracted, you’d be out of the door faster than you can say, “Oh fudge!”. If you’ve ever stepped inside an Indian sweet shop you’ll be …

Eggless Pistachio-Rose Macaroons

Eggless Pistachio-Rose Macaroons

Hand me a rose-flavoured dessert over a bouquet of roses any day. I’m a sucker for rose-flavoured everything. It all started back when I was around seven years old when my dad would take our family to our favourite Indian restaurants. Even before looking at the menu I’d know what I wanted to drink – classic Falooda. A sweet rose milkshake with basil seeds, grass jelly and vermicelli noodles. Some may argue that it’s a dessert and not a drink you’d have with a full three-course meal but that never stopped me. My dad would laugh and always made sure I got one, even ensuring it came with cocktail umbrellas for added pizzazz. I still love an ice cold falooda to this day but I can no longer get away with ordering one with my dinner. These days I love to add rose to lots of dishes from sweet to savoury, but mostly sweet. I’ve got a tonne of rose recipes on the blog, some of my favourites being Strawberry Cheesecake Falooda, Eggless Rose Custard …

Rum-Soaked Kala Jamun (Cardamom and Rum Syrup-Soaked Doughnuts)

Rum-Soaked Kala Jamun (Cardamom and Rum Doughnuts)

I figured that as everyone seems to have totally lost their minds this year, I’d follow suit in my own crazy way. You might have noticed a Facebook and Instagram post I wrote, earlier this month. It was a big deal for me, having dedicated a huge amount of myself to this blog. In case you missed it, it served as a reminder to myself that if we pursue our passions with our whole selves, we must not forget to extract every last bit of love it gives back to us. Anyway, enough of that soppy stuff… it’s rum time! I have a love/hate relationship with gulab jamun (or gulab jambu as we call them at home). I mean this in the sense that I love to eat them but hate that I can never just have one.  These sweet, saffron, rose and cardamom-soaked milk doughnuts are one of the most well-known Indian desserts, and the chances are, they’re on your local Indian restaurant’s menu. Kala jamuns are the lesser-known big sister of gulab jamun. …

How to Make Cookie Dough Chocolate Burfi in the Microwave

How to Make Cookie Dough Chocolate Burfi in the Microwave

Ask any Indian to name their favourite sweets and I’m certain burfi will be on the list. This melt-in-the-mouth fudge is made with milk powder and condensed milk, and can be flavoured with pretty much anything that takes your fancy. Coconut, pistachio, rose, saffron, cardamom and chocolate are firm faves, with chocolate topping the list for kids. In my family, I’ve been known as a burfi monster since I was a kid. I was gap toothed, chubby cheeked and all about the sweet stuff. My wonderful masi used to make sure she had a stash of chocolate burfi whenever I went to visit on special occasions – and still does to this day. And although I’ve learned to control myself over the years, I’ll always be its’ number one fan. Diwali was always a special time in our home. It would warrant us going to Indian sweet shops to stock up on boxes of brightly-coloured treasures to share with family and friends. My dad’s heart is as big as my appetite so he always made …

Hot Saffron and Lemon Seeroh Pistachio Ice Cream

Hot Saffron and Lemon Seeroh with Pistachio Ice Cream

Seeroh is one of those desserts that brings out the greedy little kid in me. Sweet semolina tossed with spices and so buttery it melts as soon as it hits your tongue. Flippin’ gorgeous. And before you ask, it’s nothing like ‘school dinner’ semolina. Not even close. Years ago we’d make special trips to the mandir (temple) during Navratri and Diwali to pray for the year ahead, see family and have an amazing, spiritual evening. Of course, I was there for all of these reasons, plus for the reason that there would be prashad – sweets like Seeroh offered to the gods that evening. After putting my hands together in prayer, I’d open them up and wait patiently for my Seeroh. I believe glace cherries have three purposes in life; to garnish cocktails, top cherry bakewells and stud this delicious addictive treat. If you really don’t like them, replace with candied lemon or orange pieces. They’ll add an incredible texture to contrast the soft texture of this dessert. I love experimenting with different flavour combinations …

Gujarati Mohanthal

Okay, round two. Not only is this our second Diwali sweet of the week – it’s also my second time making this Gujarati favourite for my blog. Mohanthal  (pronounced: moHanTHaal) are squares of mace-laced butter fudge made with chickpea flour. A staple in homes during festivals, these sweet pieces of fudge are studded with crunchy pieces of chickpea flour ‘crumble’ or ‘dhrabo’. Mohanthal can be served in two ways: In pieces like the kind here, or loose as a lava-like liquid gold you scoop up with a spoon and nothing more. There’s a time and a place for both. Pieces of Mohanthal are perfect for gifting to friends and family during Diwali. The loose kind is more of a hot dessert served after a traditional Gujarati meal. My favourite way to have it is right after a meal of Aakhu Shaak (whole vegetables stuffed with peanut masala), daal, rice, rotli and sambharo (stir-fried cabbage and carrots with mustard seeds). Heaven. Shop-bought Mohanthal will often be brown in colour but I like my mine to be bright …

