Tag Archives: Saffron

Pomegranate Studded Paneer Balls, The Sugar Free Way

Pomegranate Studded Paneer Balls, The Sugar Free Way

  • Difficulty: easy
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Pomegranate Studded Paneer Balls, The Sugar Free Way








Majority of the recipes I post on this blog are savoury. That’s because I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and when I do fancy something sweet, I tend to reach for a piece of chocolate or prunes or dried figs.

In other words, my cooking skills don’t really extend to desserts or puddings or the final course.

When I do make something sweet, it is usually for friends as was the case with this recipe. My friend Shamala and her husband Bachu were supposed to be coming over for dinner. Since they are both diabetic, I wanted to serve them a sugar free dessert.

Decided to combine the seasonal pomegranate with some homemade paneer and some dates for a low fat dinner finale.

To sweeten the balls, I added some powdered stevia.

soft, fluffy, fragrant and utterly moreish paneer balls for a delicate palate

Unfortunately, due to adverse weather conditions, Shamala and Bachu could not come. So I’ve ended up with a dessert which, fortunately, is not too calorific for my taste!

Another kooky recipe for keeps.

Caveat: I am not a nutritionist and do not claim that this recipe is diabetic friendly.


1 Litre milk

Juice of 2 limes or lemons

1/2 Cup fresh pomegranate seeds

4-5 Soft seedless dates

1 Teaspoon cardamom powder

4-5 Strands of saffron

1 Teaspoon powdered stevia


  1. First, make the paneer. For this, pour the milk in a clean saucepan and bring it to boil.
  2. Once it reaches boiling point (starts rising), lower the heat and add the juice of lime or lemon. At this stage, the milk will start curdling.
  3. Stir for a minute and take the saucepan off the heat.
  4. Let it rest for a couple of minutes. You will see the cheese separate itself from the whey.
  5. Drain in a fine sieve colander or muslin.
  6. You will end up with soft paneer cheese.
  7. Let the paneer cool down a bit.
  8. In the meantime, finely chop the dates.
  9. Once the paneer is slightly cooler (still warm to touch), squeeze out any excess moisture.
  10. Put the paneer in a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients: pomegranate seeds, chopped dates, cardamom powder, saffron strands and powdered stevia.
  11. Mix well with your hand.
  12. Form balls with both hands and place them in a container with a lid.
  13. Once all the balls have been shaped, refrigerate for about 2 to 3 hours before serving.


  1. You can adjust the quantity of stevia according to personal taste. But these balls are best not cloyingly sweet.
  2. You can add some chopped walnuts or pistachios if you like.
  3. Use semi-skimmed or regular milk to make the paneer, not fully skimmed.

Kashmiri Saffron Milk

Kashmiri Saffron Milk






You know how some food memories and taste leave an indelible mark for some totally mysterious reason… Well, this saffron milk was one such experience which I had in Kashmir.

Now, I am not at all a milk person. At home, it would never occur to me to make any milk based beverages. My consumption of the white stuff is invariably in a surrogate form via yoghurt or cheese.

Among the many scenic places we visited in Kashmir was one called Aru Valley. As with many areas in that region, the valley has breathtaking and mesmerising beauty to behold.

There are several small shops selling soft drinks and snacks. It was a bit cold and I saw a sign for kesar milk (saffron milk) so impulsively ordered it instead of tea or coffee.

This turned out to be my most favourite drink in Kashmir. The milk was hot and frothy with slivers of almonds, whole cardamom, saffron strands and sugar. Sounds exotic yet simple doesn’t it?

All the ingredients are local to the area but I think it was the quality of milk which did it. Since I am not a milk aficionado I don’t know which words best describe a superlative milk drinking experience but whatever they may be would describe this saffron milk!

Sadly, I didn’t come across saffron milk anywhere else during my Kashmir stay. Perhaps one reason why it has stayed in my mind.

For anyone interested in trying it, here’s a recipe courtesy Kong-Posh. I think warm would be just as good as cold.

Saffron Milk (A Tonic For Health)

  1. Soak about 1mg of pure saffron in 3-4 teaspoonful of luke warm water and leave it for about half an hour till a concentrate of saffron is founded.
  2. Add this concentrate to a glass of 200 ml milk.
  3. Add sugar to taste along with some crushed almonds & pistachio. Serve it chilled during summer.

Kashmiri Kahwah/Kashmiri Green Tea with Saffron

Kashmiri Kahwah






Now here’s one Kashmiri beverage that I definitely took to!

Kahwah is a type of green tea which includes sugar, crushed almonds and saffron.

My first taste of this yummy drink was when I checked into our hotel in Srinagar; this was their welcome drink.

