Caramelised fresh pineapple upside down cake

This cake is made with fresh pineapple which, gives the cake a deep intense pineapple flavour. You can omit the walnuts if you prefer. Remove all the stems or tough parts of the pineapple pieces and any thorny bits when you prepare the fresh fruit. You only want the juicy bits. You can replace walnuts with pecans as well or not use nay nuts at all. I used an 8 by 10 by 2 inch deep rectangular cake pan. You can use a 9 inch round, 2 inch deep cake pan as well. Pineapples vary in size. What you need is between 550-600 grams of diced prepared fruit.

1 large fresh pineapple (total weight of 1.75 kgs) peeled, cored, all central stem parts removed and cut into 1 inch pieces (about 550- 600 grams of cut fruit)

100 grams brown sugar

100 grams castor sugar

3 tablespoons butter, unsalted

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract


130 grams of sifted maida or all purpose refined wheat flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kitchen salt

125 grams butter softened

70 grams of castor or granulated sugar

1.5 teaspoons pineapple or vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lightly grated lime zest

1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon (optional)

2 large eggs or 3 smaller ones at room temperature

⅓ cup plain whole milk at room temperature

30 grams of toasted and skinned walnut pieces (optional)

Grease your baking pan lightly with butter

For the pineapple topping: Cook pineapple and brown sugar in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium flame until light golden and soft 12-14 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent burning. Drain out the cooked fruit using a slotted spoon into a sieve placed over a bowl. Let the pineapple drain. Meanwhile cook the liquid in the pan until it slowly begins to thicken and turns golden. Add the drained liquid from the pineapple in the sieve. When the liquid thickens, bubbles and reduces in volume switch off the flame. Whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Pour this thick syrup into your cake pan and spread around as evenly as possible. It’s okay if there are a few empty pockets because the syrup will spread when in the oven, When the pineapple pieces have cooled, scatter them evenly over the syrup until the entire pan is fully covered.

pineapple pieces must cover the bottom of the pan evenly

spoon batter evenly over the fruit and spread with an offset or flat spatula

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F degrees and prepare the middle rung.

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together and reserve.

Using a hand or stand mixer beat the butter and sugar at high speed until well combined and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla, lime zest and cinnamon and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula. Then add one egg at a time and beat again. Scrape down bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula then beat again. Now lower speed and add half the milk and beat until just incorporated. Add half the flour and beat again. Add remaining milk and flour and beat again until just combined- don’t over beat. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl to ensure that batter is combined. This is a thick batter.

To assemble cake: Using a large spoon, drop thick cake batter over pineapple pieces to cover as much of the area of the cake pan as possible. Then with an offset spatula or the back of your cake spatula spread batter over fruit as evenly as possible to cover it completely. Smack pan against the counter top to ensure the batter has settled properly into the pan and there are no air pockets.

Bake until cake is golden brown about 40 minutes and the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Insert a toothpick or cake tester into the centre of cake. If it comes out clean your cake is ready. Cool 5-7 minutes. Then hold the pan and shake it slightly to loosen the cake. Then place an inverted serving platter that fits your cake pan over it. Invert cake pan and platter together. Slowly remove the cake pan. Serve warm if you like with whipped cream or ice cream. Otherwise cool then cut into pieces and serve. A rum infused whipped cream is fabulous. Tender coconut ice cream too.

Make this upside down cake in a deep 9 inch round or a deep 8 by 10 pan

Luxury Rice Kheer

Luxury Rice Kheer or Pudding

This rice kheer produces a creamy, velvety texture that’s irresistible. You can adjust the thickness to your taste. Use nutmeg and cashews instead of almonds and cardamom if you prefer. You can also use broken rice if you prefer but the amount of time and water will change based on the kind of rice you use.

