Traditional Dessert Recipes with a Twist: Sitaphal Rabri and Paan-Quinoa Pudding

By Chef Reetu Uday Kugaji

The festive season is upon us and there’s no better way to bring together families and communities than over dessert. Here are 2 delectable recipes.


Ingredients (for the rabri):
5 cups full cream milk
½ cup sugar (or as desired)
15 gm pistachio nuts, lightly roasted and chopped or slivered
15 gm almonds, lightly roasted and slivered

For the flavouring:
1¼ cup sitaphal (custard apple) pulp
¼ tsp green cardamom powder

For the garnishing:
½ gm saffron, broiled / steeped in lukewarm milk
15 gm pistachio nuts, lightly roasted and chopped / slivered
15 gm almonds, lightly roasted and slivered
1 tsp rose petals, dried and edible

1. In a heavy bottomed nonstick pan, add milk; bring to a boil.
2. Add the sugar and cardamom powder and simmer over low flame.
Do not stir too often, as a layer of cream should form over it.
3. After the layer is formed, keep pushing it away from the sides towards the center with the help of a wooden spatula.
4. Keep stirring the milk below it gently to avoid scorching or burning.
Repeat the process till 1/3rd of the volume of milk is left. The wider the vessel and the richer the milk, the faster it will thicken.
5. When done, the colour changes to a beige-cream or off white, and the cream that was pushed aside collects in layers. Add the chopped nuts.
Remove from the flame.
6. Let it cool. Add the custard apple pulp, and mix well.
7. Transfer to a serving dish, or ideally clay pots. Refrigerate to chill for at least three hours.
8. Serve chilled, garnished with broiled or steeped saffron, almonds and pistachio nuts.

Chef tips:
1. You may use silver leaf to top this dessert to make it more attractive, but remember to apply it before you garnish the dessert. Do not apply silver leaf if this dessert is prepared for the Navratri fast.
2. Make sure that the milk does not burn; it is next to impossible to rectify the burnt milk.
3. You may add a few drops of kewra essence (natural screw-pine essence) or rose water when the rabri is done.



¼ cup quinoa
4 cups coconut milk, unsweetened
½ tsp cinnamon powder
A pinch of salt

For the paan mixture puree:
12 Maghai paan (betel) leaves, dark green
¼ tbsp gulkand
1 tsp mint coated fennel seeds
1 tsp desiccated coconut
½ tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp coconut milk
Water as required

For the garnish:
1 tsp almonds, lightly toasted
½ tsp rose petals, dried and edible

Instructions (for the paan mixture):
1. Rinse the betel leaves in water and chop roughly.
2. Make a smooth paste of the betel leaves with very little water.
3. Blend all ingredients together including the betel leaves paste, till absolutely smooth. Make sure that there are no paan bits floating.

For the pudding:
1. Wash and drain quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh.
2. In a deep heavy bottomed nonstick pan, pour the coconut milk, and add the drained quinoa and cinnamon powder. Bring to a boil.
3. Simmer for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Add a pinch of salt. Mix. Let it simmer for another five minutes. Mix well. Switch off the flame. Ensure that the pudding is thick and the quinoa has absorbed enough milk to be cooked through and is tender.
5. Add paan mixture puree. Mix well. Pour the pudding into bowls or shot glasses and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Enjoy this delectable and healthy pudding garnished with lightly toasted almonds and edible dried rose petals.

Chef tips:
1. Soothe your stomach with this paan and quinoa pudding after a heavy meal.
2. You may serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

CHEF-REETU-UDAY-KUGAJI-09Reetu Uday Kugaji is a chef, culinary expert, food blogger, mentor, author, and a hospitality and food consultant with 20+ years of experience.

First published in the Winter 2018 issue of eShe magazine.