A classic Sindhi street food of thick lentils and crispy fried dough. Vegetarian. Can be vegan if you replace ghee with oil and milk with water.


1 cup Bengal Gram

1/4 cup Refined Flour

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp Red chilli powder

1 tsp Garam masala powder

1/2 tsp amchur or dried mango powder

3 tbsp ghee or vegetable Oil

1 tsp whole Cumin seeds

Pinch asafoetida or hing

2 slit Indian Green chillies

9 fresh Curry leaves


1 cup maida or all purpose refined Flour

1 cup atta or indian wholewheat flour

1 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee melted

2 tbsp fine Semolina

1 tsp black pepper powder

1/4 cup plain wholemilk

Water as required


1 small red Onion, peeled and finely chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped Coriander leaves

Sweet and green chutney


Soak chana dal 3-4 hours until puffy.

Drain, wash and pressure cooker in 3 cups water for two whistles.

Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, dry mango powder and salt and 1 tbsp ghee.

Stir gently and cook on low heat until mixture thickens. This dal should have a chunky, spreadable consistency.

Heat oil or remaining ghee in a small tempering spoon or mini skillet on high heat.

Add green chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida and cumin seeds and cook till fragrant .

Pour the oil and spices over the dal.

Mix well. Taste for salt and adjust to taste. Remove from the fire.


Sift refined flour or maida and atta into a large bowl.

Add semolina, half teaspoon cumin seeds, black peppercorn powder, oil and salt.

Add milk and stir.

Add room temperature water a little at a time and knead into a soft pliant dough. Cover with a slightly damp cloth and let rest 20 minutes.

Divide the dough into eight portions and keep covered with a damp cloth.

On a flat clean surface dusted with maida, roll each portion into a flat chapati of five-inch diameter using a rolling pin.

Prick lightly with a fork. This prevents the pakwan from puffing up while frying.

Heat vegetable oil in a large kadai or deep heavy bottomed dutch oven on high heat. When hot but not smoking lower temperature to medium and deep-fry pakwan in hot oil until golden and crisp in 2-3 batches. Make sure they are golden on both sides.

Drain over paper towels. Serve immediately with the dal. Spread luke warm cooled dal over the fried dough.Garnish with chopped onion and coriander leaves and chutney as desired.

Dal Pakwan


Triangular cookies made to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim. More information on Instagram @deshpandetara


  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups margarine, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs whisked
  • 6 tablespoons ice cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups Fig, prune, apricot preserves
  • 1/4 cup black poppy seeds (optional)
  • egg wash


Cream or whisk sugar and margarine together with the vanilla. Add eggs and mix to incorporate evenly. Add flour and mix with a fork until it just comes together. Add cold water and using your hands bring the dough together into a flattened ball. Plastic wrap and refrigerate one hour.

Preheat oven to 350f and prepare the middle rung. Line a baking ray with parchment or a silicone mat.

On a clean well floured surface roll out the dough into a square about 1/4 inch thick. Use a 2.5 inch round cookie cutter to cut out circles. Remove excess dough and reuse to cut out more circles.

Place 1.5 teaspoons of preserves in the center of each circle and then using your thumb and forefinger pinch the sides together to create a triangle. Brush sides with egg wash and sprinkle with black poppy seeds if desired. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden. Cool and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee. Refrigerate what’s left in an airtight box for up to 3 days.




Yield: 1 (8- or 9-inch) cake

  • ¼cup/25 grams unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch-processed or natural)
  • ¾cup/180 milliliters Coca Cola
  • ⅔cup/160 milliliters egg mayonnaise
  • ¼teaspoon kitchen salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2cup/100 grams granulated sugar
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½cups/190 grams maida or all-purpose flour, sifted
  • Vegetable oil for greasing the pan


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare lower rung. Grease an 8-9 inch cake pan with some oil and dust lightly with flour.
  2. Heat the Coca Cola, sugar and cocoa in a saucepan until sugar has dissolved in a deep saucepan. Switch off the flame.
  3. Add the baking soda and let mixture cool 10 minutes.
  4. Whisk in mayonnaise, vanilla, salt, baking powder until smooth.
  5. Last whisk in the flour and stir until you have no lumps.
  6. Pour into the cake pan. Smoothen the top and knock the cake pan agains the counter to ensure there are no air pockets.
  7. Bake 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Unmold cake on a baking rack and cool. Frost with a ganache or my chocolate cream cheese frosting.


