Indian Vegetarian Recipes (Collection #5: More sweets)

Coco Pista Pasand (Coconut Pistachio Sweetmeat)

Madhur Jaffrey's Flavours of India - Gujarat

This recipe is from Gujarat, a state of desert and semi-desert which runs along India's upper west coast. If there is haute cuisine for vegetarians, it can be found here. The region's traditional dishes are an amazing combination of flavours and textures, all based on sound nutritional principles, with delicious surprises like this version of a sponge roll; the outside is sweetened coconut and the inside is pistachios. Serve slices of the roll with fresh lychees for a traditional finish to an Indian meal.

  • 2 tbsp shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp white poppy seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp milk
  • For the Coconut Casing:

  • 120 g sugar
  • 5 cardamon pods ground in a grinder
  • 120 g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 4 tbsp canned condensed milk
  • To make the filling: put the pistachios into the container of a clean coffee grinder. Grind to a coarse powder. Put the ground pistachios, sugar, poppy seeds and milk into a bowl. Mix to a paste. Put aside.

    To make the coconut casing: put the sugar into a small heavy-bottomed pan. Add 4 tablespoons of water. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cook over a medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes until the syrup forms a single thread when a little is dropped from a spoon into a cup of cold water. Remove from the heat. Add the coconut and cardamom. Mix well. Add the condensed milk. Stir to mix.

    Lay a 23 cm piece of cling film on your work surface. While the coconut paste is still warm, roll it into a thick 9 inch sausage. Put the coconut sausage horizontally on to the centre piece of cling film and flatten it to form a rectangle about 9 cm wide.

    Roll the pistachio paste into a separate sausage of the same length. Put the rolled pistachio sausage on the coconut rectangle, slightly below the centre, a little closer to your end. With the aid of the cling film, fold the coconut paste over the pistachio paste. Press down on the cling film to firm up the roll. Now continue rolling, being careful to keep the cling film on the outside of the roll, until you have a slim "Swiss Roll". Press down evenly on the cling film to get a neat roll. Let the roll cool and harden a bit. Remove the cling film and cut crossways into 1 cm thick slices.


    Cardamom is the vanilla of India, used in most desserts and sweetmeats. If you can't find whole pods, substitute powdered ground seeds which are more readily available. Only white poppy seeds are used in India, usually to thicken sauces.

    Look for unsweetened desiccated coconut in health food stores.

    Copyright of the British Broadcasting Corporation


  • 2 quarts milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 teaspoon fine grained semolina
  • 3 to 4 drops rose essence
  • 1 quart half and half
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 1 tablespoon shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • Make the chena with the milk and lemon juice according to the directions in the preceding recipe with this difference. Hang up the milk curds for 2 hours instead of 1/2 hour. Knead thoroughly. Make a ball and set it aside. Put the 3 cups of sugar, 6 cups of water, and the cardamom pods in a deep 9 1/2 to 10 inch skillet or saute pan. Bring to a fast simmer over a medium flame. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, turn the heat to low and let the syrup simmer gently for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat.

    Flatten the ball of chhena and add the semolina as well as the rose essence to it. Knead for 5 minutes, making sure the semolina and rose essence are well mixed in. Now make 20 crack-free balls, rolling each with just a little pressure between the palms of your two hands.

    Bring the syrup to a simmer over a medium flame. Drop the balls into the syrup. Bring to a simmer again. Adjust the heat so the syrup simmers gently for 5 minutes. During this period, move the balls around and turn them over occasionally, using a very gentle touch. Make sure you do not damage the balls. Turn the heat up and bring the syrup to what might be described as a furious simmer. The syrup should look like a mass of tiny moving bubbles, but it should never boil over. Sprinkle the balls with 2 tablespoons of water, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. During this period, the balls should swell up.

    Uncover, sprinkle the balls with another 2 tablespoons of water, cover and cook, simmering furiously for another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the balls to an empty bowl. ( the syrup can now be discarded. ) Pour the half and half over the balls and let them soak in it for 3 hours.

