Mar 28, 2015

Recipe: Sweet and Sour Pumpkin Curry

Sweet pumpkin is also known as Kaddu, Manjal Pooshanikkai, Gummadikayi in different Indian languages. Often considered as a lowly, humble vegetable, pumpkin actually packs a great punch in terms of nutrients. It is a weight watcher’s delight.

Sweet pumpkin has less calories and more nutrients. To explain this better, it has four times lesser calories than sweet potato, 50 times lesser Sodium but 3 times more Vitamin C, double the folic acid, and similar Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Iron content. This means that you can eat more of sweet pumpkin than sweet potato (up to 4 times more) and still benefit from its rich nutrients without the calorie overload. More health for lesser calories, now is that not a winner?

Sweet pumpkin seems to be this gentle, powerful giant among vegetables. It looks elegant despite its rotund form, swathed in deep green or mustard yellow skin revealing a firm sweet golden flesh when cut. Lends a quiet dignified presence to a dish, knows to be at home in sweet or savoury recipes with equal ease. Delicious whether cooked with skin or without. Pumpkin often comes to my rescue when I have to cook in a hurry.

Every family has their favourite pumpkin recipe. This is ours. I hope you have as much fun cooking it and enjoying as we do.

Pumpkin in a bowl

Preparation Time – 20 minutes, Cooking Time – 10-15 minutes, Serves – 4-6.


  • Does NOT contain egg, gluten, soya, lactose, yeast, corn, nuts.
  • Suitable for gluten, lactose intolerance or nut allergy.


COOKWARE – Knife, Cutting board, Fry pan


  1. 2 cups chopped sweet yellow pumpkin (with* or without skin)
  2. 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  3. 1 cup chopped tomato
  4. 1 scant tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp turmeric
  6. 2 tsp jaggery powder
  7. 1 tsp garam masala powder
  8. 1 tsp sambhar powder
  9. 2 tsp cooking oil
  10. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  11. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  12. 2 tbsp coriander leaves for garnish

*Sweet pumpkin takes longer to cook with skin and lesser time without skin.

            METHOD -

            1. Clean, peel and chop all vegetables. Set aside separately.
            2. Heat oil in a fry pan, add mustard and cumin.
            3. When they sizzle and crackle, add in onions, fry on high flame for 3-4 minutes until they turn pink-brown.
            4. Next to go in is the chopped pumpkin. Saute on high heat for a minute, sprinkle water and cover and cook for a further 2 minutes.
            5. Finally add the tomatoes. Keep tossing over high heat until tomatoes mush up.
            6. Add salt, turmeric powder, jaggery, garam masala and sambhar powder. Mix everything well. Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes more.
            7. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice.

            Pumpkin Sweet and sour curry

            Notes -

            • Sweet pumpkin cooks very quickly. Cook lesser if you want to retain the shape of the vegetables. Cook longer if you like a mushy texture.
            • Keep stirring while on high heat to avoid scorching.
            • Add the powders after the vegetables are mostly done. This helps to retain flavours better.

            Life's simple pleasures

            Mar 20, 2015

            Desi Health Bites: Guthi Vankaya and a Sub-wich

            Guthi Vankaya is a famous Andhra dish. It is made by stuffing tiny brinjals/eggplants/aubergines with a freshly made spice powder. The stuffed vegetables are then cooked in a gravy or sautéed in generous amount of oil until cooked. When served as an accompaniment to rice, it is guaranteed to uplift your meal to a gastronomic experience. Know someone who hates brinjal? Then offer them this Guthi Vankaya. And watch the magic.
            This Guthi Vankaya recipe was created for the Fortune Rice Bran Oil Desi Health Bites Activity. I have grilled the stuffed Vankaya instead of going the more oil-rich frying route. Also, I tried a sandwich version where I’ve taken the curry one step closer to chomp-heaven! The sandwich is very healthy if you use whole grain bread. Omit the onion rings in the sandwich if you do not want to increase the calories. Instead, raw onion rings soaked in vinegar will add a different dimension to the sandwich too.
            Do not let the long list of ingredients scare you. They are quite easy to bring together. Once you bite into the sandwich, any other thought will promptly be forgotten. Go on, try it out and let me know. 
              Guthi Vankaya -grilled to perfection

            • Does NOT contain gluten, soya, corn, eggs, lactose.
            • Suitable for gluten, lactose intolerance or people with nut allergy.
            Preparation Time – 20 minutes, Cooking Time – under 30 minutes including grilling time, Serves - 6

            You Need -

            Cookware – Oven proof glass bowl, mixer grinder, fry pan, sandwich toaster, microwave oven with grill or OTG.