Custard gingerbread tart with Chai poached pears


An eggless dessert that is great for so many occasions. Diwali, Thanksgiving even Christmas. You can use different pears like Anjou or Bartlett to make this dessert. They tend to be larger so you will need fewer pears.


  • 2 cup water
  • 2 whole star anise seeds removed
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 3 black whole peppercorns
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 350 ML ginger ale or ginger soda
  • Peel and juice of one orange
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 8-10 small to medium firm Indian pears (Nakh), peeled and cored, leaving stems on
  • 1/2 cup custard powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup whipped vanilla cream
  • 350 grams Digestives
  • 10 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 tablespoons skinned roasted hazelnut pieces


  1. Blitz crackers, ginger powder and cinnamon to a fine powder. Then add butter and blitz again until you have a soft dough.
  2. Press dough into a 7 inch square French tart pan wrap in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours until firm.
  3. Heat milk then add custard powder, stir and cook till you have a smooth thick spreadable custard. Cool 20 minutes. If lumpy strain your custard.
  4. Pour custard into the prepared tart over the crust, smoothen the custard then cover with wrap and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
  5. In a large pot about 10 inches wide combine water, sugar, whole spices ginger ale and orange peel. Cook 8 minutes on a low flame.
  6. Then place pears stem facing upwards into the liquid. Cover with a piece of parchment and cook on a slow flame until tender. Pears should be fully submerged in the liquid.
  7. Do not over cook; the pears should be easy to slice. The poaching time will vary depending on the ripeness of the pears.
  8. Remove tart from the fridge and unmold onto a serving plate. Cover with whipped cream. Slice each pear so it can be spread across the cream easily. If you use the smaller Indian pears you can leave them whole. Top with toasted hazelnuts and drizzle with cooled poaching syrup.




A dish that is traditionally made with pork this is the vegetarian version prepared with potatoes.

Use baby potatoes or cut whole cooking potatoes into wedges.


Considered a specialty of the Khasi community this dish is made in most homes and every recipe varies just a little bit.


1 kg boiled and peeled baby potatoes

6 tablespoons black sesame seeds

1 cup onions finely sliced

6 cloves of garlic finely minced

1 tsp peeled grated fresh ginger

2 red Thai chillies finely chopped or to taste

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp honey (optional)

salt to taste and chopped parsley or coriander leaves for garnish


Toast sesame seeds in a dry wok about 8 minutes on medium flame until fragrant. Cool and grind to a paste. Reserve.


Heat pan on a medium flame. Add okl add onions and chillies and toss until soft on a medium flame. Add garlic and ginger and mix well.

Add turmeric, honey and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss, then add potatoes and cook 4-5 minutes on a medium flame. Toss potatoes to ensure they are evenly coated in spices. Add the sesame seeds and honey and continue to cook until fragrant. Garnish with coriander or parsley and serve with rice or rotis.


Goan chorizo is both salty and spicy so add additional salt and red pepper flakes with care. You can use various Goan, East Indian or Mangalorean pork masalas for this dish. I’ve found they all work well.

Ingredients serve 4

  • 2 cups Goa red rice or Ukkade rice
  • 250 gm chorizo / Goan pork sausages
  • 2 red bell peppers deseeded and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger & garlic paste
  • 2 medium red onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable  oil
  • 2 tsp bafat masala powder
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar or to taste
  • red chilli flakes (if desired to taste)
  • salt to taste

Whole spices (garam masala)

  • 1 inch cinnamon stick 
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 1 black cardamom

For garnishing (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons coriander or parsley leaves chopped
  • Lime juice
  • 1 cup diced and lightly pan fried potatoes
  • 4 crispy fried eggs
  • 2 red onions finely sliced soaked in white vinegar


  • Remove the chorizo meat from the casing and crumble it onto a plate. Discard casing.
  • Wash the Goa rice 2-3 times and soak it in sufficient water for 15-20 minutes. Drain and dry completely.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan heat the oil and saute the onions until just tender. Add the chorizo and stir well.
  • Add the garlic and ginger paste followed by the tomato puree and the Bafat masala. Cook until fragrant and bubbly. Add the sugar and vinegar.
  • Add the rice, and gently toss to coat in oil and flavours. Pour in 3 cups of  hot water water add the whole spices, add 1 tsp salt, cover and cook until fluffy. Check salt to taste & adjust spices if required. Add the vinegar and sugar.
  • Open the lid, fluff up the rice gently with a fork, cover & leave it to cook in its own heat for 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley or coriander, fried potatoes & serve hot with crispy fried eggs and vinegar onions.