Ingredients serves 6

3 tbsp Basmati Rice, washed and soaked for an hour

1/2 litre hot water

3 cups whole milk plain

1 can or 400ml condensed milk

1 tsp ground green cardamom seeds

3 tbspns slivered and toasted unsalted almonds or cashew pieces

1.5 tbsp roasted and peeled pistachios

12 strands of high quality saffron (Indian Mogra or Iran Negin)


Cook the rice and water in a pressure cooker on medium hear for about 12 minutes with the whistle on. Cook until rice is very soft, macerated and the water around it has thickened.

In a heavy bottomed cooking pan combine condensed milk and milk and cook on a medium flame until reduced in volume to 2/3. So your mixture of about 1 liter should be cooked down to between 600-700 ml. Stir regularly especially the bottom to prevent burning. Scrape the reducing milk fat off the sides as well from time to time.

Stir in the rice with its liquid and continue to cook about 10 minutes on a slow flame stirring regularly. Add cardamom, saffron half the almonds and stir well.

Remove from flame and chill in a covered bowl. Remove from fridge and if its become too thick use some water to thin it down to your taste. Garnish with remaining nuts.

Luxury Rice Kheer

Luxury Eggless Plum Cake for Christmas

This luxurious eggless vegetarian Xmas cake is packed with delights. You can add some cherries and cranberries to it as well if you like. Replace alcohol with apple and orange juice. If you have cranberry juice use that as well. You can use one large 10 inch cake pan or two 6 inch ones. A loaf pan works well also. I eliminate the traditional soaking process by using a pressure cooker and replace the eggs with apples. Video on Instagram @deshpandetara.

Ingredients for approximately 1.35 kg cake

250 grams golden raisins seedless pips removed

100 gram black currants seedless pips removed

2 red apples peeled and grated

50 gram dried cherries or cranberries (optional)

1. 25 cups apple juice

1 cup dark rum

1 teaspoon orange zest

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1.5 tsp allspice powder

1 teaspoon nutmeg powder

1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder1 teaspoon filter coffee extract

200 grams cold but soft butter

1.75 cups brown sugar

185 grams maida or all purpose flour sifted

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch salt

1 tsp lime juice

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup toasted skinned walnut pieces or pecans or almonds

Optional 3/4 cup brandy for feeding the cake Fondant or marzipan to decorate


Preheat oven to 325F.

Prepare lower rung of oven. Grease and line cakes pans with parchment.

In a pressure cook pan combine golden and black raisins, cherries or cranberries if you are using them with grated apple, orange zest, rum, apple juice powdered spices.

Stir well and pressure cooker 3 whistles on a low flame. If you are concerned about burning the bottom of the pressure pan open it in the middle of the cooking process and give it a good stir. You are looking for the fruit to turn plump and absorb all the liquid, just short of a jammy consistency.

Cool completely.

Beat butter and sugar with a hand or in a stand whisk until fluffy.

Add filter coffee, dried fruits and whisk to combine evenly.

Add baking soda to lime juice and when it froths beat into batter until well combined.

Now add flour mixture cup by cup on a slow speed until evenly combined with dried fruits. Scrape bottom of the mixing bowl to ensure batter mixes evenly.

Add walnuts and beat on low speed until combined. Do not over beat this cake after flour has been added. Batter will be dark and thick.

Spread and smoothen batter into two greased and lined 6 inch pans or one single deep 10 inch cake pan and cover with foil.

Use a fork to make a few small Holes in the foil to allow steam to escape while cake bakes.

Bake in lower rung of oven for 50-60 minutes. Remove foil and move to middle rung and bake until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in pan completely then unmold and brush with 2 – 3 tbsp brandy.

Place in an airtight container and refrigerate till you are ready to decorate it.

Feeding the Cake

After 3-4 days make four small holes in the cake using toothpicks and pour 2-3 tbsp brandy over the cake again. This can be done 3-4 times over a 3 week period if you wish. If you plan not to feed the cake wrap in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out in the fridge.