            Ingredients -

            For Guthi Vankaya -
            1. 500 grams tiny violet brinjals
            2. ¼ cup dry coconut (copra) slices
            3. ¼ cup chopped onion
            4. 2 tablespoon Coriander seeds (dhania)
            5. 2 tablespoon chana dal
            6. 2 teaspoon urad dal
            7. 6-7 red chillies
            8. A thin 1 inch cinnamon stick
            9. 2 cloves
            10. ½ teaspoon Cumin (jeera)
            11. 1 teaspoon salt
            12. 2 tablespoon Fortune Rice Bran Oil*
            For Onion Rings –
            1. 2 big red onions
            2. 1 cup Panko Bread crumbs
            3. 3 tablespoon cornflour
            4. 3 tablespoons Gram Flour (besan)
            5. A pinch salt
            6. ¼ cup water
            7. Fortune Rice Bran Oil for deep frying
            For Honey Mustard dressing –
            1. 2 tablespoon good quality mustard
            2. 2 tablespoon honey
            For Assembling Sub Sandwich –
            1. 6 numbers 6” hot dog rolls or Ciabatta bread
            2. 1 teaspoon butter
            3. 1 European Cucumber (Or Salad Cucumber)
            4. 3 medium tomatoes
            5. A few leaves each of Iceberg, Romaine and Curly green lettuce
            6. 6 Cheese slices
            Method –

             For Guthi Vankaya –
            1. Add ½ teaspoon oil to a fry pan, and fry these ingredients over medium heat to a golden brown – dry coconut slices, chopped onion, dhania, chana dal, urad dal, red chillies, cinnamon, cloves, jeera. Cool, and grind with salt to a coarse powder.
            2. Rinse the brinjals, chop off the stem. Make ‘X’ slits starting from the bottom of each brinjal, going up to the head, but take care to leave the head intact.
            3. Stuff the slits with the above powder.
            Plump stuffed brinjals/eggplants
            1. Preheat Grill in microwave oven at 220⁰C.
            2. Place the stuffed brinjals (Guthi Vankaya) head down and filling-side upward, in a suitable oven proof glass bowl. Drizzle the remaining oil over the brinjals and grill covered for the first 10 minutes, then open for the next 5-7 minutes.
            3. The Guthi Vankaya is ready when the brinjal feels soft to touch and the filling looks toasted.
            Side dish or sandwich, how owuld you like it?
              *A word about the oil used here – Fortune Rice Bran oil has a substance called ‘oryzanol’ which helps in reducing cholesterol in the body. Oryzanol works by lowering cholesterol levels and has free radical scavenging actions as well. The latter action helps the body by improving skin texture, reducing wrinkles and ageing, apart from protecting against dangerous cancer causing cells in the body.

            For Onion Rings –
            1. Mix the gram flour and cornflour with salt and just enough water to make a thin (but not watery) batter.
            2. Peel the onions, slice horizontally into thick slices, and separate into rings.
            3. Dip each ring into the batter, coat with panko bread crumbs and set aside.
            4. Repeat until all onion rings are coated. Heat about 1 cup Fortune Rice Bran Oil in a suitable fry pan and deep fry the rings till they are golden brown. Set aside.
            For honey mustard dressing –  Whisk both ingredients to a smooth homogenous mixture.