    Take the balls gently out of the half and half with a slotted spoon and put them in another bowl. Pour the half and half into a skillet or saucepan and boil it down until you have about 2 cups left. Turn off the heat. Crush the cardamom seeds finely in a mortar and mince the pistachios. Add the crushed cardamom, the minced pistachios, and the one tablespoon of sugar to the reduced half and half. Pour this half and half over the chhena balls. Allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and serve cold, as a dessert along with the creamy sauce.

    from Madhur Jaffrey's World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking

    Paneer Lemon Cheesecake - Clawson

    Recipe By : Long Clawson Dairy Ltd, Melton Mowbray, Leicester, England

    Serving Size : 4

    Preparation Time :0:00

    Categories : Cheesecake , Desserts
    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    9 ounces paneer -- blended until smooth
    1 can condensed milk, sweetened
    1/2 pint double cream
    2 lemons
    8 ounces digestive biscuits -- crushed
    3 ounces butter

    An old favorite to enjoy in a new way.

    Melt the butter over a low heat and stir in the biscuit crumbs. Press into a large loose-bottomed flan tin and refrigeate. Blend paneer until smooth,

    Heretical but Glamorous Rava


  • Basic Rava
  • edible silver or gold foil
  • 1/3 cup unblanched almonds
  • pistachios, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom seeds, crushed
  • nutmeg
  • splash of rosewater
  • scatter of rose petals
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • fruit (optional)
  • Notes on Ingredients:

    Rava is the Gujarati word for semolina, which Indian groceries sell by its more common name of sooji. Cream of Wheat (regular- not instant) will do in a pinch.

    Brands of rose water vary in nature and quality. Indian rose water tends to have a peculiar undertone. I would stick with the Middle-Eastern or French brands because they have a truer rose note, and be sure you get the culinary rather than the cosmetic kind.

    Edible silver foil is sold in Indian groceries. For gold, you may have to go to a framer and gilder, where you can buy booklets of leaves of pure gold. Many Indians believe in the fortifying power of ingested precious metals. Actually their benefit, if any, is in the mind's eye.

    Starting with basic Rava, wait until the mixture cools slightly and tip into the bowl of a food processor with about unblanched almonds. Process until the mixture smooths out and the almonds are finely chopped. Add cardamom seeds crushed in a mortar and a splash of rose water.

    Whip heavy cream to soft peaks and fold into lukewarm or room-temperature Rava. Pour into a serving bowl (silver if you like) and refrigerate until you want to produce dessert.

    Garnish with as much edible silver or gold foil as you are moved to use, a strewing of chopped pistachios, a light grating of nutmeg, and at the very last moment a scatter of dewy rose petals (unsprayed, of course).

    Rava is usually served on its own, but at Navroz we like it with strawberries, at other times with raspberries, sliced mangoes or blood oranges. Serves 10 to 12.

    Uploaded by Lon Hall, 1992

    New layout by Uwe Molzahn, 1994

    Indian Rice Pudding (Kheer)

    serves 6

  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 quarts milk
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbs. rose water
  • Wash the rice and boil in the water over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, until the rice is one quarter done. Drain in a colander.

    In a saucepan, bring the milk and cardamom pods to a boil over medium heat. Add the rice and cook for 30 to 40 minutes, until the rice is soft and the milk is very thick. Stir occasionally at first and then constantly when the milk begins to thicken, to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the sugar, almonds, ground cardamom, and nutmeg and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

    Remove from the heat and set aside. Remove the cardamom pods from the pudding and sprinkle with the rose water.

    Serve warm or chilled in dessert bowls.

    from Feast of India by Rani

    Baked Indian Pudding

    Keywords: Pudding, dessert, Indian


  • 1 qt milk, scalded
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs butter
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • Preparation:

    Mix sugar, cornmeal and seasonings. Add to scalded milk and molasses and cook slowly (stirring) about 5 minutes.

    Pour into a greased baking dish and dot with butter. Bake 1 hour at 300d. Add remaining cup milk and continue to cook 2 hours longer. Serve with butter, cream or ice cream.

    Chaat (Fiery Fruit Salad)

    In Indian, this nuclear fusion fruit salad is sold from sidewalk stands as a cooling snack on hot days. Serve with milder main dishes to assure survival to dessert.

