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Christmas Special: Indian dessert recipes with a twist!

Last updated on: December 12, 2012 19:00 IST

Christmas Special: Indian dessert recipes with a twist!

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Aditi Bose shares some unique preparations to get you in the mood this festive season.

Each year, I prepare 'food with a twist' for my Christmas party. And this time around, I have decided to incorporate the three main Christmas colours -- red, green and white. Here are some dessert ideas that fit in with this theme.

Strawberry Kheer with Rose Water

  • Boil two cups of milk.
  • Fry 1/2 cup vermicelli till light gold in a teaspoon of ghee.
  • Add milk to it and stir.
  • While stirring, add half a cup of fresh cream.
  • Make a powder of a few cardamom seeds and add to it.
  • Add half a cup of sugar.
  • After 10-12 minutes, when the mixture begins to thicken, add a teaspoon of rose water.
  • Stir and take it off the heat.
  • Puree five to six strawberries and mix it into the kheer once it has cooled down for the red Christmas colour.
  • Garnish with slivers of cashew and raisins.

Khoya Pistachio Rolls

  • Stir half a cup of khoya with two tablespoons of sugar briskly in a heavy bottomed pan till it begins to leave the sides.
  • Mix a few strands of saffron to three to four teaspoons of milk and add to the mixture.
  • Add a pinch of cardamom powder and green food colour for the Christmas colour.
  • Take it off the flame and add cut pieces of pistachio to it.
  • Add a couple of spoons of milk powder and knead well.
  • Divide into small chunks.
  • Flatten out each piece with your hands and then roll into tubes.
  • Decorate with pistachio pieces and serve.

Kiwi Firni

  • Boil a litre of milk.
  • Add around 50gm of rice flour to it (you can even make a powder of normal rice in the blender if there is no time to go buy rice flour) and stir.
  • Add sugar, a pinch of cardamom powder and let it simmer for a few minutes till its thick and creamy.
  • Remove from flame and allow it to cool.
  • Puree two kiwis with a pinch of nutmeg powder and stir into the firni for the green Christmas colour.
  • Pour into earthen bowls and refrigerate.
  • Just before serving, add a thin kiwi slice for the garnish.

Betel Leaves Stuffed with White Chocolate and Cherry

  • Melt a bar of white chocolate with a little bit of milk.
  • While the chocolate is still molten, mix a teaspoon of the following: raisin (soaked overnight), cut pieces of cherry, cashew, date candy.
  • Take a betel leaf and fold it into a cone.
  • Fill 3/4 of it with the mixture.
  • Cover it with the top flap of the leaf and seal it with a toothpick.
  • Stick a cherry on top of the toothpick.
  • Arrange them on a plate and sprinkle with white chocolate or coconut powder before serving.
  • This desert that has all three Christmas colours (red, green and white).

Grape Dumplings in Red Wine Sauce

  • Mix flour, sugar and canned grape juice to form the dough.
  • Take chunks of it and roll each into thin circles.
  • Fill each with three-four pieces of red or green grapes and then fold the dough to form the dumplings.
  • Steam it for six or seven minutes.
  • To make the wine sauce, mix red wine with two spoons of honey, a cinnamon stick and a small piece of ginger and let it simmer for a few minutes.
  • Before serving, pour the warm wine sauce over the dumplings
  • The grapes and the wine give the dessert the Christmas colour.

Image: Strawberry Kheer with Rose Water
Photographs: Stu_spivack at Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

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Christmas Special: Indian dessert recipes with a twist!

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Pistachio Kulfi with Guava Cream

  • Boil a litre of milk till it's reduced to half its volume.
  • Add a quarter cup sugar and stir so that the milk does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add a pinch of cardamom powder and half a cup of finely chopped pistachio.
  • Stir for a minute and remove from flame.
  • Allow it to cool before pouring into kulfi moulds.
  • Freeze. It takes eight to 10 hours to be frozen well.
  • Mix half a cup of canned red guava juice with fresh cream and pour it over the kulfi before serving.
  • The pistachios and guava give the Christmas colour.

Beetroot Halwa with Almonds

  • Grate one beetroot.
  • Heat a tablespoon of ghee in a frying pan and add the beetroot to it.
  • Fry it for a couple of minutes.
  • Add a cup of milk and stir.
  • Once it starts to bubble, add half a cup of sugar and cashew pieces and keep stirring.
  • Remove from flame once the halwa begins to separate from the sides.
  • The beetroot gives the red Christmas colour.