            For Assembling Sub Sandwich –
            1. Immerse the lettuce leaves in ice cold water. Rinse the cucumber and tomato and cut into thin slices. Separate the Guthi Vankaya into segments.
            2. Cut each hot dog bun/Ciabatta bread horizontally into two. Brush with butter and toast in sandwich maker/tawa for a few minutes. Remove to serving platter.
            3. Drizzle some honey mustard dressing over the bottom side of bun. The first layer of sandwich
            4. Place the brinjal segments over the dressing. Arrange cucumber, tomato slices over this. Drizzle some more dressing over the vegetables. Layer the cucumber and tomato
            5. Drain lettuce, shake dry and tear up by hand into bite size pieces. Place lettuce over the sandwich, top with cheese slice. Cover with top of bun and press down lightly. Bring on the lettuce... and the cheese
            6. Repeat with the rest of the hot dog buns and filling similarly.
            7. Your super healthy, tasty, filling, homemade Guthi Vankaya sub sandwich is ready.
            Onion rings to tempt you further..
             ta da, the sub-wich is ready

            “This blog post is in association with Fortune Foods as a part of their Desi Health Bites activity– The Hunt for the Best Rice Bran Oil Recipes. For more updates and healthy recipes using Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil,
            follow Fortune Foods at
            on Facebook at and
            on Twitter at @fortunefoods (

            Mar 17, 2015

            Too Maach Bengali Food Festival – Review

            Imaginatively named, the Bengali Food Festival and Four Points by Sheraton, Bangalore beckoned a few bloggers last Friday evening. I accepted, for the call of Shukto and Poshto was alluring, not to mention the gollas as well.

            Due respect was given to seafood, for it is Bengali food after all. Thankfully, the buffet spread offered more than maach (Bengali for fish) for a vegetarian like me. Apart from the Macher jhol, and Murg kashaNariyel diye cholar dal made its all important appearance. Fragrant with the bay leaves and panch phoron, I was happy to eat a bowl of this iconic dal by itself.

            Nariyel diye cholar dal Shak bhaja

            Aloor dum and Panner dalna were comforting. Were they authentic Bengali? Not sure. Were they tasty? Hell, yes. The Shaak bhaja, made with healthy red amaranth reminded you of a Bengali home with Kakima urging you to eat more of healthy greens!Aloor DumDoi begun and Paneer Dalna

            The highlight of the evening was the aromatic, cooked-to-perfection Subz dum biryani. If you like your biryani aromatic, with each grain cooked perfectly, imbued with a bouquet of spices, yet with a restrained use of chillies, then this is the place to find it. You could choose hot steamed rice to accompany the gravies or ask for fresh hot luchi, naans or other rotis to be brought to your table from the live counter.

            buffet counterSubz dum biryani

            There were some Tangra dishes to add weight to the buffet such as the Wok tossed noodles, the sweet and sour vegetables, a grilled vegetable with cherry tomato confit. Appetising and flavourful, they lent good colour and gusto to the table. A fresh salad counter and breads enhanced the dining experience.

            Tangra counter BreadsSalads

            When there is Bengali food, how can sweets be far behind? Desserts were well represented with the Chaner payeshKamla bhog, Mishti doi, Kala jamun, Roshogolla, and several more! While dessert is called the ‘king of all courses’, the ‘king’ of the evening’s desserts was the Chaner payesh. Creamy, divinely aromatic with the saffron, sweetened just right, I had to fight the urge to help myself to a second bowl of this Payesh.

            Misthi Doi Kala jamun and Pakeeza

            To sum up, I would have to loved to see some of the famous Bengali chutneys and baaja on the menu. I guess the recipes have been adapted to make even a non-Bengali food lover enjoy the spread. When there, be sure to indulge in the desserts. I can guarantee you will find happiness.

            The soothing interiors at ‘The Eatery’ with ambient lighting, comfortable seating, attentive staff willing to serve with a smile are all great positives for Four Points by Sheraton, Bangalore. 

            Too Maach Bengali Food Festival is on at Four Points by Sheraton, Whitefield from March 11th to March 22nd. Open for dinner from 7 pm to 11 pm. At INR 749 + per person, it is a good value for money event. Do check it out, folks.

