Sugar and spice

Sonal Ved | Updated on November 02, 2018

To sweeten the pot: Anarasa is a dessert commonly made during the festive season   -  ISTOCK.COM

Sonal Ved’s latest book celebrates the diversity of India’s regional cuisines. Here are four recipes for a delicious Diwali platter

Agre ka petha

India’s answer to a Turkish delight

Cooking time: 1 hour | Makes: 12-14 |

Recipe by Sonal Ved


2 cups (480g) ash gourd (kashi phal / safed kadoo) deseeded and cubed into 12 pieces

1 tsp alum powder (phitakiree)

2 cup (400g) sugar

2 cups (480 ml) water

1 tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon (nimbu) juice


Prick the ash gourd pieces with a fork. Place the vegetable in a pan and submerge in water.

Place the pan over low-medium heat, add the alum powder, and boil the vegetable for 10 minutes.

Drain. Wash thoroughly with fresh water.

In another pan over low heat, add the sugar and water. Allow it to bubble.

Add the lemon juice and allow the scum to float on top of the water surface. Scoop it out with a spoon.

Add the vegetable pieces and allow the sugar syrup to reach a two-thread consistency, about 30 minutes.

Remove the petha from the sugar syrup and allow it to cool down. Keep the pieces separately to avoid sticking.

Serve when dry.



Rice flour delicacy

Cooking time: 1 hour | Serves: 2-4 |

Recipe from 1000 Great Indian Recipes: The Ultimate Book of Indian Cuisine


2 cups (320g) rice flour, finely ground

1 cup (200g) sugar

4 tsp lemon (nimbu) juice

½ cup sesame (til) seeds

1¼ cups (250g) ghee


In a medium-size bowl combine the rice flour, sugar, and lemon juice.

Cover the mixture with a deep dish turned upside down. Set aside for 4–5 hours.

Using just a little water knead the mixture into a dough.

Sprinkle the sesame seeds on a flat dish.

Divide the dough into small lemon-size balls and roll over the sesame seeds. Press the balls to form flat rounds, about 5-in. (12.5-cm) in diameter.

On a griddle over medium-high heat, heat the ghee.

In batches, fry the rice rounds until they turn golden.

Keep spooning the ghee (from the pan) over the rounds, but do flip them.

Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.



Sweet guava cheese, most commonly eaten after a meal

Cooking time: 40 minutes | Makes: 300g

Recipe from 1000 Great Indian Recipes: The Ultimate Book of Indian Cuisine


6 medium-size guavas, peeled

1¼ cups (300 ml) water, divided

Granulated sugar, as needed

1–2 tsp lemon (nimbu) juice

1 tsp butter (optional)

Few drops red food colour (optional)


In a medium-size bowl cut the guavas into pieces and scoop out the seeds.

Place a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add ¼ cup water and the scooped-out seeds. Boil for 3 minutes. Strain through a sieve. Reserve the liquid and discard the seeds.

In a pan over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 1 cup of water. Add the guava pieces and the reserved liquid. Cook until the guava becomes soft and pulpy. Set aside to cool.

In a blender or food processor, blend the mixture until smooth. Weigh the pulp.

Return the pulp to the pan. Add the sugar (which should be half the weight of the guava pulp). Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture begins to leave the sides of the pan and is of soft-ball consistency. Add the lemon juice, butter, and red food colour (if using). Stir well. Remove from the heat.

Pour the mixture on to a greased rimmed plate and spread evenly with the back of a greased spoon. Set aside to cool. Cut into diamond shapes to serve. Or store in an airtight container for 10-14 days.


Banana Coconut Bake

Breakfast favourite from Konkan coast

Cooking time: 35 minutes | Serves: 2 |

Recipe by Nuzhat Fakih


2 tbsp (30g) butter

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 cups (160g) grated fresh coconut

¼ cup (50g) sugar

½ tsp ground green cardamom (choti elaichi)

3 medium-size bananas, halved lengthwise

½ cup (120 ml) milk

Few saffron (kesar) threads


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.


Tiffin: 500 Authentic Recipes Celebrating India’s Regional Cuisine Sonal Ved Roli Books ₹2,653


Add the vanilla and coconut. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Stir in the sugar and cardamom. Remove from the heat.

In a baking dish, layer one-third of the coconut mixture. Top with half the banana pieces. Cover with another one-third of the coconut, and layer the remaining banana pieces on top. Top with the remaining one-third of the coconut.

In a small bowl, combine the milk and saffron threads. Pour this over the coconut mixture.

Bake for 10–15 minutes until golden. Serve hot.

‘Tiffin’ was published in September 2018

Published on November 02, 2018

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