  • 3 lbs of mixed fruit in season*
  • 4 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBS cayenne
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garam masala (recipe follows) (optional)
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger (optional)
  • *include 2 oranges and 2 slightly underripe bananas. Be sure to use 3-4 more types of fruit, such as apple, pear, nectarine, honeydew melon, plums, guava, mango, pitted cherries, pineapple, kiwi, seedless grapes.

    Peel and seed oranges and chop in coarse chunks (about 1 1/2 inches). Peel bananas, chop then in 1-inch lengths and add to the oranges. Peel and seed such fruits as apples and melons and chop in 1 1/2-inch chunks. Place all fruit in a large serving bowl and mix in lemon juice. Mix all the spices in a separate bowl, pour over the fruit and mix well with your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 1 hour. Makes 6 servings.

    Gajar Halwa Carrot Dessert

    One of India's most delicious and nutritious desserts.

  • Water
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 Tbsp each of chopped blanched almonds and raisins
  • 1/4 tsp ground saffron
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice, heated
  • Add 1 can of water to the condensed milk and bring to a boil. Add carrots and cook over low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add butter gradually and cook until fat begins to separate. Add the almonds and raisins and saffron that has been dissolved in the lime juice. This dessert may be served hot or cold.

    Narkeler Payesh Indian (Coconut Scented Rice Pudding)

    Rice pudding prepared with milk is more common in Bengal, but this coconut milk version, which is quicker to make, has a fragrant, sweet aroma. Since coconut has an affinity with fish, I often serve this dish after a seafood meal. Try as is, or arrange slices of fresh ripe papayas, bananas, or mangoes around the pudding.

    This dessert is best enjoyed soon after it is made. If allowed to sit for several hours, it will become dry. If that happens, add a little milk (or coconut milk), reheat, and serve.

  • 3/4 cup Basmati or other fine long grain rice
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbs. raisins (preferably golden)
  • 2 Tbs. toasted cashews or slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh or unsweetened canned coconut milk, stirred until evenly mixed
  • Note: You can substitute a mixture of 1/2 cup coconut milk and 3/4 cup whole or 2% low fat milk

    Garnish: chopped raw pistachios

    1. Bring rice and water to boil in a pan. Simmer, covered, until all water is absorbed and rice is tender, 20 or so minutes.
    2. Add raisins, cashews, and cardamom. Dissolve sugar in the coconut milk and stir into the rice mixture gently, so as not to break the rice kernels. Raise heat slightly and cook uncovered until the mixture thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool slightly. Garnish with pistachios and serve.

    6 servings

    from The Healthy Cuisine of India by Bharti Kirchner

    Cham-Cham (Pleasure Boats)

    These milky-white ovals, floating in a clear sweet sauce, are irresistible.

    For the dumplings:

  • Fresh cheese
  • 1 tsp. regular Cream of Wheat
  • 10 to 12 unsalted raw pistachios, chopped
  • For the syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • Flavoring: dash of rosewater (optional)

    1. Make sure that the fresh cheese is well drained; too much moisture may cause the dumplings to crack as they cook. Place the well drained and well kneaded cheese on a board. Sprinkle Cream of Wheat evenly over the cheese and knead again to uniformly incorporate it. Let rest a few minutes.
    2. Prepare the dumplings: Pinch off portions of the dough and roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Gently insert your little finger halfway into each ball, place 1 or 2 pistachio bits in the indentation, and reshape into a smooth ball that doesn`t show any cracks on the outside. Flatten into an oval about 2 inches long and 3/4 inches thick. ( Use any remaining pistachios for garnish.)
    3. Make the syrup: Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a deep pan about 10 inches in diameter .. Boil for 10 minutes, then lower the heat. Place each ball on a spoon and gently lower into the syrup. Simmer, covered, 1 hour.
    4. Transfer cham-chams and any remaining syrup to a large bowl. Let cool, then refrigerate for several hours or, for best results, up to 2 days. Sprinkle with rosewater and decorate with any remaining pistachios.

