Simran Dhanju carries the Diwali light forward with two popular Indian desserts
Firni (Indian sweet pudding)
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 litres full cream milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1tsp cardamom powder (freshly ground)
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds
- 2tbsp slivered pistachios
- Few saffron threads
- Dried rose petals
- Silver leaf (for decoration)
- Soak rice for 2-3 hours. Drain water, spread on an absorbent paper to dry excess moisture. Grind rice to fine grains, but don’t make it into powder.
- In a heavy based saucepan, boil milk and rice together. Reduce flame and cook rice stirring constantly until milk is reduced and thickened.
- Add sugar, cardamom powder and pour in terracotta pots, garnish with almonds, pistachios, rose petals and saffron, and top with silver leaf.
- Let it cool; set in refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Serve.
Lauki (bottle gourd) Halwa
- 4 lauki (bottle gourd) – medium size
- 1 ¼ cup milk
- ½ cup ghee
- 1½ cups white sugar
- 1tsp cardamom powder, freshly ground
- ½ cup mixed nuts (almonds, pistachios, cashews)
- 2tbsp green raisins
- 1 cup Mawa (Khoya) – a dairy product
- Silver leaf for garnish
- Peel bottle gourd, cut into large pieces, remove seeds from centre and grate the rest coarsely.
- In a large heavy based pan, melt ghee, add nuts and fry for couple of minutes. Remove from pan.
- Add grated bottle gourd to the ghee, roast for 10 minutes till fragrant, add milk and cook on medium flame for 20-25 minutes, stirring constantly till milk evaporates and ghee separates.
- Add sugar and cook further 8 to 10 minutes, till water from sugar evaporates. Add raisins, fried nuts and mawa and mix; garish with few extra nuts and silver leaf.