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Monday, March 10, 2014

Quick Kesar Kalakand (Holi Special)

Kalakand is a classic Indian dessert that requires hours of slogging in the kitchen to prepare a single batch and undoubtedly years of practice to perfect it. But the crumbly melt-in-the-mouth goodness more than makes up for the effort. It was quite by chance that I came across this quick version of 'Kalakand' when leafing though Tarla Dalal's cookbook. First, I was not looking for a dessert. Secondly, while I had seen the recipe pics earlier, I had not even glanced at the time required to prepare it. But this time when I noticed that it would take less than 20 minutes to get a batch ready, I promptly added it to my 'Holi Special' menu.

The only thing that we need to take care of is the quality of the paneer.  It should be fresh (no frozen ones allowed) and soft ( Check out the Delhi Panner at Total Superstore or Hypercity) . Also do not overcook the mixture. I have a confession to make. I would never have dared to prepare this dessert had it not been for Tarla Dalal's recipe. Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 15 mins

Ingredients - 3/4 cup finely grated paneer, 1/2 cup fresh cream, 1/4 cup sugar, 8 tbsp milk powder, 1/2 tsp cornflour, a generous pinch of saffron, 4 tbsp milk.

Preparation - Soak the saffron in 2 tbsp warm/hot milk.

Dissolve the cornflour in 2 tbsp of milk at room temperature.

Cooking - Heat a wok. Add grated panner, fresh cream, sugar and milk powder to it. Mix everything and cook on a low flame.

Add the saffron milk after 2 minutes.

Cook till the mixture starts coming together and leaving the sides of the wok. (continuous stirring is required throughout the process)

Add the cornflour mix at this time. Cook for another 2 minutes and remove from flame.

Spread uniformly on a flat vessel or thali into a layer of about 1.5 cm thickness. Keep it in the fridge for half an hour to set the mixture. Remove and cut into cubes.

Garnish with a few strands of saffron and nuts and serve.

Note - I have used Kesar or saffron as the flavoring. One can also stick to cardamon flavor as mentioned in the original recipe or experiment with a range of flavors like chocolate, mango and even pineapple.

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