Monthly Archives: April 2015

Lychee Phirni with a touch of orange blossom


I am born and brought up in India so me liking dairy based dessert is very natural. Most of the indian dessert have dairy in them in some or the other form. The famous rosogulla has paneer, which is like fresh cottage cheese. Gulab jamun have ‘khoya’, which is milk boiled till it is a semi solid clay like texture. The famous mango lassi has yogurt. So you see my love for dairy based desserts is but natural. 

When the weather starts warming up, I like to make dessert that are cool. So today’s dessert is perfect in the summer months. 

It is an indian equivalent of ‘arroz con leche’. The recipe is simple and the ingredient list is small. 🙂

I love playing with flavors, so decided to put a twist of this traditional Phirni. I love the intoxicating perfume of ‘ orange blossom water’. It is typically used in Mediterranean dessert. I love adding it even to my bath water. I buy it from a local middle eastern store and use it very regularly. Also, I love adding surprises to my dishes. When you think of Phirni, you don’t anticipate anything crunchy. I feel that this addition goes really well with the rest of the components and adds a clear element of surprise and variety of texture. I add chopped Litchi to my Phirni. 


It does take time and patience but it is not complicated at all. It uses the ingredients that are typically available in homes. 


1/2 gallon of whole milk 

1/2 cup of rice, soaked for 30 mins( I have used basmati)

1/2-3/4 cups of sugar

1 tsp orange blossom water

1 can of lychee chopped


Take milk in a heavy bottomed pot and heat on a medium flame until the milk comes to a boil. Make sure you’re stirring constantly so that you do not get a skin formed on the top surface and the milk does not stick to the bottom of the pan. 

This is where your patience comes into picture, you must store patiently on low flame unto the milk is reduced to pretty much half of its original volume. 

While the milk is boiling, grind this soaked rice with very little water. Make sure you do not make a paste. You do want a mixture that is granular.

Now add the rice mixture to the milk in a steady stream. Make sure you’re starting the milk as you add the rice make sure so that no clumps are formed. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, take the mixture on a spoon and check if the rice is cooked.

Now add sugar and keep starting and cooking until you get the desired consistency. Remember the mixture will thicken as it cools down so make sure you do not cook it too much. If you end up with a very thick mixture  after it is cool down,   You can add a little bit of milk to thin it  down.

Once the mixture has come to the room temperature, add the chopped the lychee pieces and the Orange Blossom water.

Serve chilled. 



Chicken porcupine  kabob


  You hear all the time that kids are fussy eaters and you got to try all kinds of tricks to get them to eat good stuff. I must say I got lucky, both my kids never troubled me with eating, they eat anything & everything I make for them( may be barring ‘indian bitter melon). 

I also see and hear that the kids want to eat junk and throw tantrums if they don’t get any. I have seen kids eat chicken nuggets everyday. Again, I can not complain here, my kids don’t eat junk at all, in fact if you open my pantry, you will not find any chips, cookies with vegetable shortening. Instead of eating something that is processed and full of preservative, excess salt and sugar, my family eats dry fruits, dehydrated fruits & veggies, nuts…I am very thankful for that. 


As you can see, my pantry is loaded with nuts, dry fruits, healthy indian style popped lotus seeds etc. I have a designated place for everything so they find it easily. Most of  my containers are clear and labeled.   


So back to the making food for kids. I feel that if you make it fun, the kids enjoy and might try different things. 

Today’s recipe is one such fun recipe. It is tasty, healthy and easy to make. 

Chicken porcupine kabob 


It is a very simple recipe and if you have all the ingredients, you can make it in under 30 mins. 


3/4 lb ground chicken ( I use a combination of breast & thighs)

1/2 onion chopped really fine

1-2 cloves of garlic crushed

1/2 inch Ginger, chopped or grated

1 green chill finely chopped 

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp cumin powder

3/4 tsp coriander powder

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 tbsp chopped mint

1 tsp chaat masala


1/2 cup  basmati rice plus 1tsp salt, soaked for 1 hour

1 tbsp oil


Drain the soaked rice. Take it on a plate. 

Start boiling the water to steam out Kabob. 

Mix all the ingredient for kabob very well. 

Take the oil in a bowl. 

Make small balls from the chicken mixture. Dip it briefly in the oil, and roll in the rice grains. 

Arrange them on the steamer dish. 


Steam for 5-7 mins depending on the size of the chicken ball. 

Take out one and check if the chicken is cooked through. 


As  you can see the rice is steamed and pluffs up nicely. 

You can serve these with spicy mint chutney or a sweet and sour tamarind chutney or tomato ketch up.  


Swiss Muesli- easy and healthy breakfast


Simple, healthy, easy to make, tastes yummy and you can make so many variations, how many times can you say that about a recipe? This recipe definitely one such recipe.

When we say Muesli, I used to think of the boxed cereal you get in the supermarket. When I went to London for work I stayed at a hotel where there was a tiny spread of food for breakfast, and in that tiny spread there was a large white bowl filled with  what seems like a tasteless gooey pudding. It did not look appetizing at all. My motto is  try different foods, if you dont like it don’t eat it again, so I decided to try this pudding as well.

I must tell you that I have not been fooled by the looks of a dish ever as I did that day. I fell in love with this dish. It was fresh, healthy and so tasty.

I started reading about it and found out that this is also a type of Muesli, called ‘Bircher/Scandinavian/Swiss Muesli. Unlike its american cousin which is eaten out of the box with milk, this European baby is made with fresh fruit and yogurt.

I love the fact that it can be made ahead, in fact it tastes better when left overnight, which means you have a yummy breakfast that can be made the night before. Can you imagine not having to worry about breakfast as you are rushing to get out the door in the morning?

I also like that it is made with very healthy ingredients like oats, fresh fruits, nuts, milk & yogurt, it is a perfect combination of Carbs with a lot of fibre, protein from the dairy, vitamins from the fruit & healthy fats from the nuts.

It is amazing how many combinations you can make, which also allows me to incorporate all the seasonal, local produce.



 1 1/2 cup rolled oats 

 1 cup low-fat Yogurt

1 cup milk ( take any kind you like) 

 2 apples grated 

 1/4 cup sliced almonds 

1/4 cup golden resins

 1/4 cup dried cranberries

 1/2 cup orange juice

 1/4 cup sliced almonds



Combine all the ingredients in a large glass or plastic container

Mix well. 

Serve ideally the next morning, I feel that the flavors blend really well. 

If it is too thick, add milk to get the desired consistency.