Bhapa shondesh ( Steamed milk fudge ) for Remembrance day



The poppy is associated with Remembrance day. Poppies were the flowers that grew in the battlefields after the World War was over, hence poppies became a symbol to remember those who have lost loved ones because of wars.There is no poppy here, but the deep red colour of the Virginia creeper leaves, is definitely the closest I have with me today to mark the very symbolic day.

The agreement that ended the World War 1, was signed at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Canadians pause to to honour and remember the men and women who served and continue to serve Canada during times of war, conflict and peace.

“Lest we forget” is a term synonymous to “We will remember them”. Written much before the World War this poem by Rudyard Kipling reminds us to put our trust in God. I leave you with a few lines from this beautiful poem.

“The tumult and the shouting dies;

The Captains and the Kings depart:

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,

An humble and a contrite heart.

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget – lest we forget….”

Shondesh is a very popular sweet back home, a must in any important event. This is a cheat’s recipe, comes together in no time. Give it a try friends.



Ricotta cheese                     2 cups

Icing sugar                           1/3 cup

Saffron strands                     15-20

Cardamom powder                1 tsp


Strain the cheese to get rid of excess water. Mix the sugar and blend till smooth. I used a hand blender.

Grease a pyrex rectangular pot . Transfer this mixture. Put some saffron strands on top. Cover and steam for 30 minutes on medium heat.

Allow to cool. Put in in fridge for 30 minutes. cut in pieces. Enjoy!

Jawl Bhawra Shawndesh : Syrup filled cheese fudge



It was around circa1810, the daughter of the erstwhile Zamindar of Mankundu of Bengal just got married. The son-in-laws usually enjoyed a celebrity status then and were spoilt rotten by the bride’s family. So when the newly married couple were visiting the Zaminder a few days later, the family members wanted to get back to the son-in-law. The famous sweet maker of the area Surjya Kumar Modak was instructed to come up with a new sweet recipe. The ladies of the house offered this sweet to the new son-in-law. One bite into it, the jaggery syrup filling spilled all over his crisp top. The new son-in-law’s embarrassment was enjoyed to the hilt by the bride’s family!

Traditionally this is made from home made cheese or Chhena, and filled with date palm jaggery. This is cheat’s recipe. I have improvised it using ricotta cheese and Canadian maple syrup.

Shawndesh molds are available to give different shapes to the Shawndesh. This one takes the shape from Palmyra palm fruit.

Sweets are an integral part of any festivity. Here is the recipe if you would like to have a go and surprise your friends and family.

Recipe: Made 14 pieces.


Ricotta cheese                                       2 cups

Milk powder                                           1 cup

Sugar                                                    1 cup

Ghee                                                     3 tbsps

Cardamom powder                              1/2 tsp

Raisins                                                about 15

Pistachio pieces                                  one Tbsp


On a non stick pan take the ghee on medium heat. Once this melts add the cheese, sugar and milk powder. Keep stirring now and then so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the cardamom powder. Slowly the mixture thickens about 40 minutes and forms a dough. Collect it on a plate. Put the gas off.

Take the molds, grease the inside with ghee,  Place one raisin and bit of the pistachio sliver on the inside of the mold. Put a tablespoon of this mixture, press it gently so it confirms to the shape of the mold. Take the other half of the mold and press genlty. With your pinky make a hole at the back of this Shawndesh. Pour a tea spoonful of maple syrup in it. Take about half teaspoon of the mixture to close this hole. Unmold very gently.

If molds are not available, it could be formed into a ball, a hole made in it, filled with syrup and the hole plugged with a bit of the dough.

It does take a bit of patience and time, but the joy when done is as great too.

Happy thanksgiving friends!

Pear fudge : Pear Burfi



As exotic as it may sound, growing up in India, my go to fruits were Mangoes, Jackfruits, Custard apples or Pineapples. Mango fudge, Custard apple pudding or Pineapple chutney were my heros, in the world of desserts. Including pear in a dessert was surely outside my comfort zone. I wanted to give this a try.


