Colour is my day-long obsession and torment ∼ Claude Monet
I love this time of the year. All the universal forces seem to collide together to align all the things that I love – festive colours of Holi, magical full moon, new energy and fresh vibration of spring (equinox and all those things) and a bit of celebration. Because… my birthday somehow manages to glide into it all every year! At work front too, we had a bit of a shuffle as FoodeMag dxb rebranded itself to FoodeMag ( here’s a small read) – a new logo and new direction to support our original vision.
I’m a sucker for celebrations and so we did celebrate. We have a small group of friends in Dubai, an extended family of sort since a long time. We celebrate all our personal milestones together – big or small, with home cooked meals and some cracking up moments. The Holi cum birthday get-together wasn’t any different. Our hostess Sumana, an amateur chef and a keen foodie, said that she kept the menu simple. Deemer devil, the Bengali version of scotch eggs, luchi (here’s my ode to luchi please) accompanied by ghugni, dried yellow peas cooked in gravy, comprised our late breakfast menu (say around 2 pm!). Lunch was traditional – steaming white rice, shukto, dhokar dalna, kasha mangsho and the exotic daab chingri, a subtly flavoured mustard prawn cooked inside tender Thai coconuts. Sumana created an epic dessert fusion, a combination of three traditional festive sweets – Gajar ka Halwa with Rabri Mousse and Shahi Tukda. It not only looked spectacular but tasted divine. Long after I reached home, as I was going through the photos of the afternoon madness and the delicious sit-down, I knew that I had to share the recipe in my blog. I mean, immediately! So, here is Sumana’s tried and tested recipe that she kindly gave a structure to, over whatsapp (you know how we home cooks cook mostly – all ingredients go as per andaj, personal judgement) – even after such a long tiring day.
Gajar ka Halwa Rabri Mousse Shahi Tukda Gajar ka Halwa Rabri Mousse Shahi Tukda *Mawa or Khoya is easily available in many Indian sweet shops in Dubai – for example, Puranmal sells mawa at Dhs 63/kg. It’s also available in Lulu supermarket. I have an exclusive dekchi, a flat-bottomed cooking pot for making any dessert that uses milk as an ingredient. Milk is such a delicate ingredient that it tends to absorb even the slightest smell of spices from the pot.
Gajar Ka Halwa with Rabri Mousse and Shahi Tukda
4 tender carrots, grated
full cream milk, enough to cover the grated carrots
200 gms mawa (thickened unsweetened milk)*
3-4 tsp milk powder (S used Nido)
1 small cup sugar
4 cardamoms, crushed into powder
1 tbsp pistachios, chopped
4 tsp ghee (S used Aseel)
1 lt full fat milk
250 gms mawa
400 gms mascarpone cheese (S used Lat Bri)
150 gms or 4 tsp heavy cream
200 gms sweetened milk
sugar (as per taste)
4 cardamoms, crushed into powder
pinch of saffron
1 small packet of unflavoured gelatine, mixed in 4tsp warm water
4 pieces white bread, sides removed and diagonally cut into half
4 tsp ghee
1/2 cup sugar syrup
Gajar ka Halwa
Gajar ka Halwa
*Mawa or Khoya is easily available in many Indian sweet shops in Dubai – for example, Puranmal sells mawa at Dhs 63/kg. It’s also available in Lulu supermarket. I have an exclusive dekchi, a flat-bottomed cooking pot for making any dessert that uses milk as an ingredient. Milk is such a delicate ingredient that it tends to absorb even the slightest smell of spices from the pot.
BTW, all my friends are great cooks. In fact, some of my girlfriends are dessert specialists of the highest order. From traditional, fusion, new creations – they conjure up sheer fantasies all the time. They did the same that day too. For example, Lipi’s traditional Malpoa and Rupa’s Monomohini – the melt in the mouth kanchagolla with a filling of nolen gur and narkel, season fresh date jaggery and coconut. These were lapped up during breakfast itself as we immersed in the colour madness. Another friend Tito, recreated the traditional almond drink Thandai, a Holi speciality, following Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe. Finally, a traditional payesh made by Sumana and Lady M’s homemade chocolate moist cake signed off my formal birthday ceremony. It was an afternoon filled in an insane colour riot – enjoy the colour blast below!
Holi wasn’t the only reason for my colour riot over this weekend. I had a VIP invite from Bupa Global for the prestigious Art Dubai which took place in Madinat Jumeirah. This was the 13th edition of the international art fair in which more than 90 galleries from over 40 countries all across the world showcased their artists. I witnessed the works of some of my favourite Indian stalwarts like M.F. Hussein, Paresh Maity, Ganesh Pyne, Anjolie Ela Menon, Subhash Haloi, Francis Newton Souza and many others. On that same night, we booked into another spectacular event, as a family. A full moon drumming session in the desert with Dubai Drums. Although the moon was shy and refused to come out for most of the time we were there, drumming together in a group of more than 100 people, is one of the most liberating things that I had done. It was a brilliant foreword to the colourful birthday celebrations that I was headed for with my friends the next day. My inner child is absolutely thrilled and I feel really blessed to be surrounded by so much love, sweetness and colours!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
PS: My friend Sumana Haldar is the Managing Partner of www.etutorhome.com and www.ngeinitiative.com – two interactive educational platforms. What tickles my fancy (and inspires me) is that this friend of mine took her passion for cooking to the next highest level by doing an Amateur Chef course recently from International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) in Knowledge Village. There’s no age to start learning something you want. Just go ahead and book into that course that you have always wanted to do!
Disclaimer: This isn’t a sponsored post, nor are there any affiliated links for any of the brands that have been mentioned in my blogpost. The subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and all images are from my personal album. While you enjoy reading my posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from these posts. Thank you for joining me on my daily food and travel journey on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!
Try these dessert recipes from my blog: Gajorer Payesh or Carrot Pudding Moong Daaler Payesh or Yellow Lentil Pudding Bhapa Mishti Doi Gulab Jamum Rabri Other reads: How to make Thandai | Sanjeev Kappor Celebrate Holi with colourful recipes across the world |FoodeMag Holi in Nandgaon, Mathura and Vrindavan |FoodeMag Holi | Wiki Braj | Wiki Art Dubai DubaiDrums