Goan chorizo pulao

Manicotti or Cannelloni with Spinach

Manicotti is the Italian-American version of Cannelloni. In India we know it as Cannelloni but we prepare it like Manicotti!


Both are pasta tubes, but the difference between the two is not great: Manicotti tubes are ridged, larger and slightly thicker. Cannelloni tubes are smooth, a shorter and thinner. In Italy a stuffed cannelloni maybe served with just tomato sauce but often in Italian American cuisine it is topped with cheese or a cheese sauce. This recipe is the Italian American version. Find the recipe video on youtube (Tara Deshpande).

Add salt to the sauce with care as Parmesan is a salty cheese.

serves 6-7

For the Marinara Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil
10-12 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 small white onion very finely chopped

1.5 teaspoons dried oregano

1 tsp red chilli flakes or to taste
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2.5 kg can crushed plum tomatoes (you can also use whole)
2 tablespoons minced parsley leaves plus more for garnishing

For the Cheese topping:

250 grams of shredded mozzarella

50 grams grated Parmesan

For the stuffing

500 grams cannelloni pasta tubes or giant shell pasta
250 grams ricotta (no liquid)

1 cup cooked, drained and chopped spinach
1 whole egg beaten (optional)
85 grams grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste



Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

In a bowl, make the filling by combining the ricotta, spinach, egg, Parmesan and salt and pepper. Spoon into an icing bag with a large round tip. Reserve.

Heat a large Dutch oven type pot on medium heat. Add olive oil and saute the onion and garlic till just soft. Add tomatoes, oregano, red chilli flakes, 1 cup water and salt. Cook until sauce comes together about 12 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent burning. Add parsley and cook another minute. If using whole tomatoes mash them down with a potato mashing tool. Season with salt sugar and more red chilli flakes to suit your palate. Traditionally cannelloni is not a spicy dish.

Pipe the stuffing into the manicotti tubes until just full.

Spread cooled tomato sauce onto the bottom of a 9-by-12 inch baking pan. Place the manicotti in the sauce one next to the other. Continue until the pan has a layer of manicotti. Spoon more sauce over the top to cover the pasta tubes. Cover with foil. Prick the foil with a fork to allow steam to escape.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove foil, top with cheeses and let it bake open for 10 minutes until golden and bubbly before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley if desired and serve with a green salad and garlic bread. Pour additional marinara sauce into a dish for pouring.




Butternut squash and red pumpkin can be used to prepare this recipe.

if you want a smaller portion use butternut squash and reduce the marinade in proportion. Generally

pumpkins can vary greatly in size. A 2.5 kg pumpkin once peeled and trimmed can feed atleast 12 people as a side. If you are only able to find a larger pumpkin use only half and reserve the other for a different dish.


  • 2-2.5 kg small red pumpkin (lal kadoo)
  • 50 g butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 cloves of garlic smashed
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or use honey
  • 2 tsp paprika or use chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 12 fresh sage leaves, plus extra sprigs to serve
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted, roughly chopped
  • Zest and juice of one navel orange
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste


  • Preheat oven to 170F. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper if you are making a whole pumpkin otherwise you will need just one that can fit half the pumpkin. Brush sheets with 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil.
  • Combine melted butter, garlic cloves, maple syrup or honey, remaining oil, paprika and orange lemon zest and juice. Add salt to taste and adjust for spiciness. Reserve.
  • Peel pumpkin. Cut in half lengthways. Scoop out seeds and use to make toasted spiced seeds if you like.
  • Place one pumpkin half, cut-side down, on a chopping board. Slice pumpkin thinly into crescents leaving a half inch base uncut. This will help support the slices as they cook. Transfer to 1 prepared tray. Brush with half the marinade on both sides. Roll up some aluminium foil into a ball and place inside the cavity of the pumpkin. The center cooks much faster than the sides and can sometimes sink in the middle. You don’t have to do this but if you are using a large pumpkin it may prevent your centrepiece from slumping.
  • Spread the sage leaves on top. Cover with foil. Make several tiny holes in the foil with a fork and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil brush again with half the remaining maple oil mixture. Roast until until golden and tender.
  • While the pumpkin is baking thicken the remaining sauce into a glaze like consistency.
  • Remove pumpkin from the oven and check for doneness. Glaze with thickened marinade. Garnish with remaining sage and toasted nuts. Slice and serve.