Kahwah is hot, sweet and usually served in small cups. It is very commonly drunk across the region, so much so that you will find it available at small roadside stalls, on the highway/motorway, in hotels, restaurants and even houseboats on Dal Lake.

Having had this Kashmiri specialty several times during my two week stay, dare I say it, even the not-so-good concoctions were delicious! I particularly enjoyed the crushed almonds that give this tea that bit of oomph.

Here’s a recipe in case you are interested. But I am told that it only works with a particular variety of green tea from Kashmir, not the regular one.

Coming up next – the most delicious drink I had in Kashmir!

Diabetic Friendly Melony Dessert

Diabetic Friendly Melony Dessert

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Diabetic Friendly Melony Dessert








As I had mentioned in my previous post, I had a couple friend – Shamala and Bachu – over for dinner a few days back.

Since both are diabetic, I had to keep their dietary needs in mind when planning the menu. Also since it was last minute, I kept it simple.

For dessert, I wanted to make something without sugar. Looked up diabetes friendly fruits on the internet and settled on the fragrant and naturally sweet musk melon.

The recipe is a mix of yoghurt, ripe melon with its natural juice, a wee bit of honey, saffron and pistachio.

creamy, fragrant with natural sweetness

Luckily, it was a hit with Shamala and Bachu.

Personally, I think it is delicious and would be liked by everyone, not just those with high sugar. So another one for keeps.


1 Small, very ripe, musk melon

200 Grams plain, mild yoghurt

1 Tablespoon honey

2 Tablespoons raw, unsalted, shelled, pistachio

A pinch of saffron

1 Tablespoon milk


  1. First, prep the melon. Wash and cut in half.
  2. Peel each half and remove any seeds.
  3. Now take one half and chop it. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Next, take the other half and chop it very finely. Put it in a bowl along with all the juices.
  5. Add the honey to the second bowl of melon and its juices. Break down the melon with the back of a spoon and mix it with the honey and the juices as you go along. Set aside.
  6. Dry roast the pistachio and, once cool, split them in half.
  7. Warm the milk and dissolve saffron in it.
  8. Whisk the milk-saffron mixture in the yoghurt.
  9. Add half the chopped pistachio to the yoghurt.
  10. Add the chopped melon with juices and honey to the saffron yoghurt. Mix well.
  11. Take a bowl and place a layer of the diced melon (from the first half) at the base.
  12. Pour some of the melony yoghurt over the melon.
  13. Place the remaining diced melon over the yoghurt.
  14. Again layer with melony yoghurt so that the diced melon is completely covered.
  15. Sprinkle the remaining pistachio on top and chill for 3 to 4 hours before serving.


  1. You can either layer this dessert in individual bowls or in one large serving bowl.
  2. Use the ripest melon you can get so that it is is sweet and juicy.

Saffron Infused Pearl Barley with Rocket, Pomegranate & Chickpea

Saffron Infused Pearl Barley with Rocket, Pomegranate & Chickpea

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Saffron Infused Pearl Barley with Rocket, Pomegranate & Chickpea








To borrow a phrase from my blogger friend Teagan of Teagan’s Books, at times a particular ingredient leads me to a recipe.

In Teagan’s case, she lets ingredients provided by her readers shape episodes of her Three Ingredient serial.

In my case, today’s recipe was guided by boiled chickpea leftover from Avocado and Chickpea Spread.

My kooky imagination thought of combining the chickpea with some pearl barley and to add a bit of colour and fragrance, decided to cook the barley with a pinch of saffron.

TSaffron Infused Pearl Barley with Rocket, Pomegranate & Chickpeao add to the mix, managed to get some peppery rocket (arugula) and fresh pomegranate and that’s how this recipe was born.

Apart from being low in calorie, rocket “has many vital phytochemicals, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can immensely benefit health.”

Pomegranate is full of antioxidants, vitamin C and potassium. It helps in fighting cell damage, controlling weight, reducing cholesterol lowering risk of cancer (specially prostate and breast) and lowering risk of heart disease.

a bowl of different colours and textures makes this one a healthy meal

Rocket may not be to everyone’s taste in which case you can use spinach, kale or watercress.

I didn’t add tomato but am including them in the ingredient list because I think it will improve the taste (and as a future reference for myself).


