Wishing all readers a very colourful and happy Holi. The season is filled with fun, happiness, spring and a riot of colours. I find all food sites, blogs filled with recipes for the special festival menu. Mawa gujiya, samosa, kachori, and several other delicacies.
My dessert is inspired by the flavours of the festival too. I had tried out a Thandai mousse last year. Somehow, I’m surprised it has not found it’s way to the blog. So it had to be panna cotta this time. I have kept the cream to milk ratio at 1/2:1, thereby reducing on the fat content. I plan to try it out with skim milk alone the next time.
Initially, I was quite worried about getting the consistency, flavour and proportions right. After making a mental map of the procedure, and after discussing the recipe with two of my great friends, Deepa and Sreelatha, I decided to go ahead and test it out. Quite happy with the outcome, even if I say it myself. But then, unless you try it out and fill me in, I wouldn't know for sure.
For the main flavouring, I followed Tarla Dalal's recipe to make the thandai paste. For the Panna cotta, here is what you need -
- Home made or store bought Thandai paste – 2 level tbsp
- Skim milk – 1 cup
- Fresh cream – 1/2 cup ( I used Amul )
- Sugar – 5 tsp
- Agar agar – 7 gm
- Water – 1/2 cup
- Butter or vegetable oil – 1/4 tsp, for greasing
Optional – 2 tbsp Khus Syrup as a top layer for the panna cotta. I used store bought syrup.
- Combine the skim milk, fresh cream, sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan, and set on heat. Keep over medium flame and stir constantly.
- In a separate smaller saucepan, heat the 1/2 cup water, and stir in the agar agar. Set this over a low flame too and keep stirring to mix well and to avoid burning. If you cannot manage to stir both at the same time, get the milk mixture boiled first and then proceed with the agar agar.
- When the milk mixture reaches a boil, add the thandai paste and simmer for a minute, and keep stirring again. After a minute, set aside. Be alert to the milk mixture, it can boil over quite suddenly. Strain through a mesh sieve into a suitable bowl.
- If you have not started on the agar agar + water boiling as yet, go ahead with it now. You may need to simmer it for 5-7 minutes over low flame until it has blended into a homogenous jelly like texture. Pour through a sieve or tea filter directly into the milk mixture. Mix well, and return the milk to heat. Simmer again for a minute, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Grease 6 dessert bowls / katoris / cups with the butter/oil. Divide the mixture into the bowls. Cover with cling film / lids and refrigerate for an hour or two.
- To unmould, run a wet sharp knife through the sides of the panna cotta and invert into serving plate. You may serve directly from the bowls too.
- Optional toppings include some khus syrup drizzled, or few strands of saffron, or some cardamom powder sprinkled, or rose petals for garnish!
- Happy Holi and enjoy your wonderful Panna cotta.