Tag Archives: sweet

Eid Mubarak with Phirni

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Eid Mubarak to all the readers of my blog. Eid has come and gone, and we are settling down to our 8-5 routine and trust me it is very difficult after being spoiled by the easy going Ramadan timings. Lots happened during Ramadan even if it is considered to be a slow month. All in all, I am grateful for all the time I have been able to spend when my parents were here and with Mimi. I am also grateful for the wonderful bunch of special people in my life who always steer me toward the brighter side of life. 

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IMG_0511 copyEid is a special time in Bahrain and so it is for us. Usually, we plan get- togethers with friends but this time since most of them were travelling it was limited to just us and a friend or two. My enthusiasm for Eid didn’t ebb because of absence of friends and I chose to celebrate it with ‘Phirni’

Phirni, a sweet milk-based dessert is served chilled and is made with  coarsely ground basmati rice and flavoured with rose water, saffron and ground cardamom. The dish is decorated with chopped or ground almonds or pistachio nuts. The history of Phirni goes back a very long way; it seems to have originated in ancient Persia or the Middle East; and to have been introduced to India by the Moghuls. Phirni is traditionally served in earthen pots. The recipe is a keeper and I really urge you to try this.

Phirni
Serves 8
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 +2 tbsp cup basmati rice
  2. 2 litres milk
  3. 2 cups sugar or as required or 1 cup + 3/4th
  4. 18-20 almonds/badam, blanched, reserve a few for garnishing
  5. 6-7 cardamoms/hari elachi (crushed and powdered in a mortar-pestle)
  6. 12-15 strands of kesar or saffron
  7. rose essence - 1 tbsp
Instructions
  1. Soak the basmati rice for 3-4 hours
  2. Rinse the rice a couple of times in water and wipe the grains dry with a kitchen towel.
  3. Take the rice grains in a dry grinder and coarsely grind it.
  4. Heat milk in a thick bottomed deep pan.
  5. When the milk becomes warm, take 1 tbsp from it in a bowl. Stir the saffron strands in this warm milk and keep aside.
  6. Let the milk reach to a boil. then lower the flame and add the ground rice and sugar.
  7. On a low flame cook the ground rice in the milk. do not cover the pan.
  8. Keep on stirring regularly so that the lumps are not formed.
  9. In a microwave safe bowl take the almonds and water and microwave it for 5 minutes
  10. When the almonds become warm, then peel them and slice the almonds. Keep a few almond slices aside for garnish.
  11. When the rice is almost cooked, add the almonds, cardamom powder and saffron dissolved milk.
  12. Cook the phirni until the rice cooks fully and it thickens. I usually keep the phirni on very low flame for a long time to get the desired consistency. Add rose essence once you have taken the phirni off the heat.
  13. Pour the phirni in serving bowls or earthen pots or glasses. garnish with the remaining chopped almond slices and/ or pistachios and saffron strands
  14. Cover the bowls/ glases and once cooled, refrigerate the phirni and serve chilled.
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

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The Diabetes -Friendly Dessert Series with Aster Medical Centre – Rose Sandesh

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Until 6 weeks ago, I was suffering from a serious delusion. I thought my life was perfect and that everything was just right whether it was my health, work, family, friends and so on. Delusion is dangerous. It makes you believe what is not true. It feels good to remain in  that make-believe world but an intervention becomes necessary. Being a border -line diabetic came as a shock to me. It felt like I was living in a bubble, thinking I was healthy but that wasn’t true. I was pushed to take the test just because a doctor friend was shocked when I confessed about not able to recall when was the last time I got a health check up done. He literally forced me into and I am glad that he did. The result was not the one I preferred but atleast it was a wake up call which is important because only now I was in a position to do something about it.

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When I first got to know that I was a border-line diabetic, I began to analyze why it happened? There could be several reasons –

  1. My irregular and sometimes extreme diet patterns leading to long hours of starvation or eating heavy meals together
  2. the stress levels which I was unable to control

Did I feel any symptoms that I ignored? Well, I felt an unnatural craving for sugar where one morning I woke up to have a big cup of milk with 4 tablespoons of Horlicks and plenty of extra sugar and still it felt like it wasn’t enough! I ate a chocolate every few hours and felt my energy crash several times in a day.