Luxury Eggless Plum Cake for Christmas


This is an easier recipe that you can make at home when you don’t have the time for too many steps. This recipe is low on time and high on flavour. Choose a tandoori chicken paste that is aromatic and has a deep red hue. if you want to make this vegetarian don’t use the chicken stock. Just use water.

Ingredients for 8 persons

Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhani

1 kg tandoori chicken on the bone

500 grams chopped tomatoes (plum, roma)

150 grams chopped white onions

75 grams cashew pieces unsalted, unroasted

75 grams mawa or khoya (solidified milk fats)

100 grams chicken tandoori paste masala (not powder)

1 tsp white butter (plus more for garnishing)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves or kasuri methi

sat, sugar and red chilli powder to taste

2 tablespoons heavy cream plus a little more to drizzle as a garnish

coriander sprigs to garnish (optional)


Separate the meat from the bones of the Tandoori chicken.

Dice meat coarsely in 3/4 inch pieces and reserve.

Add 4 cups of water to the bones and heat in a large pressure cooker pan on high heat until water has reduced to approximately 2 cups.
Drain, reserve stock and discard bones.

Rinse and wipe the same pressure cooker pan. Heat on a medium flame and add white butter and oil. Add onions, tomatoes, cashews, mawa and the Tandoori chicken paste. Add the stock and 2 additional cups of water.

Cover with a lid but do not put on the whistle. Cook 40-45 minutes until pulpy and reduced. Stir once or twice to ensure it doesn’t burn at the base.

Now put on the whistle and cook for an additional 2 whistles. The mixture should have reduce in volume, should be extremely soft and the oil should be floating in the top.

Cool 10 minutes then using a hand blender of food mill puree to a smooth paste. Reheat in the same pressure cooker pan. Add chicken. kasuri methi, salt sugar nd cayenne pepper to taste. Cook 10-15 minutes on a low heat.

Turn of flame and stir in 2 tbspns cream. Garnish with a drizzle of cream and some coriander sprigs. Serve hot with Naan, roti or chapatis.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Makhani or Butter chicken

Butter Chicken


This cake is eggless and easy to make. use a large pressure cooker that can fit your cake pan.

Ingredients for an 8-9 inch cake

  • 350g all purpose flour/ refined flour or maida
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 90g unsweetened Dutched cocoa, sifted
  • 400g fine white sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tbsp whole milk or soy milk
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce from a jar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 150g butter melted or vegetable oil
  • 300 ml room temperature water
  • Pinch of salt
  • Thick aluminium foil
  • Pressure cooker
  • water and 2 cups of sand
  • 8-9 inch cake pan 2-2.5  inches deep well greased with vegetable oil (this must fit inside your cooker. You can use a bundt cake pan as well.

For the glaze combine on low heat until smooth-

  • 200 ml coconut milk of heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125 grans semi sweet chocolate or use vegan bitter chocolate and add icing sugar to it


Set pressure cooker without a whistle to heat with some water in it on medium hear. Grease cake pan with oil lightly.

Sift flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa together.  Stir in melted butter or oil, milk, apple sauce and water and stir to just combine- don’t over beat it. Combine vinegar and baking soda and stir until it begins to fizz. Add to the batter and mix well. Pour batter into greased cake pan of your choice and stir well until all ingredients combined. Do not over beat cake batter.

Wrap top of tin tightly with foil. Remove most of the water form the hot cooker. Add sand, a stand on which to place the cake pan. Cover. Don’t use the whistle. Place on cooker and cook on low heat for 45-50 minutes until cake is cooked.

Open and remove foil. Test with a cake tester to ensure the cake is baked through. If tester comes out clean cake is ready otherwise return to the cooker.

Cool cake in tin at least 30 minutes. Loosen sides of cake if required with a sharp knife and unmold on to a serving plate

Glaze with fudge or buttercream or ganache. If you’ve use a bundt cake pan I recommend  the frosting in this recipe.