Pistachio and Rose Bombay Halwa

I used to love going into Indian sweet shops as a little nipper, especially around Diwali. Wide-eyed and full of wonder, the shop keepers would see me peering through their glass cases at the majestic displays of endless halwa, burfi, penda, jalebi, kaju katli, mohanthal gulab jambu, rasmalai and everything in between. I very quickly became an expert at getting free samples. My dad would always ask me what I’d like in my special box of sweets. I’d think long and hard about which ones would make the cut – it was a very important decision. To this day, he still buys me my own box of sweets and even if I’m not there to choose them, he somehow always picks my favourites. The one that always stood out was the Bombay Halwa. It’s one of the only sweet that comes in lots of different colours – and they’re SO bright. Rows of translucent pink, yellow, green and orange jellies studded with jewel-like pistachios and cashews. They were bright and beautiful and I was a …

Saffron Rice Pudding with Brulee Bananas (2)

Saffron Rice Pudding with Banana Brûlée

I’ve been rushing around like a mad woman on too many jalebis this month. Developing recipes (which I’ll show you later), catching up with friends I haven’t seen since our wedding and generally thinking about what to blog about next. Sifting through my mum’s handwritten recipes, clippings and annotations on pudding recipes, I once again became a tubby eight year old. Making Indian sweets like white chocolate penda, butterfly burfi (milk fudge with almond ‘butterfly wings’ like the buns we used to make at school) with mum was what made me so passionate about playing with food. She fuelled my curiosity for learning about how flavours really work and our shared enthusiasm for putting an Indian spin on everything. It is something I try to practice every single day.  We’d always make enough to feed the five thousand so quite often, the puddings would be taken to our temple for prashad – food which has been offered to the gods. Once it has been ‘blessed’ the food can be shared.  Unashamedly, this was my favourite …

Devnaa – Indian Inspired Chocolates

You, more than anyone know how much I love Indian-inspired desserts. When the lovely guys at Devnaa sent me a box of their spice-infused chocolates, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Cinnamon-laced dark chocolate, chocolate burfi and cardamom truffles sent me into a very welcome sugar coma. The first thing I noticed was the beautiful packaging. Deep purple and orange mendhi-inspired patterns, crepe paper and gold emboss – this beautiful box of chocs felt like it was created especially for me and my passion for fusion flavours. The caramels were by far my favourite. And they weren’t just any caramels – they were silky smooth and full of rich, buttery flavours. I’d devour an entire box of these, without a doubt. Another delicious surprise was the dark chocolate, cardamom and coconut number. With one little corner dipped in desiccated coconut, the coconut flavour wasn’t overpowered by the cardamom flavour which I was at first sceptical about. Other flavours included strawberry burfi covered in white chocolate, chai masala milk chocolate, crunchy cinnamon praline, saffron and …

Strawberry Cheesecake Falooda

  Don’t you just love the feeling you get when you’re in a restaurant and your waiter or waitress appears from the kitchen with your order? And also hate it when you think it’s yours but it’s really for the table next to you? I guess it just affirms that we’re all big kids just waiting to be fed at heart. When I think of Falooda I think of my dad and the big smile that emerges on his face whenever he rumbles the fact there’s something sweet on the menu. We’re two peas in a pod. When I was little he used to take the whole family to a favourite restaurant in either Leicester or Bradford on a Sunday afternoon and we’d have the most memorable family meals. Mum would order something classy and simple, Dad would get the thali and my brother and I would squabble over whether they put coriander in the daal or not. Regardless of what Ravi and I were arguing about, Dad would always diffuse the situation by asking …

Cashew Nut and White Chocolate Burfi

A love of sweets must run in my blood. Back in Kenya my grandfather worked in a sugar cane factory, boiling up vats of syrup bigger than a fully-grown wildebeest. He even knew syrup temperatures without having to use a sugar thermometer. My grandad’s passion for cooking with sugar led him to become one of the best sweet makers and teachers I’ve ever known. My other grandfather was head chef to one of the most well-known sugar merchants’ in East Africa. He’d rustle up the most spectacularly orange chickpea flour fudge and be ready to teach anyone willing to learn. Being just a tot when he passed away, my mum passed on his wonderful recipes to me. Indeed, the very nature of both my grandfathers’ livelihoods depended on the sweet stuff, which is why I put my love of sugar down to it pumping through my veins. What the fudge? These diamonds of sweet fudge have a delicious, crumbly and chewy texture from the ground cashew nuts. Laced with ground cardamom and vanilla extract, floral …