            Mar 16, 2015

            Methi Muthia – Party Appetiser

            Muthia, the traditional Gujarati snack, is served either steamed or deep fried. Muthias are a favourite among all. I wanted to glam it up further and make it healthier, if that were possible. Is it even? Why not? Improving the protein by adding Rajgira atta/Amaranth flour is one step. You can be sure of meeting your growing child’s protein needs by using Amaranth flour in dishes such as this. Removing the whole wheat flour makes it gluten free. Serving it with grilled vegetables on a satay stick makes it chic and fit to be a party appetiser. Grilling the vegetables and steaming the muthia keeps the oil used to a minimum, thus making it a super healthy food. This dish is also fit for eating during religious fasting, because amaranth flour is used instead of wheat flour.
             Muthia on a skewer

            • Does NOT contain gluten, lactose, corn, soya, yeast eggs.
            Preparation Time –15 minutes, Cooking Time – 15 minutes, Serves – 12-14 skewers

            You need -

            Ingredients -
            For Muthias -
            1. 1 cup Amaranth (Rajgira /Ramdana) seeds / 1 cup Rajgira flour
            2. 1 cup Gram Flour (Besan)
            3. 2 packed cups Fenugreek leaves (Methi)
            4. 1 thumb size knob fresh ginger
            5. 3 green chillies
            6. Juice of 1 lemon
            7. 1-2 tablespoon thick curd
            8. 1 teaspoon salt
            For Chutney –
            1. ½ cup Mint leaves (pudina)
            2. 2 green chillies
            3. Juice of half lemon
            4. ¼ teaspoon salt
            5. A pinch sugar
            To Season –
            1. 2 tablespoons Fortune Rice Bran Oil 
            2. ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
            3. 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
            To Serve as Appetiser –
            1. 2 medium onions
            2. 2 each of yellow capsicums, red capsicums, green capsicums
            3. 2 tablespoon Fortune Rice Bran Oil
            4. 2 pinches salt
            5. 12-14 satay sticks/toothpicks
            Method -
            1. Clean pudina leaves and grind all ingredients for chutney together in a small mixer grinder. Grind to smooth paste and set aside.
            2. Pick only methi leaves from the bunch, discard stems. Measure 2 packed cups. Rinse well, drain and chop fine.
            3. Peel ginger and make a coarse paste of ginger and green chillies.
            4. Grind the Rajgira seeds in a mixer to a coarse powder.
            5. In a mixing bowl, mix this powder along with besan, ginger-chilli paste, salt, chopped methi leaves and lemon juice. Add curd, 1 teaspoon at a time, mix well by hand into a stiff dough. Use only as much curd as is needed to make the dough.
            6. Shape into smooth cylindrical logs about2 inches thick. Grease a container that fits into your pressure cooker. Place the muthia cylinders in the greased container and steam inside the pressure cooker without whistle for 10-12 minutes. A knife inserted into the muthia should come clean. If sticky, steam for 2 more minutes. 
            7. While the muthia is steaming, preheat your grill to 240C.
            8. Peel onions and cut into quarters. Chop the coloured capsicums into big even sized chunks. Place on a greased plate, drizzle with Fortune Rice Bran oil, and sprinkle salt over the vegetables. Mix well by hand, spread in a single layer on the plate and grill for 10-13 minutes.
            9. Heat 2 tablespoons Fortune Rice Bran oil for seasoning.
            10. Crackle mustard seeds in the hot oil. Add the white sesame seeds, brown slightly and switch off. 
            11. Once the muthias have cooled slightly, cut into half inch thick slices. Pour half of the seasonings over the muthias and reserve the other half.
            To Serve –
            1. Arrange different coloured capsicums, onion wedges and the muthia slices alternately on the satay stick.
            2. Drizzle the seasoning oil over the muthias again. Dot with pudina chutney or serve the satay sticks on a platter with a bowl of chutney as accompaniment.
            Party Appetiser - Muthia with grilled vegetables
            A word about the oil used in this recipe. Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil is made from Rice bran. Rice bran is the outer covering of the rice grain. So this oil is not made from rice. By virtue of this, Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil is perfectly suitable for using during religious fasting also.
            While making the muthias, I observed that the oil has a high smoke point(260 C). This makes it a stable cooking oil and does not make food greasy.
            This blog post is in association with Fortune Foods as a part of their Desi Health Bites activity – The Hunt for the Best Rice Bran Oil Recipes. For more updates and healthy recipes using Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil, follow Fortune Foods at , on Facebook at and on Twitter at @fortunefoods (