150 grams castor sugar

2 whole eggs

4 egg yolks

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup fresh lime juice

8 tbsp. unsalted butter cut into small pieces and chilled


Whisk together the sugar, lemon and lime juice in a bowl placed over simmering hot water or in a double boiler over high heat. When the sugar has dissolved, lower flame add whisked egg yolks and eggs and keep stirring continuously until the mixture begins to simmer and thicken. Remove from heat immediately and strain through a sieve into a mixing bowl. Let sit 10 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent a skin from forming.

When the lemon curd is still warm but not hot whisk in the butter using a hand or electric whisk. Fill into sterilised jars and cap tightly. Chill before using and keep refrigerated.



This Parsi classic is called Lacey because the eggs beaten with a little water, a technique you see in Chinese and Thai cuisine also, gives the cutlet or rissole a frilly appearance.



  • 1 lb or about 1/2 kg ground chicken, turkey OR mutton
  • 250 grams  boiled, peeled and mashed potatoes
  • 2 red onions approximately 3/4 cup finely chopped
  • 2-3 Green chillies finely chopped and rubbed with a 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp good quality garam masala
  • 1 tsp freshly roasted and powdered cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp freshly roasted and ground coriander powder
  • 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
  • 3 eggs (more if required)
  • 2 tbpsns water
  • Oil for frying
  • A large wide non stick skillet


  1. Saute the onions and chillies in 1 tablespoon of oil until soft on medium heat in a non stick pan.
  2. Add garlic ginger paste and turmeric and saute well about 1 minute.
  3. Switch off flame and add all the dried powdered spices and potatoes and mash well. Add salt to taste at this point a little extra because you will be added the meat.
  4. Add the mince meat and stir together. Then mash again until soft and well blended.
  5. Make flat oval cutlets about 1/4 inch thick. If you are doing this for the first time make smaller cutlets as they are easier to cook.
  6. Pat them in breadcrumbs. Place on a tray and cover. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour
  7. Beat eggs till frothy with a balloon whisk or fork about 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp water and beat again until very frothy.
  8. Heat 1.25 inches of vegetable oil in a wide non-stick pan on medium heat.
  9. Pour the beaten eggs into a flat wide pan and lay one cutlet in the eggs. Dredge both sides well.
  10. Fry one cutlet until golden brown. Spoon hot oil over them as they fry. Use a wide big slotted spatula so its easier to turn them over without breaking them. Fry the first one until golden on both sides, drain and taste for salt. If short on salt add some to the beaten eggs.
  11. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with ketchup, onion kachumber, steamed vegetables or a condiment you like
  12. Cutlets can be frozen and rewarmed in an oven.


CHILI CON CARNE- Kidney Bean and Corn Stew

If you like Rajma you will love this dish. Its spicy sweet and robust. A one pot classic that will feed you for a couple of days.

A complete meal, this nutritious dish is of Mexican origin and a part of South Western cuisine in the United States. You can use a variety of kidney beans for it. It can be made entirely vegan with sweet potato instead of meat. If you use sweet potato add less brown sugar.


  • 250 grams  red or speckled kidney beans (you can use pinto or black beans or a mix as well)
  • 1-2 large red onion finely chopped (about 1.5 cups)
  • 2 bell peppers red and yellow
  • 6 garlic cloves finely sliced
  • 4 tbsp veg or olive oil
  • 500 gram minced chicken/beef or uses peeled and chopped sweet potato (about 1/2 inch dice)
  • 400g can tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 200 ml tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 1 cup fresh shelled corn
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (optional)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cumin powder

  • 1/2-1 tsp paprika or red chilli powder
  • Hot sauce of your choice  I used chipotle but habanero jalapeño is also fine
  • Salt to taste
  • TO SERVE (optional)
  • sour cream and or grated cheddar, to serve
  • cilantro or fresh coriander leaves to garnish
  • Tacos, gutLI pao, cornbread as an accompaniment


Wash and soak kidney beans in excess water 4-5  hours or overnight. Wash drain and reserve.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker pan on a high flame. Saute onions and garlic till soft but do not brown them. Add bell peppers and cook until soft and water evaporates. Add carrots and saute one minute. Add tomatoes and tomato puree and saute 2-3 minutes. Add corn and kidney beans and combine. Add all spices and a teaspoon of salt. Stir well. Add some water if required and pressure cooker on medium heat for 2 whistles.

