Gulab Phirni / Rose Rice Pudding with fresh Fruits

There are always flowers for those who want to see them.
– Henri Matisse

Gulab Phirni

Gulab Phirni

When the occasion is pious. The mood festive. The spirit convivial. The ambience contagious. And the mind, harmonious – it is then, we make something sweet.

It’s exactly in these times, we don’t squirm to eat a cupful of our favourite dessert and amiably let our loved ones stuff our mouth with saccharine stuff. We relish every bite, enjoy every moment. It’s for these times that I reserve my quota of desserts or Indian mithais/sweets.

Colour

Colour

On one such radiant day, I put milk to boil, stirred in some ground fragrant basmati rice and lovingly flavoured it with cardamom, rose essence and saffron. Sounds divine, doesn’t it!?

The milk and rice simmered and nonchalantly thickened away, gloriously dancing with the aromatic spices. The result was this thick rice pudding, mildly sweet and abundantly gratified with chopped nuts and essence of roses.

Layered into Jars!

Layered into Jars!

Phirni or Firni is a mughal inspired North Indian/Pakistani milk-rice dessert, typically set in small clay pots and garnished with saffron and rose petals! How exotic does it sound!

A bit of pink

A bit of pink

So, I was calling for some flowers, marigold and jasmine to be exact, required to decorate my little temple. But then added a few roses at the last moment. Soon, my house emanated such dizzy whiffs of flowers, cardamom and boiled sweetened milk, that the effect made everyone say “whats cooking?” 🙂

A thing of beauty if joy forever

A thing of beauty if joy forever

He never cared for roses, still doesn’t. But I have a special affinity towards them. Roses are the ultimate romantic meridian of my firm belief in hope and love. And when I set up my shoot area with props and phirni cups and jars, the flowers hold a special place.

They brought such joy and beauty that John Keats ‘Endymion’ kept popping in my head. I played with the colours, the placements. I took innumerable shots(which were not so pleasurable when I sat down to edit 😉 ) The little girl danced about offering me any assistance that I called for. I was in my own space.. a very happy space indeed. It seems weird how something so trivial and ephemeral can lift my spirits and make me dream incredible dreams if only for some fleeting spell.

Garnish with rose petals

Garnish with rose petals

A couple of teaspoons of rose-water or essence and tiny petals from the roses take this dessert to really another realm. It’s not the taste of the petal though …it’s the perfume from the flower that lingers on your taste buds and make the entire ensemble so inviting.

Add freshness with fruits

Add freshness with fruits

I served the rice pudding with chopped fresh fruits green apples, pomegranate and orange segments. I wish had some berries, I can only imagine the tartness and all that juice from the colourful berries complimenting the cardamom and saffron!

Ideal party desserts

Ideal party desserts

The recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 litre whole milk
  • 1/4 cup basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes
  • a few strands of saffron, soaked in 2 tsp of milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar or as desired
  • pods of 1 cardamom – ground/powdered
  • 1/2 cup of chopped nuts like pistachios, almonds, cashew nuts
  • 2-3 drops of rose essence or 1 tbsp of rose water
  • 2 tbsp rose petals, I used the Indian rose, which has small thin natural petals. If the petals are huge, then chop or gently tear to smaller bits.
  • A cup of chopped fresh fruits to serve with
  • Method

    Grind soaked rice to a rava like consistency. Use few drops of milk if required. Keep aside. Heat milk in a thick bottomed pan or kadai. When it starts boiling away, lower the flame and stir in the ground rice. On a low flame, cook the ground rice in milk till it starts to thicken.

    It is imperative to stir in intervals to prevent burning and from lumps being formed. Once the rice is cooked and the mixture has thickened considerably, stir in sugar, saffron strands and ground cardamom. Add chopped nuts. Simmer again for a while. Once done. Add rose-water or essence. Give it a good mix. Cool the pudding. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

    Serve with rose petals, chopped nuts and fresh fruits.

    Thick creamy delicious pudding

    Thick creamy delicious pudding

    Note: Fruits like apples, banana, pomegranate, oranges, berries, kiwi, custard apple go very well with phirni.