1/2 Cup uncooked pearl barley

A pinch of saffron

1 Chicken stock cube (you can substitute with vegetable if you prefer)

1 Cup boiled chickpea

A handful of rocket leaves

1/2 Cup fresh pomegranate seeds

1 Yellow pepper

8-10 Pearl onion

2 Ripe tomatoes

1-2 Tablespoons seeds of your choice (I used pumpkin and sunflower)

1 Tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar

Salt to taste

1-2 Teaspoons olive oil


  1. To cook the barley, put about 3 to 4 cups of water and stock cube in a pot. Bring to boil and ad the barley and saffron. Lower heat, cover and let the barley cook for 45 minutes. You can do this ahead of time if you like.
  2. Dry roast the seeds till they turn a couple of shades darker. Set aside.
  3. Peel and wash the pearl onions.
  4. Wash, de-core, de-seed and chop the pepper.
  5. Wash and chop the tomato.
  6. Wash and dry the rocket leaves.
  7. Heat the oil in pan.
  8. Lower the heat and add the pearl onion and tomato with salt to taste. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Add the pepper, mix, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  10. Next, add the cooked pearl barley, chickpea and rocket.
  11. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  12. Take the pan off the heat, add the roasted seeds and pomegranate along with balsamic vinegar.
  13. Toss well and serve.

Joojeh Kebabs on Saffron Rice with Grilled Vegetables and Beetroot Yoghurt

Joojeh Kebabs with Grilled Vegetables and Beetroot Yoghurt









Joojeh kebab are Iranian chicken kebabs cooked in saffron and yoghurt. They are served on a bed of rice along with some grilled vegetables, yoghurt and pickles.

our first dinner of 2014

The menu may seem elaborate but if you plan properly and do some things ahead of time, it is pretty straightforward.

You can serve these kebabs with some Persian saffron rice. To save on time, I created my own version of the fragrant rice recipe.

We had a friend over and so much was going on that I didn’t get the opportunity to take proper photographs.

A really delicious yet light on the stomach kind of dinner which I would definitely like to repeat.

The following serves four people.

Ingredients for Joojeh Kebabs

1 Kilo boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into medium size pieces

1 Cup thick, creamy yoghurt (Greek or hung yoghurt would work well here)

2 Onions

1 Teaspoon saffron strands

2 Lemons or limes

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salt to taste

Method for Joojeh Kebabs

  1. Peel, wash and grate the onions.
  2. Juice the lemons or limes.
  3. Mix together the yoghurt, grated onions, saffron, juice of lime or lemon, olive oil, black pepper and salt.
  4. Check to see whether the salt is okay and add more if needed.
  5. Now, add the chicken pieces to the yoghurt marinade.
  6. Combine well, cover and refrigerate for as long as you can (I had left it to marinade for 8 hours).
  7. When you are ready to cook, skewer the chicken pieces and grill them for 15 to 20 minutes till the chicken is cooked.
  8. Turn them frequently and baste as necessary with the marinade.
  9. When cooked, keep aside on a serving platter.

Ingredients for Grilled Vegetables

4 Green peppers

4 Large tomatoes (or 8 small ones)

4 Large onions (or 8 small ones)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Juice of one lime or lemon

Salt tot taste

Method for Grilled Vegetables

  1. Wash and quarter the green pepper. Remove seeds and core.
  2. Wash and halve the tomatoes.
  3. Peel, wash and halve the onions.
  4. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon/lime juice and salt.
  5. Pour this mixture over the vegetables and let them sit for about 30 minutes. You can do this while the kebabs are cooking.
  6. Grill the vegetables till they are a bit charred, basting frequently as and when needed.
  7. Keep aside on a serving platter or in a dish.

Ingredients for Beetroot Yoghurt

2 Beetroots

1 Cup yoghurt

Salt to taste

Method for Beetroot Yoghurt

  1. Wash and steam the beetroot till tender but still firm.
  2. Peel and cube the vegetable.
  3. Whisk the yoghurt and add the cubed beetroot and salt.
  4. Mix well, cover and refrigerate. You can do this several hours beforehand. Take out the beetroot yoghurt from the refrigerator half hour before serving to bring it down to room temperature.

Ingredients for Saffron Rice

1 Cup long grain rice (I used Basmati)

2 Cups water

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Teaspoon saffron strands

Salt to taste

Method for Saffron Rice

  1. Wash the rice till the water runs clear.
  2. Place the washed and drained rice in a pot and add 2 cups of water.
  3. Next, add the saffron, butter and salt.
  4. Cover the pot with a large piece of foil followed by a tight fitting lid. You can do this beforehand and let the rice sit till ready to cook.
  5. Half hour before sitting down for dinner, place the rice pot on the burner on minimum heat. The rice should be cooked by the end of the 30 minutes.
  6. Open the lid and a bit of the foil to check for doneness. The end result should be long, separate, fluffy grains of yellow coloured rice.

To plate

  1. Place one serving of rice on a plate.
  2. Put the chicken kebab on the rice.
  3. Add the grilled vegetables on one side.
  4. Serve beetroot yoghurt on another side.

The grilled vegetables are good enough to eat on their own.

Grilled Vegetables









Joojeh kebabs on saffron rice.

Joojeh Kebabs