The moment I decided to use pear in the dessert, I knew it had to have some texture. If you know me, you know that I am a bit biased towards texture. ‘Burfi” it is going to be. With a very few ingredients, these can be whipped up in no time.

It is just perfect for that little pick me up around mid afternoon. Can also be stored in air tight container in fridge for about a week.

Give it a try friends. I was quite pleased with the result.


Recipe Made 25 pieces.


Grated pear                                      2 cups

Milk                                                  1 cup

Milk powder                                     1/2 cup

Desiccated coconut                       1/3 cup

Sugar                                             1/3 cup

Cardamom powder                        1/4 tsp

Ginger powder                               1/4 tsp

Almond slivers, Rose petals            1 tbsp

Candied ginger, goji berry slices    1 tbsp

Candied ginger                             few slivers

Ghee                                           2 tbsps


Take the grated pear and one table spoon ghee on a pan on medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the milk and milk powder and keep stirring. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the milk almost dries up. Throw in desiccated coconut, sugar another table spoon of ghee, cardamom and ginger powder. Cook  for another few minutes till the whole mixture comes together. Put the gas off.

Collect the mixture on a greased plate.  Use a spatula to make the surface even. Cut in squares. Garnish with nuts, rose petals, candied ginger slivers and berries.  Let it cool completely and put it in the fridge for a few hours.


Bajre ki burfi : Pearl millet fudge GF



Food is strongly tied to emotions, wouldn’t you agree. Strange as it may sound, but food brings back memories some cheerful some sad, reminds one of an event, some recent some from way back when!

Bringing sweets to neighbours is very common, be it sharing a good news in the family or in festive seasons. I feel it is similar to bringing a box of chocolates or sharing a pie here in the west. The type of sweet depended on the season or the festival or it could even be a surprise.


Growing up, I have vivid memories of our friend bringing these burfis to us on a steel plate covered with a beautiful crochet cover, around this time of the year. Bajra ( Pearl millet ) flour was something we were not familiar with. It is a common staple in the western part of India, having very hot and dry climate. We were very intrigued by this unfamiliar burfi.


With gluten allergy becoming so common, we are all looking for alternative grains. Bajra is  an anti acid forming food packed with nutrients and antioxidants. I have not used any refined sugar, which makes this burfi very desirable.


The festive season is on. Give it a try friends like I did on Ganesh Chaturthi.

Here is the recipe.

Recipe, Made about 30 pieces One inch square.


Bajra flour                                2 cups

Ghee                                      1 cup

Jaggery ( Gur ) powder            1 cup

Poppy seeds                          1 tsp

Slivered almonds                    1 tbsp


Grease a metal plate about half inch deep.

Take the ghee in a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. Add the Bajra flour. Mix properly and cook on low medium flame till the colour changes slightly about 20 minutes stirring frequently.

Add the jaggery and keep stirring for another 10 minutes. The mixture at this point comes together, releases ghee and looks shiny.

Turn the gas off. Pour this on the greased plate. Use a spatula or the back of a greased steel bowl to make the surface smooth. Sprinkle the poppy seeds and slivered almonds over it to garnish. Make some soft cut on it and let it cool. Separate out the pieces from the cuts made before.

Enjoy guilt free!

Inside Scoop.

Bajre ki atta  and Gur, both are available in any Indian or health food store.

Besan Burfi: Chickpea flour fudge: GF


IMG_2122I am a big fan of Besan aka chick pea flour. The fact that it has a protein component, always gives me a reason to justify a second helping of sweet! Being gluten free comes handy when you are cooking for a group. Besan is one of those ingredients that can be used to make appetizer, main course, desserts, savoury snacks, you name it!

IMG_2125The Hindu month of “Shravan’ is said to be auspicious. After the scorching heat of the previous months, “Shravan” ushers the monsoon. The parched earth  turns green again, the fertile earth holds new life in her womb. People observe fast, especially on mondays. Fasting always comes with feasting. And why not?