This stew is thick and juicy but not not runny. The meat when added will release a fair bit of water so add any extra liquid with care.

Open cooker and add meat. Stir well and pressure cooker for 2 whistles. Open and check for doneness. Add water salt, chilli powder and sugar as required.

This dish can also be prepared in a slow cooker. If using a large biryani or Dutch oven style pot you will need to add 2-3 cups of excess  water for the kidney beans.






400 grams medium prawns shelled and deveined (weight should be 400 grams after shelling)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

Juice of a quarter lime

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

5 green onion bulbs sliced into rings

5 tablespoons fresh fenugreek leaves stems removed, washed and chopped

3-4 Indian green chillies slit lengthwise

1 tablespoon garlic and ginger paste

1/4 cup coconut milk (optional)

Salt to taste


2 tablespoons stalks of green onion finely chopped

Wedges of Lime


Combine shrimp with turmeric and let sit 15 minutes.

Meanwhile heat oil in a skillet and saute green onion bulbs 1 minute until they have softened. Add fenugreek and green chillies and saute another minute. Add garlic and ginger paste and cook until fragrant.

Stir in the coconut milk now if you plan to use it and cook until bubbly.

Stir in the prawns and lime juice. Cook until prawns are just tender and edible.

Switch off flame and add salt to taste. Garnish with green stalks and wedges of lime.

Serve with rotis if you have not used the coconut milk or with plain boiled white rice if you have a gravy.

Gucchi Pulao-Kashmiri Pulao with Black morels

Gucchi Pulao-Kashmiri Pulao with Black morels

Gucchi Pulao-Kashmiri Pulao with Black morels


This recipe came to me from a Wazwaan Ghulam Mohammed. Wazwaan is a traditional Kashmiri cook who specialises in large banquets. He lamented that very few people made this dish anymore because Morels are very expensive and being exported all over the world making them even more inaccessible in the valley. Gucchi pulao is reserved for special occasions such as weddings and births. The pulao is subtly flavoured so as not to interfere with the delicate yet distinct aromas and taste of Gucchi.

Serves 4

10 dried black morels or Gucchi

2 cups Basmati Rice washed and completely drained


4 cups good quality, strained mutton or chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 inch stick cinnamon

4 black cloves

2 badi elaichi or black cardamom

1 dried bay leaf

1 teaspoon sabut saunf (aniseed)

3 elephant garlic cloves or 6-8 regular garlic cloves peeled, lightly smashed


2 cups vegetable oil

2 tablespoons ghee

4 Kashmiri shallot (Pran) or regular shallot peeled and thinly sliced


Soak the morels in a cup of warm stock of your choice and reserve.Drain and squeeze dry. The slice in half. Add the leftover liquid to the stock you will use for the rice and reserve the sliced morels.

Heat the stock with 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt. Add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, aniseed, bay leaf and garlic to the stock and cook on high heat until reduced to 4 cups of liquid.

While the stock is cooking fry your onions in hot oil until crispy. Drain and reserve.

When the stock has reduced drain out all the spices and garlic with a slotted spoon and discard. Keep the stock on a low simmer.

Heat the ghee with 1 tablespoon of oil from the oil you used to fry the onions in a skillet and when warm saute the halved morels on medium heat for about 30 seconds. Add the drained rice and saute again for a minute on a medium flame until all the rice is coated in ghee and oil.

Add the rice and morels to the hot stock. Add half the fried onions. Cover and cook until rice is fluffy.

Fluff the rice with a fork, season with more salt if required and garnish with remaining onions.

Serve immediately.