Independence Day special: In the mood for saffron

  • Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Aug 14, 2015 19:28 IST
Pragri, a Sindhi dessert - recipe by Alka Keswani

Expert and reader recipes perfect for Independence Day. Take a look:

1) Pragri, a Sindhi dessert - By Alka Keswani

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Serves: Three

For the puff pastry
*All-purpose flour: 1/4 cups *Dalda or ghee: 1/4 cup *Water to knead the dough

For uncooked Roux (Paste)
*Ghee (melted): 3/4 cup *All-purpose flour: 3 tsp

For syrup
*Sugar: 1 1/4 cup *Water: 3/4 cup *Saffron strands: Few, soaked in 1 tbsp water *Rose essence: a few drops *Green cardamom pods (crushed): 3-4

Other Ingredients
*Mawa (sweetened): 300g *Dalda/ghee/oil for frying *Dried rose petals for garnish *Varak (thin, beaten silver foil) and/or unsalted pistachios for garnish

* In a pan, mix 1 1/4 cup sugar with 1 cup of water.
* Add the crushed cardamoms and soaked saffron.
* Put off the flame and add 2-3 drops of rose essence. Mix well.

For the crunchy crust:
* Mix the maida and dalda or ghee, and knead the dough with some water. Let it rest for a while.
* Divide the dough into seven portions.Take one portion and further divide it into four smaller portions, each being smaller than the size of a lemon
* Roll these four individual portions into small rotis.
* Prepare an uncooked paste of melted ghee and maida.
* Smear each small roti with 1-2 tsp of the paste. Cut each roti into 2 cm wide strips.
* Stack all of the strips one above another.
* Now, cut this stack into four portions and again stack each portion, one over thee other.
* Sprinkle some dry flour on a rolling board or a clean surface.
* Roll the prepared stack into a roti.
* Place a heaped teaspoon of sweetened mawa in the centre of the roti.
* Gently fold over the rolled dough, to make a half circled, gujiya-like shape. Press the dough around the mawa stuffing.
* Repeat this procedure with the remaining six portions.
* Now, heat dalda, oil or a mixture of dalda and oil, in a frying pan.
* Deep fry each puff, one at a time, on low flame, turning intermittently, till golden brown. Drain on a kitchen towel or tissue paper.
* Warm the syrup and dip each puff in it. Make sure the puff is completely coated with the syrup.
* Place the syrup-coated puff on a plate and garnish with petals, varak or nuts.

2) Lauki Halwa- Recipe by Rita Parekh

*Bottle gourd: 500g *Whole milk: 500ml *Sugar: 250g *Fresh cream: 1 tbsp *Almonds (soaked in warm water, skin removed and finely chopped): 8-10
*Green cardamom (powdered): 3-4 *Saffron: A few strands

* Peel the bottle gourd and grate it.
* In a pan, mix the grated bottle gourd, whole milk and 8-10 threads of saffron.
* On a medium flame, stir the above till entire milk is burnt and solidifies.
* Add the fresh cream and sugar. Continue stirring.
* Once the entire mixture thickens, turn off the flame.
* Add finely cut almonds and green cardamom powder till it mixes well.
* Place the Lauki Halwa in a bowl and garnish with slivers of almonds and saffron strands.

3) Saffron dum aloo - Recipe by Sanjukta Nandi

Preparation time: 30 min

*Baby potatoes: 250gm *Green chillies: 3pcs (medium size) *American corn kernel: 50gm *Kashmiri saffron strands: 1/2gm *Turmeric powder: 1/4tbs *Asafoetida powder: 1/2tsp *Cumin seeds: 1/4tbs *Red chilli powder: 1/4tbs *Oil: 50ml *Butter: 3tbs *Warm water: 1 cup *Fresh cream: 1cup *Salt to taste *Sugar to taste


* Par boil the baby potatoes, peel and keep aside to cool down.

* Blend the American corn and green chillies, and keep aside.

* Soak 10 to 15 strands of saffron in 1/2 cup warm water and keep aside.

* In a non-stick pan, add oil and butter (2tbs), turmeric powder and the baby potatoes. Stir till the potatoes are golden brown. Keep them aside to cool down.

* In the same pan, add some more oil and butter, cumin seeds, asafoetida and American corn and chilli paste.

* Add the warm water as you stir the mixture before adding the saffron water and the golden brown baby potatoes.

* Add the chilli powder, salt and sugar to taste along with the fresh cream.

* Stir till the gravy thickens.

* In a serving dish, garnish with green chillies tossed in butter, and sprinkle some crushed saffron.

--> Tastes best with steamed rice, warm garlic bread and pita bread.

4) Saffron Semifreddo with Pistachio Praline and Butterscotch sauce - Recipe by Gautam Madnani

INGREDIENTS for the Semifreddo:
Eggs (whole): 4
*Whipping cream: 400ml *Cooking cream: 100ml *Saffron: 0.25g *Pistachios (unsalted, shelled : 50g *Caster sugar: 90g

INGREDIENTS for the Praline:
*Caster sugar: 50g *Pistachios (chopped): 10g

INGREDIENTS for the Butterscotch Sauce:
*Caster sugar: 75g *Cooking cream: 30ml *Butter: 20g


For the Semifreddo:
* Whisk eggs with the sugar in a large bowl and keep aside.
* In a sauce pan, bring the cooking cream to a simmer with the saffron.
* Set aside and let it infuse and cool.
* In another large bowl, whip the whipping cream over ice until soft peaks are formed.
* Once the saffron cream has cooled, mix it into the egg mixture and then gradually fold into the whipped cream.
* Add the pistachios.
* To set, use a bread tin or ice cream box. Line the box with cling film leaving excess film on all sides.
* Pour in the mixture and then using the excess film overhang, fold over the top of the mixture so that the mixture is encased in cling film.
* Put into the freezer overnight to set.

