Thandai Panna Cotta


Panna cotta is an Italian dessert which literally means cooked cream. It is a mildly flavoured combination of sweetened milk and cream set with an agent like gelatin. I’m vegetarian and hence, I used Agar Agar (china grass) instead of gelatin. Even a simple payasam can be set into a panna cotta. I know it sounds weird. But, you should try it to believe me. Add some soaked Agar Agar to hot payasam. Mix well. Pour into individual cups and set in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 hours. Your payasam panna cotta is ready!

Taking this concept forward, I tried the holi ka thandai and made panna cotta out of it. The result was mind blowing. The creaminess of thandai set into tiny glasses and chilled is a match truly made in heaven. Try it and experience the awesomeness.



Milk – 500 ml

Cashew – 1 tablespoon

Melon seeds – 1 tablespoon

Almonds – 1 tablespoon

Pepper – 1 teaspoon

Fennel – 1 teaspoon

Saffron – 1 pinch

Cinnamon – 1 tiny piece

Cardamom – 5 numbers

Rose petals – 1 tablespoon (dried)

Sugar – 4-5 tablespoons

Agar Agar – 4 -5 grams (soaked for minimum 10 minutes)

*Agar Agar is commonly available in a 10 gram pack. So, half of the pack would be perfect for this recipe


Add all the ingredients except Agar Agar to milk and boil on low flame for around 20 minutes. Strain the milk and grind the well-cooked nuts and spices to a smooth paste. Meanwhile, soak Agar Agar in a few spoons of water. Add the nuts and spices paste back into milk along with soaked Agar Agar and give the mixture a boil by stirring constantly. Pour into individual portions (or shot glasses) and refrigerate for atleast 4 hours. Serve chilled.

*Adding the whole nuts and spices to milk helps in reducing constant stirring. It also helps in grinding the nuts and spices to a smooth paste.


Know Your Ingredient

Agar Agar


Agar Agar, also called china grass, is a gelatinous substance made from red algae. It is a vegetarian substitute for gelatin. It is used to set foods like puddings and jelly. It is tasteless and takes on the taste of whatever it is mixed with, thus, giving you many possibilities.

Agar Agar is a good source of iron and helps in fighting anaemia. It is rich in many important micro-nutrients and also an excellent source of fiber. It is also rich in calcium and manganese.

Agar Agar is free from sugar, carbohydrates and fat and it provides a lot more vitamins and minerals than gelatin.

So, who knew Agar Agar is so healthy. Come on! This one reason is enough to use it in our desserts and make mind blowing flavours look and feel as yummy as they get!

Type Gelatinous substance used to set puddings
Form Comes in three forms – bar, flakes or powder. Bar and flakes are more common in India.
How to Buy Check the date of manufacture for the freshest pack.
Storage Stays well for months in room temperature.


You can find more useful information about Agar Agar on


Paan Burfi



Would you like something refreshing after a meal which can also be a dessert? Sounds fun isn’t it? Here I am, with another recipe that uses paan (betel) leaves and the delicate fragrance of rose petals in a burfi. I tried this combination when I got bored of paan shot (my go-to recipe for leftover paan leaves on festival days) and wanted to try something new with paan leaves. Try it out and I’m sure you will enjoy it as much as we did.


Paan leaves – 6-8

Gulkand – 2 tablespoons

Instant BadamMix – 1 ¼ cup (mine has sugar; if your mix doesn’t have any, make sure to adjust the quantity of sugar)

Sugar – ½ cup

Water – 1/3 cup

Ghee – ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon for greasing

Dried rose petals – for garnish


Ghee – a few teaspoons


Clean and grind paan leaves along with gulkand into a smooth paste.

Mix sugar and water and boil till the mixture is at a one-string consistency*. Add ghee, paan mixture and badam mix to the sugar syrup and mix till it all comes together and leaves the sides of the pan. Switch off and pour immediately onto a greased plate. Garnish with powdered dried rose petals. Wait till it cools downs and cut into desired shape.

*One-string consistency is the perfect sugar syrup consistency to make burfis. To check for this consistency, allow the sugar-water mixture to boil for around 3-4 minutes.Then take a quarter teaspoon out of the syrup, cool it a bit and check by pinching and pulling apart the syrup in-between your thumb and fore-finger. If you see a stretching thread which does not break at least for an inch,your syrup is at the one-string consistency and ready to go!