             Colourful array     

            Mar 13, 2015

            Carrot and Alfalfa Salad

            When did winter zoom past? Nobody knows. Not only is summer on us but it is exam season too. That means two things – light refreshing meals and hydration. When spending time over the stove top is a agony, we must think smart and eat sensibly. Salads are great additions to a meal and good at quenching thirst also. Salads are great even for snacking in between meals.

            Salads are mostly made of raw vegetables and fruits which have a higher moisture content. Since there is no cooking involved, the vegetables retain their juices and nourishing properties to the fullest. For more on how to make or when to not have salads, read through my article here.

            So, are alfalfa sprouts good for you? Here is the lowdown on alfalfa sprouts.

            These are a great source of protein, B complex vitamins, Vitamin K, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, Zinc, Copper. Also high in phytoestrogens. Traditionally used to treat  kidney ailments, diabetes, these wonder sprouts also mop up cholesterol from arteries. Great news for people with high cholesterol, or arterial plaques. While they are a wonder food for most people, some sets of population may have to proceed with caution.

            Pregnant women or convalescent people are better off eating all foods that are cooked, avoiding any raw sprouts including alfalfa. Since the sprouts mimic estrogen, women with low progesterone may do well to avoid eating it daily. People who have auto immune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, or Lupus may find an increase in their symptoms with prolonged daily consumption of these sprouts.

            It is also useful too remember that this caution is only necessary if you plan to eat raw alfalfa sprouts daily for several months. In an otherwise balanced diet that includes alfalfa sprouts once a week or thereabouts, in combination with a variety of other foods, the food only delivers its abundant vitamins and minerals with no significant damage due to its phytoestrogen, canavanine, or other components.

            Carrot and alfalfa salad

            This is a salad I rustled up for lunch today. I feel it looks colourful, happy and enticing. I’ve even added a surprise ingredient to encourage the younger ones to reach out for it eagerly. Want to know more? Read on for the recipe….


            • Does not contain gluten, lactose, dairy, corn, soya, yeast, eggs.
            • Suitable for gluten or lactose intolerant people.
            • *Contains nuts. People with nut allergy can omit the nuts in this recipe.

            Preparation time – 15 minutes + 30 minutes chilling time, Cooking Time – nil,  Serves – 2 main servings or 4 as accompaniment to meal

            You Need -

            Cookware – Peeler, Grater, Knife, Mixing Bowl, Mortar and pestle

            Ingredients -

            1. 1 cup grated red carrot (I used 1 long red carrot)
            2. 1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
            3. 1 fistful alfalfa sprouts
            4. 1 cup chilled drinking water
            5. 1 green chilli OR 1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
            6. 1/4 tsp salt
            7. 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
            8. a 1” square of peanut brittle or any nut brittle* (optional)

            Method -

            1. Rinse the alfalfa sprouts in running water and steep in the chilled drinking water until needed.
            2. Immerse the thinly sliced onion in the vinegar. Set aside.
            3. Rinse, scrub, peel and grate the carrot. Slice the green chilli into thin slanting slivers.  Coarsely crush the peanut brittle in a mortar and pestle. Do not powder it. Leave behind some small bits for your kid to pick up and and bite into with glee!
            4. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, drain water from the sprouts, add to the bowl, and give them all a good toss with salt. You may need to separate the sprouts with fingers.
            5. Chill before serving for flavours to marry each other well.

            Phulka, Rajma and Salad - balanced meal

            Mar 9, 2015

            Samai Pongal / Little Millet Pongal

            Ven Pongal or Khara Pongal is a much loved breakfast food in South India. However, you can have it any time of the day. Ven Pongal works at the brunch or dinner table with equal ease.  With the millet wave sweeping the diets of all, I feel this is a good time to share a recipe with millets.

