Friday, 27 December 2013

Yakh Dar Behesht ~ Persian for Ice in Heaven

This is an exotic, delicate, sophisticated  Persian custard laced with rose water and sprinkled with pistachios and rose petals.Known as Yakh Dar Behesht which loosely translates to Ice in Heaven , I came across this exquisite dessert in an equally exquisite book by Ariana Bundy. Ariana in her book aptly titled Pomegranate and Roses manages to capture the sensual, exotic pleasure of Persian cuisine as well as celebrating the values and traditions cherished by her family in Persia.  

Part memoir, part travelogue, this evocative collection of Persian recipes is a celebration of a vibrant culture and its cuisine. For anyone who enjoys food this book is a must buy with beautiful pictures, wonderful family stories and exotic recipes . 

I re-created Ariana's wonderful dessert in my kitchen and it was excellent so delicate and creamy it transports you to another time and place the walled rose gardens of Esfahan .

 I am truly blessed to have some very wonderful thoughtful friends who always remember to bring me exotic ingredients from their travels so K , thank-you for the lovely persian rose water came to very good use in this recipe.

Makes 8 individual servings
1 litre / 4 cups milk
75g /3/4 cup rice flour
120g or 3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp rose water
3 cardamom pods lightly crushed
2 tbsp slivered pistachios
rose petals and edible gold leaf to serve (optional....I used silver foil)
Place the milk, rice flour and sugar in a saucepan. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, over a medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to thicken – about 10 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t catch at the bottom by scraping the bottom and sides of the saucepan with your spoon.
Add the rose water and the cardamom pods and continue cooking and stirring until the custard is thick and glossy – about another 2 minutes. 
Pick out the cardamom pods, then pour the custard into ramekins, or one large serving dish. Leave to cool in the fridge for a few hours about 3-4 hours, then sprinkle with slivered pistachios, rose petals and gold/silver leaf if using.

Monday, 23 December 2013


I love my desserts....not too sweet and not very fattening :) but creamy and comforting nonetheless

Phirni fits the bill perfectly

Its  a rosewater scented rice pudding with a lot of texture and depth of  and creamy phirni set in shallow earthen gets magically infused with the earthy sweetness and aroma of the terracotta bowls in which it is set.

easy quick phirni recipe


Serves : 4

Basmati Rice - 50g
Milk 500ml
Sugar 50g
Water 2 tablespoons
Few saffron strands dissolved in 1-2 tablespoons hot milk
Rosewater 1 tablespoon
Kewra (Screwpine Essence ) 4 drops ( Optional)

To Garnish:
Silver Foil / Chaandi ka Vark
Dried Rose Petals
Slivered Pistachios & Almonds

1.Start by soaking rice in water for 30 minutes. Drain waiter and grind to a coarse grainy paste.

2.Boil milk, then lower flame and add prepared rice paste from step 1. Once you add the rice paste keep whisking and dont leave the milk unattended! :)

3.After 3-4 minutes of constant whisking add the saffron dissolved in milk. Next add the sugar and keep whisking for another 5-7 minutes or until the mixture is thick .

4. Turn off flame and add the rosewater and kewra essence.

5.While the phirni mixture is hot pour into terracotta bowls that have been soaked in water and dried / in any serving bowl of your choice. Garnish with silver foil , rose petals, slivers of pistachios and almonds.

6. Let the phirni come to room temperature and then refrigerate for 2 hours or until serving time .

phirni recipe blog

Goa Local Market

A wise man once said there is no better way of getting a sense of a regions cuisine ,its people and customs than by visiting a local market......

Aromatic Spices

Its possibly the first thing I do when I travel.....make a list of all the local markets I want to visit....infact I plan entire holidays around markets and the food I will eat :))

So here are some pictures to walk you through a local Goan market....not the tourist-y kinds but the authentic kind where the local Goan home maker would go shop for weekly supplies of fish,fruit,fiery red chillies, potent and aromatic spices , fresh warm poi bread, dried fish, souring agents like kokum and tamarind, home made goan pork sausages and other fantastic produce .....

Home made Goan Prok sausages 

Home made Goan Prok sausages 

Fiery Goan Chilies

Garlic on steroids! :)

Konkani lady selling souring agents tamarind and Kokum both integral to the curries of Goa

Konkani lady selling souring agents tamarind and Kokum both integral to the curries of Goa

Biscuits .... I love the old style glass  jars 

Pots & pans

Sea salt

Sukhat prawns....dry prawns

Aunty Rose and her wonderful stall selling everything you need in your Goan pantry

Aunty Rose with her famous Rechado paste

Warm Poi.....traditional Goan bread

Add caption

All under the watchful eye of the Lord

All under the watchful eye of the Lord

Quills of Cinnamon 

Variants of rice

Jasmine to adorn the hair 

Taking a break after shopping? 

Love the bangles and the flowers in her hair! Had a lovely chat even though we dint have a common language....just some gestures and a lot of smiling :)

Sisters at work 

More fiery chilly

And its a wrap.....its time for LUNCH :))

Friday, 13 December 2013


There is something strangely romantic about Bombay on a just turns into a different city all together....a far cry from the bustling financial hub that it is on all other days of the week.....

Bombay on weekdays is crowded , full of traffic with cars honking...screeching breaks , people jostling for space on foot paths and everyone is in a hurry....hurry to make it to office, to the train station , hurry to make it big.....
Gateway of India

But on Sundays Bombay slows down, Bombay takes a deep breath.....roads that are normally choc-a-bloc with traffic turn into cricket pitches.....

It is just the best day to visit South Bombay gives you a chance to admire the architecture, to look out into the sea , to admire the majestic Gateway of India , walk the tree canopied streets ....enjoy a long leisurely lunch ......

Last Sunday I did all the above with my best friend N, we went to Bombay to attend the Uppercrust Food Show ....Uppercrust prides itself at being Indias first food, wine and travel magazine.....
N and I

The show was good....a lot of demos , new ingredients, free food samples :)) ...always a good thing!
We came home with bags full of goodies....

Here are a few pictures.......

Sri Lankan Tea beautifully packed!

Japanese tid bits

Christmas Gift Hampers

Dates...with exotic stuffings!

Doodh na puff.....a Parsee Delicacy....Milk beaten to frothy goodness

What followed was excellent lunch at Sufriya a new middle eastern restaurant on Colaba Causeway.....good, fast food , very reasonably priced and the little place is so conveniently located fit in well with our agenda of shopping in Colaba.....

Lunch at Sufriya , Colaba Causeway....Hummus platter

Shopping at Bombay Electric

Shopping at Good Earth

Beautiful Courtyard at the Good Earth store