    Makes about 20 cham-chams.

    from The Healthy Cuisine of India by Bharti Kirchner

    Ricotta Halva


  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk powder
  • a few threads saffron soaked in warm milk
  • powdered cardamoms
  • pistachios for garnishing
  • Preparation

    Mix top four ingredients together and cook on low heat till dry and crumbly. Add last three ingredients and blend while still warm.

    Gajar Halva


  • Carrots 1 lb.
  • Half and Half 1 pint
  • Sugar 1_2cup
  • Cardamom 3-4
  • Raisins handful
  • Cashew nuts handful
  • Preparation

    1. Add a little butter to a frying pan and heat to coat the pan. Roast cashew nuts until golden brown and add the raisins to the pan for a few seconds. Remove the cashews and raisins and keep aside.
    2. Grate the carrots and add to the pan. Add Half and Half, and heat for about an hour, starting with high heat, stirring, and lowering the heat after the mixture starts boiling. Heat until almost dry.
    3. Add sugar, mix, and continue to cook until damp/dry.
    4. Remove from stove and add cashews and raisins and cardamoms.

    Coconut Burfi - A South Indian sweet


  • 700 gms Sugar
  • 2 Coconuts
  • 35 gms Cashewnuts
  • 7-8 Cardamom
  • 70 gms Ghee
  • Procedure

    1. Shred the coconut. Break the cashewnuts into small pieces and fry them in ghee. Powder the cardamom.
    2. Heat water in a vessel containing 1/4 ltr. of water and add the sugar to it. After the sugary liquid is no longer thin, add the coconut shreds and heat it until it turns thick.
    3. After sufficient stirring, add the fried cashewnut pieces and ghee and stir the mixture well. Add the powdered cardamom and mix it thoroughly and stop heating.
    4. Pour the mixture onto a plate which could accomodate sufficient thickness. Cut into rectangular pieces while hot.


    This recipe is a translation from 'samaithu paar', a cookbook in Tamil.



    Coconut Fudge (Naryal ki Barfi)

    Serves 10

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 Tbl. veg. oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 coconut, shelled and grated
  • 1 tsp. ground green cardamom
  • Lightly grease a medium size shallow baking pan or cookie sheet. In a large saucepan, bring the milk and oil to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the sugar and add the grated coconut and cardamom, stirring constantly for 6-8 minutes, until the coconut becomes thick and glazed. Remove from the heat and pour into the baking pan. Cool, cut into squares, and serve.

    From Feast of India by Rani.

    Shrikhand-Indian Yogurt Desert

    Categories: Desert

    Calories per serving: 210

    Number of Servings: 3

    Fat grams per serving: 10g

    Approx. Cook Time:

    Cholesterol per serving: 15



  • 4 cups Yogurt, plain
  • 1/2 tsp Saffron threads
  • 1/4 cup Sour Cream
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 4 green Cardamon pods, husked, ground Fruit, fresh, berries, etc.
  • 2 TBS Almonds, sliced, toasted
  • Directions

    Line a colander with double thickness of cheesecloth. Spoon the yogurt into the cloth, gather up corners, tie with string and hang to drip dry for at least 15 hours. (In summer do this in fridge.) Yields about 1 3/4 cups yogurt cheese

    Place saffron threads in small pan and toast over low heat until brittle. Cool and crush with a rolling pin.

    Transfer yogurt cheese to a bowl. Add the saffron, sour cream sugar and cardamon. Mix thoroughly with the back of a spoon. (May be made up to 4 days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.)

    To serve, scoop into sundae dishes or goblets. Top with fruit of choice and garnish with almonds.

    Serves 2 or 3 midgets.

