Tag Archives: arroz con leche

Kheer Pana Cotta with saffron sauce

Kheer Pana Cotta with saffron sauce

It will be one year since I auditioned for Master Chef India. It has been an incredible journey and I loved every minute of it. It started with just a casual conversation with friends, them pushing me to go for the audition. I never in my imagination thought that one simple audition could lead me to the most exciting time in my life.

When I got selected from San Francisco and reached India for the next rounds, I met so many wonderful people and little did I know that we will friends for lifetime.

I am so thankful to God for this wonderful opportunity. This post is dedicated to all that I am thankful for, my family, friends, food on the table, and here is many more such amazing opportunities to come!

I always have loved the traditional recipes, the history behind them, the love you feel when you eat them, all the memories they bring back. I feel it is up to us to preserve them and pass them on to the next generation.

But there are always new things to learn and expand your horizons. New spice, new technique, new way of plating or a new ingredient, it changes everything about the dish completely.

So today’s recipe is a new take on a age old recipe, Kheer. Made in many ways, but it always signifies celebration, joy, festivities. Rice, Milk and sugar cooked together, it is that simple and yet that comforting. So many cultures have variations of this, Isarel, Syria where its called ‘Roz Bhaleeb’, Iran and even Mexico where you get to eat ‘Arroz con leche’ which is flavored with cinnamon.

Its amazing to see how food connects people, does not matter what is your nationality, religion, sexual orientation or political affiliation. One of my favorite books ‘Korma Kheer Kismet by Pamela Timms. It is a fascinating chronicle of the author who lived and experienced five seasons in Delhi and her food memories

Korma,Kheer and Kismet; Five seasons in old Delhi by Timms (2014-07-01)

Just like her I fell in love with Old Delhi. Old Delhi is a walled city established by the Mughal Emperor Shaha Jahan in the early 1600s. You must visit old Delhi if you want to some of the best delicacies. Especially during the festivals like Ramdan ( Eid-ul-Fitr), the whole area is filled with aroma that is so inviting. Fried chicken, samosa, Jalebi, Faluda and so much more.



When I visited Old Delhi, I had to visit the Kheer shop, Bade Miyan ki Kheer. I must say that by far is the most delicious thing I have ever had. The shop only sells Kheer, and it is to die for.  My insta story says it all.

Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 9.39.14 AM

Today I decided to take that Kheer and present it in a little differently. I have tried to keep the essence of the dish intact, I hope you all enjoy it.

Kheer Panna Cotta




Panna cotta

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3-4 star Anise
  • 3-4 green cardamom
  •  3/4 cup rice
  • 1 tsp agar agar powder


  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • water as needed


Panna cotta

  • Take 2.5 cups of milk and whipping cream, sugar  and warm it in a sauce pan.
  • Slightly crush the star anise and cardamom and add to the milk mixture, until it almost comes to a boil. Turn the heat off
  • Let the mixture cool for a few hours.
  • While the milk mixture is resting, take 1 cup of milk and rice, and cook on low heat for at least 40 mins. You don’t want to rush this step and this is what gives you a creamy texture.
  • Stain the milk cream mixture and discard the spices
  • When the rice is almost cooked, add the spiced milk and cook more
  • While the rice is cooking, take 1/2 cup of Milk and warm it up to 100 F
  • Mix agar-agar in the 1/2 cup warm milk and mix thoroughly
  • Add the agar mixture to the cooked rice
  • Pour it in glasses and set it in the fridge


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, use water if need to thin it to a pouring consistency


To serve

When ready to serve, keep the glass in warm water to loosen it. Pour the sauce on a plate and gentle put the unmolded pudding/kheer on the plate.

I garnished it with dried rose petals and a pistachio tuile with rose. I will share that recipe soon.


Eid Mubarak!



Read the rest of this entry


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.