This recipe takes no time to be ready. Do give it a try and let me know how it goes friends.

Recipe; Makes 20-25 pieces depending on the size.


Besan                           2 cups

Ghee                            3/4 cup

Sugar                           3/4 cup

Water                           1/2 cup

Cardamom powder      1/2 tsp

Almond and pistachio sliver to garnish


Take a heavy bottomed pan on medium heat. Add ghee and besan, roast it by stirring continuously till a slight change in colour, nutty aroma and the ghee gets released from the besan, about 18 minutes. The timing may be influenced by the humidity, type of flour, the heat element of the gas. I would recommend focussing on the appearance of the besan. Put the gas off, Take the pan away from the gas. Keep stirring for a few more minutes, the hot pan can still burn the besan.

In a separate pan take the water and sugar on medium heat. let the sugar melt first and then thicken, for about 12-15 minutes. Add the cardamom powder. When a spoonful of this syrup is let to drop, it does not drop freely. A drop of it when collected in a bowl, and carefully felt between the thumb and fore finger, feels sticky and draws like a thread. Put the gas off.

Very carefully add the besan mixture in instalments to the syrup. Put the gas on low for another minute to let everything come together.

Take a greased metal plate. Pour this mixture on the plate. Garnish with slivered nuts.

Let it sit for about 10 minutes. Make cuts , whatever size you prefer. Let it sit for another hour and then separate the slices.


Narkel Pakon Pitha ; Coconut and milk cake



Pithas can be grouped under a dessert category which uses the newly harvested rice or the date palm jaggery. Winter end is the time when these ingredients are available. The ladies of the house usually remain busy whipping up a variety of desserts.


Small wooden molds are available designed in folk tradition, like flower, conch shell, fish etc items that are abundant in nature. This takes ‘making Pithas’ to a folk art I’d say. In the absence of these delicate molds one can improvise use the back of a glass, cookie cutter or any other design at hand.


I have used a flower motif here.


This dessert can be made into a crispy version by adding the sugar into the ingredient before frying or a syrup dunked one by making a sugar syrup and dip them in it for a bit. Some like it crispy others prefer the melt in the mouth version. Take your pick.


Recipe; Made 18 using 1 tbsp portion each


Rice flour                                           1 cup

Ground coconut                                1 cup

Milk                                                   1 cup

Cardamom powder                            1/4 tsp

Sugar                                                 1 cup

Water                                                 2 cups


Make a sugar syrup with the above measurement. The sugar should just melt completely in the water. It doesn’t have to be thick.

Take a saucepan on high heat, add the milk. As soon as it is hot add the coconut powder, cover and cook till it comes to a boil. Crank the heat down. Add the rice flour and give it a nice mix. Throw in the cardamom powder, put the gas off and let it sit that way for 5 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a plate. Knead it into a smooth dough when it still is hot but can be handled. Divide into 18 small portion. Use a mold if you have or shape it as you want and fry them in medium heat till both sides have a light brown colour.

If you are going for the crispy version add about half cup sugar in the dough before frying.

The melt in the mouth version would require these to be dipped in the syrup for 15 minutes. Take them out of the syrup and collect them on a serving plate.


Lavang latika : Clove twisties.


By  Ratna


Celebrations  need  sweets.  Period.

In  as  much  as  we  write  volumes  about  the  bitter  side  of  sweets,  we  can’t  do  without  them.  Not  in  my  household.  You  see  my  husband  has  a  big  sweet  tooth. As  I  said  before,  the  innocent  enquiry   after  supper  about  the  leftover  sweets,  if  any,  actually  translates  to  can  I  have  some  sweets  right  now?


Now  when  it  comes  to  birthdays,  there  is  no  denying  this  treat.  Can  we?   Payesh  or  rice  pudding  is  the  must  have  for  birthdays.