For the Praline:
* Place 50g of caster sugar in a sauce pan over a medium heat. Keep stirring until it melts.
* The sugar will start turning brown. Once it has reached a golden colour (in 5-7 minutes), pour it onto a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking paper.
* Let the molten sugar spread evenly and before it hardens, sprinkle the chopped pistachios.
* Once cooled, lift the hardened piece from the paper and break into uneven pieces for garnish.

For the Butterscotch sauce:
* Heat 75g of caster sugar in a sauce pan until it turns slightly brown.
* Then, take it off the heat.
* Add the butter and cream and stir vigorously until the butter and cream have completely dissolved.
* Set aside and let it cool.

5) Saffron Kaju Roll - Recipe by Veena R Tawani

*Kaju (cashew) 200g *Sugar 100g *Saffron 1/2 tsp *Silver foils


* Take 200g of cashew and soak in water for 4-5 hours. Take it out and make a thin paste in the mixer.

* Add saffron in the paste.

* Take a sauce pan and pour a thin paste of cashew while heating it. Add sugar.

* Mix it well and stir until the paste looks like a solid ball.

* Make a roti cut into four long pieces and then roll them.

* Serve.

6) Kesariya Rasmalai - Recipe by Bandita Kumari

Preparation time: 40min

* Paneer: 250gm * Full Cream milk: 1l * Water: 1 cup * Sugar: 1 cup * Saffron: 10 strands

For the sugar syrup:
* In a big wok, mix the water and the sugar and bring it to boil.

For the rasgullas:

* Take the paneer and mash it for 5 to 10 minutes till it becomes soft. Mold it into 8 to 10 balls.
* Add all the balls to the boiled sugar syrup and cover it with a lid. Let it cool down for an hour, at least.
* Strain the water out of the rasgullas by gently squeezing them.

For the rasmalai:
* Immerse the saffron separately into two tablespoons of lukewarm milk.
* Reduce the full cream milk, roughly to half its quantity. Add the saffron milk and the strained rasgullas to it.
* Let the mixture simmer for 15minutes before letting it cool down to room temperature.
* Serve it hot or chilled, with a few strands of saffron used as garnish.

7)Saffron Rice Rabri with Gulab Jamuns - Recipe by Aparna Zatakia

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Serves: Two

* Milk: 1 litre * Wheat flour: 1 tbsp * Basmati rice (boiled): 2 tbsp * Sugar: To taste * Gulab Jamuns: 5-6


* Grated almonds and cashews
* Rose petals

* Boil milk and after a few minutes add wheat flour.
* This will thicken the milk.
* Turn off the burner and let it cool
* Next, add two tablespoon of boiled basmati rice.
* Boil this mixture, till it further thickens and the rice mixes in the milk completely.
* Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature.

* In a bow, add 1 tablespoon of vermicelli, add the rabri and gulab jamuns
* Top this with rose petals, grated almonds and cashews.
* Serve chilled

8) Tirangi Barfi - Recipe by Sabiha Khan

(Saffron layer)
Milk: 1 cup
Saffron: 14 strands
Milkmaid: 3 tbsp
Dry Coconut powder: 4tbsp
Milk Powder: 2tbsp
Cardamom powder: 1tsp
Yellow colour: A pinch

(White layer)

Chenna (Paneer): 250g
Sugar: 250g
Saffron: few strands
Ghee : 1tsp
Mawa: 100g

(Green layer)
Spinach: 250g
Milk: 1/2l
Mawa: 200g
Fresh grated coconut : 200g
Sugar: 2tsp

For garnish: chopped almonds

A) Saffron Barfi
* Soak Saffron in a spoonful of warm milk and heat it in a saucepan for five minutes, next add milk powder stir till it dissolves
* Now add dry coconut powder, Milkmaid and then sprinkle some cardamom powder over it.
* Once you've brought it to boil, turn off the burner and let the mixture cool down.

B) Green Barfi
* Boil milk (soaked Saffron) add sugar and spinach and boil. This will help cut the bitterness from the spinach.
* Once cooled, grind the mixture together to make a fine green-coloured paste.
* Heat ghee in a saucepan and stir-fry spinach mixture with cardamom for four-five minutes.
* Add mawa, milkmaid and mix in the grated coconut.
* Let it cool down.

C) White Barfi
* Knead the fresh paneer till it is smooth.
* Heat some ghee in a pan and fry the paneer and sugar on medium flame.
* Stir it continuously in a non-stick pan for about 10 minutes.
* Cool this mixture and grind it.
* Sprinkle some saffron powder.

Final presentation
* Grease a plate with ghee. First spread the green halwa, on top of it spread the white halwa and the top-most layer will be the saffron halwa. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before cutting it into equal-sized pieces. Garnish the dish with some strands of saffron and almonds.

For the next edition of ‘From The Pantry’, email us recipes made using GARLIC (send a photo of your dish, a photo of yourself, along with your name, address and contact number) at . The best recipe wins an exciting prize.

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