    Cake-Like Fried Milk Balls in Scented Syrup (Gulab Jamun)

    from Yamuna Devi

    The dough for this dish takes only minutes to assemble, but the balls must be fried under carefully controlled temperatures. Some recipes call for more flour, but the less flour in the dough the better the qulaity of the gulab jamun. This recipe takes time and attention

    2 1/2 Cups water 2 1/4 Cups sugar 1 Tbsp rose water or 1/2 tsp rose essence ghee for deep frying 2 Cups instant nonfat dried milk powder 1 1/2 Tbsp self-rising flour 1/2 cup warm milk, or as needed 1 tsp ghee or unsalted butter
    1. Combine the water and sugar in a 3 qrt pan over moderate heat and stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Raise the heat and boil for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rose water or essence and set aside.
    2. Pour ghee to a depth of 2 1/2 - 3 inches in any deep-frying vessel at least 10 inches in diameter. Place over very low heat while making your dough.
    3. Brush a plate with a film of oil. Place the milk powder and flour on a sheet of waxed paper or in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Combine the warm milk and 1 tsp ghee in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the dry mixture with one hand, stir with the other hand to make a pliable dough. Working quickly, wash and dry your hands and rub them with oil. Divide the dough into 24 portions and, exerting pressure, roll each portion between your palms into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a plate.
    4. Raise the heat to moderately low and when the ghee reaches 215 degrees F (102 deg C), slip in the balls, one by one. They will sink to the bottom of the pan but do not try to move them. Instead, gently shake the pan to keep the balls from browning on just one side. After about 5 minutes, the balls will rise to the surface. Now they must be gently and constantly agitated with a wooden spoon to ensure even browning. After 5 minutes, the temp should increase to 220 deg F (104 deg C); after 10 minutes to 225 deg F (107 C); after 15 minutes to 230 deg F (110 C). After about 25 minutes, the balls should be golden brown and the temp between 245-250 F (118 - 121 C). Remove one ball and slip it into the syrup. If it does not collapse in 3 minutes, add the remaining balls. Otherwise, fry the balls for about 5 minutes more. The balls should soak in the syrup for at least 2 hours before serving and may be stored, well sealed and refrigerated, for up to four days. Return to room temp or warm before serving.

    Makes 24 gulab jamuns.

    Mango Milk Shake - A refreshing Indian summer drink

    This is a delicious, refreshing, and easy-to-make drink for hot summer days.

    Ingredients (6 12-oz drinks)

  • 1 lb mango pulp (See note)
  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 12 ice cubes
  • Procedure

    1. Put half of the mango pulp, 3 cups of milk, 1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar, and 6 ice cubes into the blender. Blend until smooth. Serve.
    2. Repeat step 1, quickly, as people will already be asking for more.


    Canned mango pulp is available in Indian and Latin American grocery stores. The "mango nectar" that is widely available in American grocery stores does not have nearly enough mangoes per unit volume to make this drink. If you are lucky enough to be able to get fresh mangoes, you can use the flesh of one ripe mango for about 1 cup of the mango pulp; if you do that, increase the amount of sugar to 2 Tbsp per batch, as canned mango pulp always has added sugar. You can make interesting variations on this recipe by using plain yogurt for some or all of the milk, and by adding a tart counterbalance to the mangoes, such as shredded kiwi fruit.


    Difficulty: trivial.

    Time: 3 minutes.

    Precision: no need to measure ingredients.


    Ratna Sarkar

    Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Palo Alto CA

    c/o JLH.Vivek@SU-Sierra.ARPA



  • 2 cups Rice
  • 2 cups Brown sugar (Jaggery or Bellam)
  • Poppy seeds
  • Oil to fry
  • Method:

    Soak rice for 24 hours and then dry it on a flat plate with the rice evenly spread in a single layer. Drying can be done by putting the rice in front of a fan or just leave it as it is on a table till it is completely dried. The dried rice should be dry roasted slightly in a pan to remove any traces of water. This rice should be finely powdered in a blender.

    Syrup should be made by mixing 2 cups of water and 2 cups of Brown sugar and then boiled to a level where it is neither too sticky nor too diluted (THEEGA PAAKAM should be fine). Now with the syrup still on the stove set to low flame, the rice powder should be added slowly to this syrup by mixing it evenly till it becomes a paste. Now this paste should be set aside and small round balls the size of a lemon should be made and then should be patted in the poppy seeds container and pressed flatly. These should be fried in oil heated to a medium high flame until brown. These browned aresalu should be pressed to drain excess oil.

    Now they should be ready to eat.

    P.S: You may not get these done perfectly on your first attempt but by the second or third time you should be all set to become Master of Aresalu. So I suggest you try in small quantity during the trials.