            Samai rice/Little Millet replaces white rice in this preparation. Not only is it far healthier, the millet also cooks faster than rice. Isn’t that great news? Samai has 8 times more iron than white rice and 10 times more fibre. If that was not enough, it is higher in thiamin(vit. B1) , riboflavin(vit. B2) and folic acid content as well. Owing to their low glycemic index, millets are good grains to include in diets for weight management, diabetes, as well as in pregnancy. Since Pongal is usually cooked to a soft mush, this dish can be fed to weaning babies or toddlers also.

            Pongal tastes best when served hot, so packing for school lunch may not be a great idea. However, you can pack for an office lunch if you can re-heat your food at work place. Now that I have shared enough reasons to switch to the millet from rice, let us proceed to the recipe, shall we?

            Making Pongal is really simple. Cook a grain and a lentil together, fry some seasonings in a fry pan, mix the two with some salt and your dish is ready! Read on for the proportions and method here -

            Samai Pongal with chutney


            • Does not contain gluten, corn, soya, eggs, lactose, dairy.
            • Adding nuts is optional. Omit if you have nut allergy.

            Preparation time –10 minutes, Cooking Time –15 minutes, Serves – 4-5.

            You Need

            Cookware – Pressure Cooker, fry pan, mortar and pestle


            1. 1 cup Samai rice
            2. 1/2 cup Moong Dal
            3. 4 cups water
            4. 1/2 tsp salt
            5. 1 tsp cooking oil
            6. 1 tsp ghee
            7. 10 whole cashew nuts (optional)
            8. 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
            9. 1 tsp black pepper
            10. 1 tsp ginger juliennes
            11. 7-8 curry leaves, torn up
            12. 2 green chilli, slit (optional)

             Method -

            1. There are two methods to cook this pongal. You can choose between – 1. Pressure cook the Samai rice and Moong dal together in the pressure cooker. For this, rinse the grains together, cover with 3 times the volume of  water and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Or, 2. Pressure cook the dal alone, and the Samai rice on the stove top. For this, cover dal with double volume of water and cover the millet with double the volume of water and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Mix both in a serving bowl.
            2. Coarsely pound the black pepper and cumin in a mortar and pestle.
            3. To a fry pan, add in the oil + ghee, fry the cashew nuts (if using) to a golden brown.
            4. Tip in the pounded pepper +cumin, curry leaves, ginger juliennes, and green chilli.
            5. Add salt to the cooked mixture, pour in the seasonings and mix well. You may add 1/2 cup of hot boiling water to the mixture if it looks very hard. We want a soft mushy texture to the pongal.
            6. Serve steaming hot pongal with a spicy chutney, or sambar or even the traditional gothsu! Here I have served it with a tangy raw mango chutney.

            Perfect weekend breakfast or brunch

            Enjoy your power packed meal!

            Mar 2, 2015

            Eggless Thandai Mousse – Holi Special

            King Hiranyakashipu hated his son, Prince Prahlada for being a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. The father wanted his son killed because he refused to worship his father as God, instead. Hiranyakashipu was a self-proclaimed Lord of all three worlds – Heaven, Earth and Hell. His ego did not permit worship of any other being. So the king tried heinous methods to finish his own son’s life! The king inflicted several cruelties like poisoning the child’s food, ordering rogue elephants to trample on the tiny child, throwing the young five year old over a precipice, and many more. Surprisingly none of these even hurt as much as a hair on the child-devotee’s head.

            At his wit’s end, the evil king asked his sister Holika to sit with the child on her lap inside a raging fire. Holika had a special boon by which she would not be burnt by fire. However, the boon did not work when she sat with the evil intent of killing some one. The child sat through the raging fire on Holika’s lap with the Lord’s name on his lips and emerged safe. Holika was burnt to death instead.

            Holi is the festival celebrated in memory of this great devotee’s escape from fire. A huge bonfire is lit and ‘Holika’ the demoness is symbolically burnt. The victory of true devotion and unwavering faith is celebrated by lighting the bonfire and playing with colours.