    Make some, you won't regret

    Make some, you won’t regret

    This creamy dreamy dessert goes to Angie’s 31st Friday Fiesta – a weekly Visual Potluck.

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    Dark Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies

    Dark Double chocolate walnut brownie served with warm milk

    Dark Double chocolate walnut brownie served with warm milk

    I like to cook, but it doesn’t mean I eat all that I have experimented in the kitchen. So, I tend to distribute all the goodies among family, friends and neighbors.
    But we are Indians. We are taught not to take stuff, and if we do, we have to reciprocate in a similar manner. As products of this culturally strong country it is imbibed in us to return favors, especially food favors.

    Decadent and dense

    Decadent and dense

    Now what happens is, all those boxes that I send over, comes back loaded with more food.. glorious food! You can imagine my plight. My umpteen refusals and explanations falls on deaf ears. They willingly accept and smilingly give back more. Sigh!

    Whipped up a brown storm

    Whipped up a brown storm

    Now, a very exciting recipe was on the card, a dark double chocolate walnut brownie! While I sieved/mixed/baked, I thought of all the smiles I was going to bring on little expectant faces! But then the thought of the returned boxes haunted my vision. Then is when I went smart.
    This time, I carefully packed the treat in disposable containers. Ingenious eh?

    Brownies and Milk

    Brownies and Milk

    Well.. not so much. Favors, you package them in tupperware or in aluminium foil, are favors. They have to be returned come what may. My bad.

    dense bite

    dense bite

    Multiple compliments on the awesomeness of the brownie was combined with what became my lunch and dinner for next couple of days. Just 15 minutes of toil and I was exempt from cooking next few meals. Yea… people are that sweet around me.

    Hello Kitty eyes the treat

    Hello Kitty eyes the treat

    I’ve made brownies before. But I tried a new formula, where coffee and dark chocolate thrown in, take these little eggless brownie to another level altogether. Dense, chewy, gooey, this little joy is best enjoyed in my place with a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce and a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream! DE-LISH!

    Dark chocolate and coffee in it!

    Dark chocolate and coffee in it!

    The original recipe is a triple chocolate one. But I ran short of vanilla chocolate chips and made do with only dark chocolate, coffee and walnuts. So double chocolate it is.

    Dark choco chips, walnuts and brownies

    Dark choco chips, walnuts and brownies

    The Recipe:

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup maida/all purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
    • 1/3 cup powdered sugar, I actually used a little bit more than 1/3 cup.
    • Baking powder 1 tsp
    • Baking soda 1/4 tsp
    • 1/4 cup Dark chocolate chopped into pieces or dark chocolate chips
    • Instant coffee powder 1 tbsp
    • 2-3 tbsp chopped toasted walnuts
    • Warm Milk 1/3 cup
    • Curd 1/2 cup, whisk it before using
    • melted butter, 1/4 cup. Original calls for oil, but oil makes my cakes smell.. so I tend to avoid oil.
    • Vanilla essence 1/4 tsp
    • YEP, they are eggless too!!

    Method

    Preheat oven to 150 C. Dissolve the instant coffee powder in 1/3 cup of milk. Stir and set aside.
    In a big mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips. Mix well. Now, make a well in the center of the dry mixture. Add the coffee, curd, vanilla and butter.
    Using a hand whisk, gently mix the ingredients until well combined. Make sure the wet ingredients are incorporated into the dry ingredients. Don’t over mix the batter. Requirement is of dense gooey brownies, not a well risen cake!
    Now, pour half of the batter into a parchment paper lined tray and evenly spread it out using a spatula making sure that it covers the whole pan. Gently tap the pan onto the counter. Sprinkle 1/2 of the chocolate chips. Evenly.
    Now, add the remaining dark chocolate bits to the remaining batter and pour over. Gently even using a spatula even the surface out. Place the tray into the preheated oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

    Once done, let it cool completely before you cut them into neat squares! Enjoy warm with a glass of milk.

    Note: if you notice the brownies I’ve made, they have risen a little. I mixed the batter a bit more than required. Hence, you make sure to beat the batter just so much as to incorporate the contents properly.

