Kesar Phirni

Hope you are having a great start to the New Year with all resolutions intact. Also hope you had a great weekend. We had a fun and relaxing weekend with a potluck dinner at a friends’ place. With great food, chatter and laughter it was a good way to re-charge the ‘batteries’ and gear up for the hectic week ahead. 

I had prepared this Kheer during the beginning of the New Year. Even though the weather is awesome for January, it has been cloudy on days. As a result I could not take some good pictures, depicting the actual color and texture of this kheer/pudding. 

Phirni tastes pretty much like rice kheer but with a different texture. Phirni is made of ground rice and so it has a different texture, but the good thing is that it cooks fast. 


  • 4 Tbsp raw Rice( I used Basmati)
  • 1 liter Milk (use whole milk)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8-10 saffron strands/ Kesar
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 Tbsp slivered/chopped almonds
  • 5-10 pistachios (pista), finely chopped  


  • Soak the rice in ¾ cup water and keep aside for 1 hour.
  • Also soak the saffron strands in 1 Tbsp of warm milk.
  • Grind the soaked rice in 1/2 cup water and make a thick paste. While grinding it should be thick. Add little water and bring its consistency to that of idli batter.
  •  Heat the milk in a big sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Continue to heat it on simmer.
  • Add the sugar and stir well. After it has settled, add the rice paste, saffron milk in small intervals and keep stirring.
  • Note: Do not add the rice paste all at one time as it may form lumps.
  • Continue stirring for 5-10 minutes until the mixture half way thickens up. Add the cardamom powder and mix.
  • Note: The mixture will thicken up more after cooling.
  • Keep this refrigerated. Garnish with almonds and pista before serving. This is traditionally served in earthenware. 

Strawberry Oat Bars

These bars are delicious, adaptable and very easy to make. You can substitute any preserves of your choice like raspberry, peach etc. I usually have strawberry preserves on hand and so I used it in this recipe.   

The crust in many ways reminds me of the one that I had made for Apple crisp.I was in a hurry when I made these and so did not have the time to take good pictures. Trust me the pictures do not do justice to the taste of these delicious bars. These make a good snack and great accompaniment with tea or coffee. 

Adapted from: All Recipes


  • 1 1/4 cups All purpose flour/maida
  • 1 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter ( melted)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup strawberry preserve (substitute with raspberry or any other flavor)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes


  • Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Grease a square baking pan and set aside.
  • Take a bowl and in that first combine dry ingredients AP flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Add melted butter and vanilla to this and mix until crumbly. Measure 1 cup of this crumbly mixture and keep aside.
  • Take the remaining mixture and press the crumb mixture evenly in the baking pan. Use the tip of your fingers to even it out and making sure there are no spaces.
  • Take spoonful of the preserves and spread the preserves over the crust. Continue until the entire crust is covered.
  • Combine the coconut flakes to the reserved crumb mixture and it sprinkle over preserves and press lightly.
  • Bake 25-30 minutes or until coconut is lightly browned. Cool and then cut into desired shapes.

Carrot Zucchini Muffins and a baking book giveaway

Regular reader of this blog may remember that the baking recipes that I follow are all eggless. But the past three posts on baking have all been using eggs. So then why the the influx of egg based baking you ask? 

Well I have to blame the kiddo for that. He one day threw a fit and proclaimed that he loved eggs and wanted us to make boiled eggs or egg related dishes for him for him. After trying a couple of dishes he changed his mind and decided he did not like them after all. This after we bought a dozen eggs and stacked it up in the fridge! So what do I do with the one’s remaining as I had to use them in some way? Well, I love to experiment with food and this gave me an opportunity to try something different.  Hey, but then if I have to pick one then I would prefer to go the eggless way. 

OK, moving on. I am usually on the lookout for healthy, low fat baking recipes and when I find them I bookmark them. This is one such recipe and this has lived up to its expectations. Apart from using carrot and zucchini; I loved the fact that this uses wheat flour and no butter/shortening. The muffins turn out soft and light and there is hardly any flavor of wheat flour after it is baked.

 Note: If you do not want the flavor of banana in this then add an egg and skip the banana. The original recipe called for 2 eggs and no bananas. These make good breakfast muffins or even as a snack. 

Adapted from: Spark People 

Yields: 12 muffins 


  • 1 cup all purpose flour/maida
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour/atta
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 ripe banana (mashed) [skip the banana and add an egg instead]
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup grated carrot
  • 1 cup grated zucchini 


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners and grease them lightly.
  • In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, cinnamon and baking powder.
  • In another bowl beat together oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Add the dry ingredients in parts to the wet mixture and mix well. Finally fold in grated carrots and zucchini.
  • Spoon into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Take it out and allow it to cool on wire racks.

Baking book Giveaway

Now for the giveaway part, I would like to give “1 Mix 100 muffins” book for one lucky winner. This book is full of muffin ideas and also great pictures! From sweet to savory varieties it is a treat. The cool part about this book is that every single recipe is based on a basic muffin mix. Once you understand the basic mix, you can tweak it around and create your recipes!


  • To be able to participate in this cookbook giveaway, leave a comment on this post by telling your favorite healthy muffin (sweet /savory). You are welcome to leave a link.
  • Like the RedChillies page on FaceBook. That’s it!
  • You do not need to have a blog to participate in this giveaway. But please make sure that you have put in a valid email address, so that I can contact you when you win.
  • Note: Giveaway is open to individuals with shipping addresses within United States and Canada. For people outside of these two countries, you may still enter and have it shipped to a person of your choice with U.S. or Canada.

The last date for this giveaway is December 10th, 2011. Winner will be picked up at random and announced soon after.

Good luck!