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I started reading up on diabetes and asked my parents who have been diabetics for so many years for their guidance. Obviously, a lifestyle shift was in order and that is what I did. I started eating my meals more regularly. I tried to work out with discipline and started going for walks. I limited my sugar intake and replaced it with more natural sugars from fruits and dates. Ofcourse I have days where I end up eating more than that is necessary but I compensate it by eating light later. Skipping meals was the most difficult habit to overcome and I still struggle with it. But with the encouragement of my family and friends, I manage to stay disciplined. 

IMG_7333This is my last dessert that I developed as a part of the 7 diabetes friendly recipes for Aster Medical Center. It has been absolutely wonderful doing this as it is so close to what I am going through in life. Thank you Aster Medical Center for this opportunity and for running this successful campaign called #AsterAgainstDiabetes. If you have been falling back, here’s your chance to know what Aster Medical Center has been doing this November on Facebook, Twitter , Instagram. You can also get yourself checked for diabetes at their FREE camp happening at Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Park on the 4th and 5th of December (4-7 PM)

This dish is a Bengali dessert called Sandesh. I made a rose sandesh using stevia which makes it suitable for diabetics. It is low calorie and is quite healthy without the processed sugar. I also made the paneer at home, which makes this dessert healthier. To make paneer, you can opt for low fat or full fat milk and allow it to heat until it boils. Once it boils, add vinegar to it so that the milk curdles. Take it off the heat and add ice cubes so that the cooking process stops. Place a colander over a pot, layer it with a thin muslin or cotton cloth. Pour the curdled milk into the colandar. Bring the muslin or napkin together and while doing so squeeze the curdled milk. Take a plate and keep the muslin with the curdled milk on it and place a heavy weight on top of it to drain off as much water as possible. It is as simple as that!

For the rest of the recipe –

Rose Sandesh
Yields 10
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Ingredients
  1. 2 litres milk
  2. 3-4 tbsp of vinegar
  3. 2 tbsp stevia
  4. few drops of rose essence
  5. crushed rose petals
Instructions
  1. Once the paneer is drained off all the water, open the muslin cloth and take it out of it in a bowl or a plate. Mash the paneer with your fingers and make it very smooth
  2. Add stevia and rub it well into the paneer. Add rose essence and the crushed rose petals.
  3. Knead well to bind and get rid of all the lumps
  4. Make small 10 round portions and if you have a sandesh mould, place it in there. I did not have a mould so I simply shaped them oval with my hands
  5. Garnish with more rose petals and store it in the refrigerator
  6. Serve chilled
Notes
  1. Adapted from Tarla Dalal
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

The Diabetes -Friendly Dessert Series with Aster Medical Centre – Shrikhand

Happy Diwali folks!

Such a special time of the year. A time to celebrate with your family and friends. As expats in Bahrain, we make sure that we have some kind of celebration planned to feel the same vibe and spirit as back in our home country. Ofcourse crackers aren’t a possibility but lighting diyas (lamps) and preparing sweets and desserts make it just as special. 

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 While the scale of celebrations remains unaffected, this Diwali is going to be slightly different.

I am going SUGAR -FREE!

But does that mean that I won’t be enjoying any desserts or sweets? Absolutely NOT! What are festivals without the usual burfis, pedas, kheer and halwas! An opportunity came along that made me more resolute about keeping this Diwali sugar -free. At Aster Medical Center , the month of November is all about diabetes awareness and they reached out to me to create diabetes- friendly desserts for this festive season. It was challenging to create recipes that not only taste good but also diabetes-friendly. IMG_6232 name

 In the coming few days, you will see a series of sugar-free, low calorie desserts that are easy to prepare and enjoy, guilt-free. The first of the series is Shrikhand.