Coconut Pomegranate Sheera

  • Stir a litre of milk with two cups of coconut cream on low heat.
  • Add half a cup of sugar when it's reduced to half its volume.
  • Add half a teaspoon of cardamom powder and cut pieces of 10-12 cashews.
  • Pour into serving bowl and allow it to cool.
  • Stir in the 'red jewels' of half a pomegranate for the red Christmas colour and refrigerate.
  • Garnish with pomegranate at the top before serving.

Bhapa (steamed) Sandesh with Strawberry Sauce

  • Boil one litre of milk.
  • Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and stir a little.
  • The milk will begin to curdle to form chana (the Bengali word for paneer or cottage cheese).
  • Once the entire chana separates, strain it and press down a little so that the whey is completely removed.
  • Put the chana into a plate, add sugar, a little vanilla essence and a pinch of cardamom powder.
  • Knead well and then make small balls of the mixture.
  • Wrap a banana leaf around each ball and keep it in place with a toothpick.
  • Steam for eight-10 minutes.
  • In the meantime, puree a handful of strawberries with sugar and a little pineapple or orange juice.
  • Once the sandesh has been steamed, just before serving, open the leaf and spread the strawberry puree over it.
  • The strawberry and the banana leaf add the Christmas colour.

Aatar Payesh (Custard Apple Kheer) with a Twist

  • Scoop out the pulp of two or three custard apples.
  • Use your hands to remove all the seeds.
  • Boil a litre of milk till it reduces to half.
  • Add half a cup of sugar and stir.
  • Add the custard apple pulp while stirring.
  • Once thick, remove from flame and allow it to cool.
  • Pour into small martini glasses and refrigerate.
  • Just before serving, decorate with red and green gems for the Christmas colour.

Image: Pistachio Kulfi
Photographs: Stu_spivack at Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

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Rose Petal Sandesh

  • Boil one litre of milk.
  • Squeeze the juice of half a lemon and stir a little.
  • The milk will begin to curdle to form the chana (cottage cheese).
  • Once the entire chana separates, strain it with a strainer.
  • Press it down a little so that the whey is completely removed.
  • Put the chana onto a plate and add a few spoons of sugar, half a teaspoon of rose water, a pinch of cardamom powder and a few strands of saffron.
  • Knead the mixture well and then roll it into small balls.
  • Flatten the balls and place a rose petal on each, for the red Christmas colour.
  • Press down the petal so that it sticks to the sandesh.

Apple and Pistachio Rabri

  • Cut a green and a red apple each into small pieces and keep aside. Don't remove their skins; that will add the Christmas colour.
  • For the rabri, boil half a litre of milk till it reduces to half its volume.
  • Add half a cup of sugar and stir.
  • Once it's thick, add the slivers of pistachio and remove from flame. Let it cool.
  • For serving,use a glass bowl so that the colours show -- make a layer with the cut fruit and pour the rabri over it.
  • Add the rest of the fruit over the rabri to form the top layer.
  • Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Sweet Rajma with Whipped Cream

  • Mix 50gm of flour, 50ml milk, a teaspoon of salt and one egg into a smooth paste.
  • Heat oil in a pan and pour some of the batter into it.
  • Roll it around so that it forms a circle.
  • Flip it when one side is golden.
  • Remove from flame for the other side.
  • Repeat with the rest of the batter.
  • Next, boil the rajma that has been soaking overnight. The rajma's red adds the Christmas colour.
  • Once done, blend it with sugar and honey till it's a smooth paste. Strain it if required to remove the skin.
  • Spread it on the pancakes.
  • Before serving, add a dollop of whipped cream over it and sprinkle some icing sugar.

Green Tea Sabudana (Sago) Kheer

  • In a pan, heat a couple of tablespoons of ghee and roast a handful of cashew and raisins.
  • Next add the cupful of sabudana that has been soaked overnight (after straining).
  • Add four cups of milk and stir briskly so that the sabudana does not form lumps.
  • Let it cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes till the sabudana becomes translucent. Keep stirring all the while.
  • Add half a cup of sugar and a pinch of cardamom powder when the kheer begins to thicken.
  • In the meantime, boil two teaspoons of green tea for a couple of minutes in a little water.
  • Once the kheer is done, just before removing it from the flame add the strained green tea water. This will add the Christmas colour.
  • Serve warm with a cherry as the garnish.

Jam and Honey Rabri

  • Boil one litre of milk in a heavy-bottomed pan.
  • Stir it occasionally so that it does not stick to the bottom.
  • When it begins to thicken, add a pinch of cardamom powder and stir.
  • Once it is of a creamy texture, remove from flame and let it cool.
  • Add four or five spoons of honey and stir.
  • Refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  • Just before serving, add a dollop of strawberry jam or rose marmalade over it for the Christmas colour.

Till next time, here's wishing you all a Merry Christmas!


Image: Sandesh
Photographs: kspoddar/Wikimedia Commons

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