            Whew, that was a long story, was it not?

            If you are still with me on this page, allow me to explain why I am narrating mythology here – I am a sucker for ‘victory of good over evil’ stories. I can listen to them any number of times. They give me new enthusiasm to tackle life headlong. With Holi festival around the corner, what better time than now to dwell on this legend and the faith and hope the story brings!

            I tried this Thandai Mousse as a variant from the usual Holi Thandai drink, because I wanted the flavours of Holi in a new avatar. I have adapted the basic thandai formula from Tarla Dalal’s website. Unlike my previous desserts, this one is neither low calorie nor low fat. It is indulgent, creamy, and exquisite. But then, it is so rich and flavourful that a small serving will satisfy you! Every spoonful takes you through a rhapsody of aromas, surprises you with the sharpness of pepper and engulfs you with the soothing notes of cardamom. Being eggless, this recipe can easily fit into your festive menu too.

            A note on the ingredients for a better thandai. Do not substitute black for white pepper corns. White pepper has a slight difference in the sharpness from the black ones. The black colour also ruins the appearance of thandai. Use only Lucknow saunf – this is different from regular saunf. You can recognise it by the greener, thinner appearance. The aroma of Lucknow saunf is also more intense than regular saunf and more suitable for using in sweet preparations. Lastly, use real good quality saffron, if you want the colour. The aroma of saffron in thandai is unbeatable. You could omit it for a variation in thandai flavours too. *The food colouring does not add any value to the mousse other than tingeing.

            Do yourself a good turn and try out this mousse this Holi.

            Eggless Thandai Mousse - Happy Holi!


            • Contains milk. NOT suitable for lactose intolerance.
            • Contains almonds. NOT suitable for nut allergy.
            • Contains soya as soy lecithin.
            • Does NOT contain egg, yeast, corn.

            Preparation Time –30 minutes + 8 hours chilling time, Cooking Time – 10 minutes, Makes about 10 servings.

            You Need -

            Cookware –Hand-held electric whisk, Mixer grinder, bowls, thick bottomed sauce pan, stirring spoon/ladle, refrigerator,

            Ingredients -

            For the thandai paste -

            1. 1/3 cup whole almonds
            2. 15 white pepper corns
            3. 2 tablespoon poppy seeds
            4. 2 tablespoon Lucknow saunf
            5. 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground cardamom powder
            6. A few teaspoons water
            7. a few strands of saffron (optional) OR* a tiny pinch orange food colouring (optional)

            For the mousse -

            1. **200 ml Tropolite (OR any non dairy whip topping) OR 200 ml fresh cream, preferably heavy cream
            2. 200 ml whole milk
            3. 1/2 cup sugar (taste and add more if needed)

            Method -

            1. **Chill whatever whipping cream you are using for the recipe well ahead of preparation.
            2. Soak the poppy seeds in boiling hot water for half an hour. Soak the almonds in boiling water separately for 10 minutes. Peel skin after 10 minutes of soaking.
            3. Drain water from poppy seeds, and grind with the skinned almonds, white pepper corns, and Lucknow saunf in a coffee grinder/small jar of mixer grinder to a very smooth paste. Add just enough water to help grinding.
            4. Heat milk in a thick bottomed saucepan. When milk comes to a boil, switch off flame. Add 3 tablespoons of the ground thandai mixture, stir in the sugar. Dissolve well and return the saucepan to flame. Stir over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly. You may need to boil for about 4-5 minutes. Cool to room temperature, pass through a sieve if it looks grainy, and chill in refrigerator at least for an hour.
            5. Whisk the chilled whipping cream you are using in a deep bowl until it forms stiff peaks. Whisk in the chilled ‘thandai milk mixture’ also.
            6. Ladle out about 3-4 tablespoons into each dessert bowl for individual portions, top with rose petals or saffron strands and chill for at least 4 hours before serving.

            Happy Holi everybody! Wishing for good to triumph over evil in your lives as well.

            Thandai Mousse garnished with rose petals

            Dessert for two