This  year  I  decided  to  be  a  bit  more  adventurous  for  his  birthday.

untitled-5  I  tried  my  hand  in  these  beauties.  They  are  variously  called  Lavang  latika  or   lobongo  lotika.  A   very  distant  cousin  of  Danish.  Maybe?

I  loosely  translated  it  to  Clove  twisties.


It  is  a  pastry  with  filling  inside.  A  clove  is  strategically  placed  to  hold  things  in  place.  Deep  fried  and  then  dunked  in  sugar  syrup.  Crispy  to  bite  in.  A  couple  chews,  the  flaky  sweet  exterior  reveals  the  delicious  filling  inside.  The  ever  so  slight  crunch  still   left  from  the  coconut.


Oh!  Who  am  I  fooling.  I  am  a  sucker  too  when  it  comes  to  the  deep  fried  and  syrup  dunked  combinations…

Recipe:  Made  12  pieces.


Cloves                                                           12

Oil                                                                 As  needed  for  frying

For  the  pastry;

All  purpose  flour                                         1  cup

Canola  oil                                                     3  Tbsps

Water                                                           As   needed

For  the  filling;

Grated  coconut                                         3/4th  cup

Condensed  milk                                        1/2  cup

Milk  powder                                               1/2  cup

Cardamom  powder                                   1/4th  tsp

For  the  syrup;

Sugar                                                          1  cup

Water                                                          3/4  cup



In  a  bowl  mix  the  flour  and  3  Tbsps  oil.  Rub  the  flour  between  the  palm  of  your  hands.  It  should  hold  form  when  held  in  a  closed  fist.  Now  add  water  to  make  it  into  a  dough.  Cover  with  a  damp  cloth  and  let  it  sit  for  half  hour.


In  a  pan  take  all  the  ingredients  listed  under  filling.  Keep  the  heat  on  medium.  Carefully  stir  the  mixture  till  it  forms  a  soft  dough,  about  4  minutes.  Turn  the  gas  off.  Work  while  the  mixture  is  still  warm,  to  make  12  small  balls.  I  had  a  bit  leftover.


Take  the  sugar  and  water  in  a  saucepan  on  high  heat.  Bring  it  to  a  boil.  Turn  the  gas  to  medium  now  and  let  it  simmer  for  about  3-4  minutes.  Pour  a  drop  of  this  syrup  in  a  bowl.  Wait  till  it  cools  down.  Touch  it  with  the  first  finger  and  thumb.  A  string  when  formed  as  the  fingers  are  taken  apart  indicates  the  syrup  is  done.


Divide  the  dough  in  12  balls.

Roll  one  ball  to  an  elliptical  shape,  not  round. Brush  the  surface  with  water.  Sit  the  filling  in  the  centre.  Press  gently.  It  will  make  the  filling  a  bit  elongated  and  stick  it  to  the  pastry.  Refer  to  the  picture  collage  above.  Fold  the  left  side  over  the  filling.  Press  at  the  folds.  Repeat  with  the  right  side.  Press  at  the  folds.  Turn  over.  Bring  the  top  and  bottom  half  of  the  pastry  together.  Press.  Add  a  clove  firmly  to  hold  things  together.

Take  about  an  inch  deep  oil  in  a  pan  on  high  heat.  Drop  a  pinch  of  dough  in  it.  The  oil  is  ready  when  it  floats  right  up.  Drop  the  lavang  latikas  carefully in  oil.  Crank  the  heat  down  to  medium.  Fry  till  golden.

I  fried  in  two  batches.

Dip  them  in  sugar  syrup  on  low  flame  for  a  minute.  Collect  them  on  a  bowl.

Inside  scoop;

Pressing  the  pastry  with  each  fold  ensures  that  it  won’t  open  up  while  frying.

Hot  sugar  syrup  can  take  skin  right  off.

If  the  filling  gets  very  firm,  add  a  tsp  of  milk  to  get  it  pliable  again.