Growing up in Gujarat, a state in the western part of India, Shrikhand – a yogurt based dessert- was a regular for festivals. Until now, I never realized how easy it is to make it at home especially when you can buy Greek yogurt. Traditionally, Shrikhand is made using hung yogurt – yogurt that is strained to drain all the water overnight. This allows the yogurt to be creamy and just right for Shrikhand. IMG_6226

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 Aster Medicals Centers intentions are backed by efforts where they are holding a camp for free check up at Lulu Hyper Market in Riffa between 6 pm – 9 pm. You can get your diabetes checked for free until the 12th of November. For more information you can check Aster Medical Center’s social media channels and search using #AsterAgainstDiabetes – Facebook, Twitter , Instagram.

Now for the recipe – I replaced the sugar from the recipe with ‘Stevia’. Stevia is a super sugar that is natural and has no side effects. It is wonderful for diabetics and people who want to stay off processed sugar. It does take some getting used to since the after taste is vastly different from what we are used to. Having said that, there are ways to mask that after taste with slight addition of honey or other alternate sweeteners like agave nectar.

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 (photograph courtesy: Sushil Sasheendran)

Recipe Card

 

Diabetes -friendly Shrikhand
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 2 cups Greek Yogurt,
  2. 2 tbsp milk, warmed,
  3. generous pinch of saffron threads,
  4. 5 tbsp of stevia,
  5. 1 tbsp of honey,
  6. pinch of nutmeg,
  7. 1/s tbsp of cardamom, crushed,
  8. 3 tbsp of cocoa powder,
  9. nuts to garnish,
  10. chocolate shavings to garnish,
  11. more saffron threads to garnish
Instructions
  1. Place the 2 cups of Greek yogurt in a bowl and beat it well to make it smooth and creamy
  2. Add crushed cardamom and mix it well with the yogurt.
  3. Add the stevia and mix well ( add honey if you are not used to stevia's taste or do a half and half to mask stevia's taste)
  4. At this point your cardamom / Elaichi Shrikhand is ready. Fill small mason jars with Elaichi Shrikhand.You can garnish it with nuts and put it in the refrigerator to chill.
  5. Take the warmed milk in a small bowl. You can heat it for few seconds in your microwave. Add the saffron to it, give it a quick stir and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the saffron to the Greek yogurt and mix well. This is your kesar/ Saffron Shrikhand. Fill it in a small jar and garnish it with nuts and refrigerate it.
  7. Finally sift the cocoa powder and mix it well with the remaining quantity of Greek yogurt in the bowl and mix well. You will have to add honey to chocolate flavoured Shrikhand to mask the taste of stevia. Do not miss this step for chocolate shrikhand.You can add diabetes -friendly dark & milk chocolate pieces if you like in the Chocolate Shrikhand. Garnish with nuts and place it in the refrigerate to set.
  8. Shrikhand takes a few hours to set and the flavours to meld. It tastes the best the next day.
Notes
  1. If you do not have Greek yogurt, you can use normal yogurt and hang it in a muslin cloth overnight to drain all the water.
Sliceofmylyfe - a Food blog based in Bahrain http://www.sliceofmylyfe.com/

Halloween special Pumpkin Chocolate chip cookies

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A 6 -year- old’s enthusiasm for life is matchless. As a parent, sometimes it is difficult to stay unaffected. Halloween, Thanksgiving etc. are few festivities that I have never celebrated before because I haven’t been in a culture where these are celebrated. But with my 6 -year- old I won’t be surprised if I even got around roasting a turkey and celebrating thanksgiving. To me these festivities always held intrigue but not enough to participate. At this time of the year, all the food blogs around the world are making Halloween treats, preppring for thanksgiving in a few days and nearly decorating cookies for Christmas. In that same line, this will be my very first Halloween post ( a day after Halloween unfortunately because we were busy trick o’ treating last evening at a Halloween party).  This year, we even carved our very own pumpkin and baked some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.6a

For these cookies, I haven’t used the canned pumpkin puree as most recipes recommend. I made some fresh pumpkin puree at home and even made my own pumpkin spice. The cookies come out perfect with a cake-y texture. The batter will also be loose unlike the usual thick cookie batter. 

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For my 6 year old, the party never stops. The evening of Halloween was spent dressing up as a pirate with a pet parrot et al. All in all it was a great day spent baking cookies and feeling the Halloween spirit.

The recipe is :