Your non-desi friends find Indian sweets a little too sweet? Your kids aren’t quite persuaded by “jalebis are like sweet pretzels”? Then this is the book for you. Blending tradition with new ideas, it is packed with must-try recipes for Diwali that are sure to become all-time favourites for all other sweet celebrations too. You’ll find everything from gulab jamun cake and mango lassi macaroons to almond chikki and chai “biskoot” cheesecake with fun facts and little family stories.

Chai “Biskoot” Cheesecake with Parle-G Cookies

Parle-G Cookie Crust

34 or 160 gm Parle-G cookies or graham crackers

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/4 tsp salt

Chai concentrate

1/2 cup water

2 tea bags black tea

1 tea bag green tea

1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, coarsely ground

2 star anise pods

1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

1-inch piece of cinnamon

Chai cheesecake

2 packages cream cheese (453 gm), room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup plain Greek yoghurt

1 tbsp cornstarch

1/3 cup chai concentrate

To make the Parle-G cookie crust, add the cookies to a blender and process until you have fine crumbs. Pour into a bowl and add the melted butter and salt. Mix well. Pour the mixture into the bottom a 9-inch springform pan and press into an even layer.

To make the chai concentrate, add the water, black tea, green tea, cardamom, star anise, ginger and cinnamon into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Strain into a measuring cup and add additional water if needed so that there is 1/3 cup of concentrate.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. To make the cheesecake, add the cream cheese into a large bowl of a stand mixer.

Using a paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese until it is smooth and fluffy.

Add the granulated sugar and mix for 4 mins on medium. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well in between each addition. Add the Greek yoghurt, cornstarch and chai concentrate, and mix for 5 minutes.

Pour the batter over the crust and spread into an even layer. Tap the springform pan 4 to 5 times on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake for 40 mins or until the centre slightly wiggles when shaken. Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating overnight. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Besan Burfi

1-1/2 cups ghee plus more for greasing

3 cups chickpea flour

3 tbsp semolina

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

1-1/2 tsp powdered cardamom

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp sliced almonds

Generously grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan with 1/2 tbsp ghee and set aside.

Heat the ghee in a medium saucepan over low heat.

Once the ghee melts, add the chickpea flour and semolina.

Cook while stirring continuously for 10 - 12 mins. The chickpea flour will start to change colour to a darker yellow/brown and start smelling nutty.

Pour the mixture into a medium bowl. Add the powdered sugar, cardamom and salt. Mix well and be careful not to touch the burfi mixture; it’s very hot!

Pour the mixture into the greased loaf pan and smooth out.

Tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to get rid of any air bubbles. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds and place it in the fridge overnight to set.

Once the besan burfi has set, cut into 1-1/2-inch squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


3 tbsp roasted unsalted shelled pistachios

1/2 cup ghee

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

Pinch of ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp plain yoghurt

Pinch of salt

2/3 cup semolina

1 cup minus 2 tbsp cake flour

Preheat the oven to 300° F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Chop the pistachios into tiny pieces and set aside.

Add the ghee and powdered sugar to a mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy, about 3 mins.

Add cardamom and nutmeg and whisk for a min. Add the baking soda, yoghurt and salt. Mix well.

Sift in the semolina and flour.

Use a spatula to bring the dough together.

Milk & Cardamom  by Hetal Vasavada is published by Page Street, USD 21.99.

Milk & Cardamom by Hetal Vasavada is published by Page Street, USD 21.99.

Knead the cookie dough for 10 seconds and then pat it into a smooth ball. Roll about 1 tbsp of dough into a ball and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Place each cookie dough ball about 2 inches apart.

Grease the bottom of a cup with a little ghee and use the cup to gently flatten each dough ball so that it is 1/2 inch thick.

Press the pistachios into the middle of each cookie.

Bake for 25-30 mins., until the edges start turning golden brown.

Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container for up to a week.


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