Know Your Ingredient

red rose flower

Photo by Cindy Gustafson on

Gulkand is a sweet preserve made of rose petals. It is a good ayurvedic medicine which is loaded with healing properties (not to mention delicious!). The traditional way of preparing gulkand involves layering rose petals and sugar in a glass jar and keeping in sunlight for about 3-4 weeks until the rose petals get integrated into the sugar. But, here’s an easy way to make instant gulkand in roughly 10 minutes.

Take the petals of 25-30 fragrant roses. Wash and chop them roughly. Heat about 200 grams of cane sugar along with a few teaspoons of water. Once the sugar melts, add in the rose petals and stir for roughly 10 minutes. By this time, the sugar-rose mixture would come together. Add a bit of honey at this stage if you prefer the jam to be sweet. If not, you can skip the honey.

Type Preserve
How to Buy If you are buying, look for an organic one.
Storage When used with a dry spoon, It can be stored in normal room temperature for more than a year.

According to ayurveda, Gulkand is beneficial in many ways. Here are a few listed for you:

It reduces stress, improves digestion and helps alleviate problems such as tiredness and lethargy.

It helps in treating mouth ulcers and makes teeth and gums strong.

Eating 2 teaspoons of gulkand before going out in the sun might protect us from sunstroke and nose bleed during summer.

It is a mild laxative and helps in reducing acidity in the stomach.

It helps in removing toxins from the body and thus promotes skin health by preventing acne,blackheads and rashes.

Fried Dumpling with Dates and Nuts

Hi friends, I thank you from the bottom of my heart as you have come all the way to see the awesome, home style recipes on my wonderful space here. On this particular day that I first tried this recipe, the master home chef that I am 😉 was in an excited, elated mood. Do you know that makes all the difference to food being prepared? Exactly! The food turned naturally awesome and delicious. I took inspiration from a very old, traditional sweet recipe called suryakala. It is a very beautiful blend of crispiness and sweet awesomeness. So, here goes my version. Enjoy!



For the syrup

Sugar – 1 cup

Water – ¼ cup

Lemon – 1 teaspoon

Oil – for deep frying

For the dough

All purpose flour (Maida) – 1 cup

Ghee – 2 tablespoons

Salt – a pinch

Water – as required to form tight dough

For the filling

Dates – 30 -35 numbers (deseeded and finely chopped)

Nuts – a handful (toasted and roughly chopped)


Take ghee and flour in a bowl. Rub the ghee well into the flour till it looks like bread crumbs. Add a pinch of salt. Add water little by little and form a smooth, tight dough. Rest it for at least 30 minutes.

Take the dates and toasted nuts on a pan and heat this mixture on low flame till it comes together. This will take not more than 8 – 10 minutes. Mash well. Your filling is ready!

Combine sugar and quarter cup of water and heat till it becomes a sticky syrup (or half-thread consistency – to check, pinch the sugar syrup between your thumb and index finger, if it forms a thread and breaks immediately, your syrup is good to go. Add a spoon of lemon juice to avoid crystallization.

Roll the dough into a big disc of medium thickness. Cut out small circles with the help of a cookie cutter or lid. Take each circle, fill with the date-nut mixture and bring the opposite ends together and shape the dumplings.

Heat oil on a pan, deep fry the dumplings on medium heat till it turns golden brown. Remove from oil and steep it in the pan of sugar syrup for 5 – 10 minutes. Arrange it on a plate and enjoy!

Note: if the syrup crystallizes and hardens, add a teaspoon of water and heat it on low flame for a minute or less till it liquidizes.


Know Your Ingredients

Dates are the nutritious, sweet fruit of the date palm. Dates are an excellent source of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. This makes it an ideal food for bone health. Anaemic people can benefit a lot by including dates in their regular diet. Dates are rich in fiber making it one of the most effective remedies for constipation. Dates, being rich in natural sugar, are a perfect quick snack for the odd hour hunger. To know more about the various health benefits of dates, follow the link:

Type Fruit
Form Fresh / dried
How to Buy In India, dates are mostly available in sealed packs. Look for the date of packaging. If the pack is transparent, check if the fruits are plump and have an even colour.
Storage Store dates by keeping in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to six months. Freezing prolongs shelf life up to a year.

Dried dates can be stored in normal room temperature for up to a year or more.