    Fresh out of the oven

    Fresh out of the oven

    Note: Its always better to line your tray with parchment paper before pouring the batter in. It’s cleaner, neater and you have no hassle of brownie ends clinging on to the aluminium.

    Sinful Indulgence

    Sinful Indulgence

    Note: Try adding vanilla chocolate chips too to the batter, thus making it a “Triple chocolate Brownie“. Havent tried it, but am sure it would transport me to another realm.

    Double Chocolate Wonder

    Double Chocolate Wonder

    Note: If you’re not a nut fan( 🙂 ), skip the walnuts. I had kids removing the highly nutritious nut and gobbling up the chocolate bit. Milee sulked for a whole 10 minutes when she saw I threw in walnuts, but then later she had more than her share, when I removed the spoilers for her.

    Bundle of joy

    Bundle of joy

    Note: All in all this recipe took 1 hour to make. Just 15 minutes to get the batter ready, 30-35 minutes to bake and after it was out of the oven, we lost track of time..:)

    Try stopping with one...

    Try stopping with one…

    In case you are wondering of my abnegation of chocolates and sweets. Mere mortal me, tried hard. Then gave up the giving up of life’s simple pleasures. I do indulge, but just a wee bit. One tiny amazing dense chocolaty brownie piece is all that I ever need to feel the fullness of Life.

    Strawberry Cupcakes

    February is almost over, and I realize I haven’t used strawberries much this season. Another 2-3 weeks more, and then the berries are going to vanish. With their term coming to an end, I decide to use these beautiful yummy berries to some good use.

    Milee wanted to bake the other day, and so with a box full of fresh strawberries in hand, we decided to tread into unidentified territory. That is, we zeroed in on making strawberry cupcakes. I had never made them before. We searched online for strawberry cupcakes, and did not find anything suiting our needs. So, mother and daughter tried out something new. We made our own recipe. Now this was going experimental!

    Strawberry Cupcakes!!

    Strawberry Cupcakes!!

    Well, the result were these tiny bite sized cupcakes filled with strawberry compote in the center. We drizzled some more compote on the cups with some ice cream by the side. Wow, sounds sinful, right? Yea, it was.

    To make matters worse, in an effort to take pictures from different angles, different cutlery and the various ways to serve the cupcake, we ended up eating quite a bit.

    I will not let you drool more, here’s the recipe to these cute cupcakes.

    Ingredients

    To make 36 mini cupcakes –

    • ½ measurement of the vanilla sponge cake batter
    • ½ cup of strawberry compote
    • bit of icing sugar to dust
    • To serve: ice cream, strawberry compote to pour over, chocolate chips or sprinkles.

    Method

    To make 36-40 mini cupcakes, take approximately half the paste of the vanilla sponge cake batter.
    Preheat oven to 150 degree centigrade.
    Now, take your cupcake tray, if required grease the moulds. Pour a spoon full of batter into the moulds, after that, carefully, drop a teaspoon of the strawberry compote and then top it with another ½ a spoon of batter. Now carefully, place in a preheated oven.

    A spoon full of compote on a big spoon full of batter

    A spoon full of compote on a big spoon full of batter

    All set to go into the oven.

    All set to go into the oven.

    Bake till your toothpick comes out clean. Mine usually gets done in 10 minutes at 160 degree centigrade.
    Carefully remove the cupcakes, and make more with the rest of the batter.
    Well, your cupcakes are done!

    delightful mini packages!

    Delightfull mini packages!

    Can you see the bright red  compote in there.

    Can you see the bright red compote in there.

    The fruity sweetness as well as the tartness bursts into awesome flavors once you bite into these little mini surprise packages.
    Milee gorges on these tangy sweet cupcakes with full gusto!

    dainty little beauties

    dainty little beauties

    To serve:

    Slightly break the cupcakes, pour the strawberry sauce over it and place a scoop of vanilla ice cream by the side. Top with a mint leaf and serve immediately.
    If you do not want the ice cream, serve the cupcake just with the syrup or plain.

    Don't tell me you don't want some!!??!

    Don’t tell me you don’t want some!!??!

    Look at all those colors!

    Look at all those colors!