Category Archives: Desserts

Sevai Kheer (aka “Pasta” Kheer)

I have not had any cooking to do today, since we are invited to eat at the home of a friend this evening.

So I decided in the afternoon that this would be a good opportunity to make some kheer for the girls’ gouter. They often have a glass of milk when they come back from school, with some fruit , or a slice of cake, or a muffin. But milk is not something Indira especially is particularly fond of; so a bowl of kheer will break the monotony in that routine.

They both like this kheer a lot, as does Shri. I often make it for dessert when we have friends at home for a meal, and most people love it.

When the girls were younger, they called it “pasta” kheer and they were not wrong, because I do in fact make it with angel hair pasta, instead of with vermicelli, which is difficult to find here. This kheer cooks fairly quickly too, which is always a plus in my book 🙂

Sevai Kheer:

6 tablespoons of sevai(vermicelli) or angel hair pasta

3 tablespoons of ghee

2 tablespoons of raisins

4-6 tablespoons of sugar (add less or more, depending on how sweet you like your kheer)

750 ml – 1 litre of milk

1 teaspoon of freshly powdered green cardamom seeds

In a thick-bottomed pan, warm the ghee, and add the vermicelli/pasta.

Fry the vermicelli for a few minutes, turning it occasionally, till it begins to acquire a light brown color. Now add the raisins, and fry everything for another couple of minutes, till the vermicelli starts to turn a darker brown. Add the milk now, and cook the mixture, stirring every few minutes, till the vermicelli is very soft. By this point, the milk will have started to thicken too, so scrape the sides of the pan every time you stir the mixture, to recover and add back the bits on the side -this is basically khoya, I guess, and certainly adds to the taste of the kheer🙂.

When the vermicelli is as soft as you’d like,add the sugar and the cardamom powder, and allow everything to cook together for another 5-7 minutes before taking it off the heat.

Ideally, the kheer should by now be a very light brown/creamy color.

This kheer sometimes thickens further by the time it cools down, so take that in to account while you are cooking it and waiting for the milk to thicken.

Eat it hot or cold – either way this kheer is quite delicious 🙂

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Their favorite Cake – Chocolate and Date Loaf

As I put together the ingredients, earlier today, for the cake that I took as dessert to the home of friends that we ate with this evening, I realized that this is the third time this month that I am baking the same cake. I made it for Indira’s birthday when we invited all our family friends to a picnic, and it is the one that I sent to school too, for her class.

But this is the cake that she and Noor love best, of all the various recipes I have tried over the years.

This recipe makes a large-ish cake (12- 16 quite big pieces) so tonight it was very gratifying to see it go quite quickly though we were only 5 adults, Indira, Noor, and our hosts’ 14 year old son 🙂

Chocolate and Date Loaf:

2 eggs

3/4 cup melted butter ( I use a cup that is a 200 ml measure)

1 cup sugar

2 cups of wheat (whole or refined) flour

1/2 cup of cocoa

1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of baking soda

1 cup of soft dates,finely chopped

1 cup of boiling water

1 tsp of baking soda

1 and a 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence

Combine the last 4 ingredients in a bowl and set aside to cool.

Best the first three ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl.

Add the date mixture after it has cooled down to the eggs,butter and sugar mixture. Now stir in the rest of the ingredients, and pour in to a cake tin (if it is not the non-stick variety then of course the tin will need a light coat of melted butter and then a sprinkling of flour over that).

Bake at 180 degrees C for 50-60 minutes till a knitting needle/table knife comes out clean.

This cake goes really well with some creme anglaise or vanilla ice cream served on the side . It makes quite a fancy dessert at parties 🙂

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Filed under Cakes and Muffins, Desserts, Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks

Remembering Biji – Gajar ka Halwa

I started this blog by talking about the shakkarparas and gajar ka halwa I made for Diwali last year.

So I am back to write about the halwa, a dessert that Indira and her father just love.

Though it is in my mother’s kitchen that I first learned to make it myself, I still remember watching my Biji (my maternal grandmother) cook this halwa on her chulha in my grandparents house in a village in Rajasthan, stirring in the cream – or ghee- that gives it that special taste. It was a special treat when we visited her during our winter holidays from school, and a couple of times  we even carried some back all the way from Rajasthan to Bihar, in a big steel box, for our father who loved it as much as we did.

And back in those days, since there were no microwaves, she would – as does my mother to this day -add a little more ghee to keep the halwa from sticking to the pan every time she re-heated the leftover portion, which enhanced the taste a little more each time…

My brother likes to tell my mother  that though she is a good cook, her gajar ka halwa is not in the same league as Biji’s.

Maybe it is the love and effort they put in to it, or it might well really be because of the copious amounts of cream and ghee; either way, I do agree with my brother that their gajar ka halwa is the best in the world.

Here’s my recipe, based on theirs:

Gajar ka Halwa

500 gms carrots

500-600 ml full cream Milk

4 tbsp ghee

10 almonds, skinned and halved

2 tbsp raisins

¾ cup sugar (a 200ml measuring cup)

5 green cardamom pods

a few small strips of beaten silver leaves

Peel, wash and grate the carrots in a food processor. Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the carrots, stir the mixture and leave to cook on medium heat, stirring quite frequently until the carrots are very soft and the milk almost completely dries up.

In the meanwhile, after adding the carrots to the milk, soak the almonds in hot water for about 20 minutes, then remove their skins  and halve them. Soak the raisins as well, in half a cup of hot water, then drain the water after 15-20 minutes. Powder the seeds from the cardamom pods.

Once the milk in the pan has almost dried up, add the sugar and cook again until the milk dries up completely. Now add the ghee and cook the halwa for another 7-8 minutes. To finish, stir in the raisins, the almonds and the cardamom powder and after transferring to a serving bowl, layer the silver strips on top.

You could also add a few teaspoons of khoya or dessicated coconut towards the end of the cooking process.

This is just a great dessert on a winter evening.

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Filed under Desserts, Picnic Food