An easy dessert thats festive and can be served in indivIdual portions with fresh fruit. To make 500 grams of strained yoghurt you will need 1 kg of full fat plain yogurt.


Makes 1 shallow 7 inch pie/tart dish or 8 small to medium ramekins

  • 500 grams full fat strained dahi or yoghurt
  • 1 can ( 380-400 gm) condensed milk
  • ¼ cup full cream milk powder
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 2 tbsp of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon high quality Kashmiri saffron strands
  • 1 tsp powdered cardamom seeds or use nutmeg if you prefer
  • 3 tablespoons roasted almond flakes
  • 2 tablespoons shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped
Baked kesar pista yogurt


  1. To make strained yogurt at home put 1 kg of full fat plain yogurt in a cheesecloth, tie it tightly and place over a sieve. Place the sieve over a dish and refrigerate overnight. If you live in a cool climate you can leave the yogurt outside. Squeeze the liquid from the cheesecloth a few times. The why can be added to lentils and soup.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 325°F and prepare bottom rack.
  3. Combine saffron with hot water. Let sit 5 minutes then add milk powder and combine till smooth
  4. In a mixing bowl combine all remaining ingredients and whisk well until very smooth and free of lumps. Add saffron milk and stir well.
  5. Pour into a wide baking dish about 8 inch in diameter and 2-2.5 inches deep
  6. Place the dish in a roasting pan and fill the tray with hot water to approximately ½-¾ of the way up the sides creating a water bath. This will allow the yogurt to cook slowly.
  7. Cover with aluminium foil. Use a fork to prick a few holes on the top of the foil to allow steam to escape.
  8. Bake for 45-55 minutes until the top starts to turn a very golden. Remove from the oven, take off the foil and allow to cool completely. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Garnish with roasted nuts and serve chilled with fresh fruit or poached fruit. Its terrific as is also.



To make this middle eastern dessert vegan substitute the butter with vegetable oil.


  • 8 sheets frozen phyllo pastry
  • 200 grams roasted almonds with skin
  • 150 grams finely chopped dried Turkish apricots
  • 2.5 tablespoons of granulated sugar powdered in a mixer
  • 250-300 grams butter, melted or unflavoured vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 tablespoons granulated or castor sugar
  • 1 cup honey (organic bee friendly honey where possible)
  • Juice of one lemon or lime juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick about 3 inches



  • Set the ingredients for the syrup to boil on a medium flame. Let the volume reduce by half. Switch off flame and remove the cinnamon stick. Reserve.
  • Pulse almonds until they are very tiny but not powdered.
  • Combine all the ingredients for the baklava in a mixing bowl. Reserve.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare bottom rack.
  • Brush bottom of 11 by 13 inch baking tray with butter
  • In a large baking tray place 2 sheets of phyllo at the bottom. Brush generously with oil or butter and ensure that the sheets are uniformly greased.
  • Lay 2 more sheets over this and butter or oil again from end to end.
  • Spread the nut filling all over these sheets.
  • Cover with 2 more sheets of phyllo. Oil or butter them from end to end.
  • Place 2 more sheets over the baklava and brush with remaining butter or oil.
  • Using a sharp kitchen knife cut into the baklava to form 12 equal squares.
  • Do this slowly to prevent the sheets from tearing. Your knife doesn’t have to go right through all the layers but once the phyllo bakes it will be easier to separate the pieces.
  • Bake about 35 minutes until golden brown all over.
  • Pour warm syrup over hot baklava so as to drench it completely.
  • Cool 30 minutes. Using a knife gently separate the 12 pieces.
  • This will keep refrigerated for upto 2 days in an airtight container but serve it as soon as you can because in a humid climate the pastry can soften and lose its crispness.