A gustatory celebration on Poush Sankranti | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 09, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 09, 2018

A gustatory celebration on Poush Sankranti


Gajrela is a pudding popular in North India and Pakistan. It is traditionally eaten during festivals, mainly on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, Diwali, Holi, Eid and Raksha Bandhan.

Gabriela is now popular worldwide in variations such as red velvet halwa, carrot and beetroot halwa, and cheesy carrot halwa.


10 medium carrots, washed and grated

1 cup milk

4 tbsp pure ghee

10 cashew nuts chopped

2 tbsp raisin

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk solids (khoya/mawa), grated

¼ tsp green cardamom


Heat 3 tablespoon ghee in a thick bottomed pan, add carrots and sauté for few minutes. Pour milk and cook on medium heat until the liquid evaporates and carrot is cooked. Meanwhile heat the remaining ghee in a separate pan and shallow fry cashew nuts and raisins till the cashew nuts turn brown. Drain and keep aside.

Add sugar to cooked carrots and cook, stirring continuously, till the sugar melts. Add khoya and green cardamom powder. Stir and cook for five minutes. Add the cashew nuts and raisins, and continue to cook for two minutes more. Once done, serve hot or at room temperature.



500g cottage cheese

2 eggs (only white)

Few drops of vanilla essence

10 pistachios

150g sugar, 1 tbsp ghee


Finely chop pistachio nuts. Mix cottage cheese, egg white, sugar, ghee, and vanilla in a blender. Place the mixture in a small greased baking dish. Cover the baking dish with aluminium foil. Pour water.

Preheat the oven at 170 degree Celsius. Place the small baking dish along with mixture and bake for 30 minutes, or until the mixture has set. Remove baked sandesh from the oven. Allow it to cool down. Cut into diamond or square shapes. Garnish with chopped pistachio nuts. Serve at room temperature.



1 cup khoya, crumbled

¼ cup ghee

½ cup powdered sugar

1 pinch cardamom powder


Heat ghee in a heavy based pan and add the khoya. Stir till mixture collects together in the centre. Add sugar and mix well, stirring all the time over low heat, till it dissolves. Continue cooking-stirring so that it does not get scorched. Cook till it leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball in the centre. Transfer on to a greased plate, pat to make level, and leave to cool. Cut when cool, and serve.



2½ cups sugar

1½ cups water

4 cups chhana

3-4 cups semolina flour

4 tbsp ghee, 1 cup khoya

Handful raisins

2½ cups ghee


Make a thin syrup with sugar and water. Add ghee and knead the chhana and the semolina to make a smooth paste. Divide the mixture into 20 equal portions. Roll to forms balls. Heat oil or ghee, and fry the ball until golden brown. Drain and immerse in syrup for half an hour, and serve.



½ cup semolina

2 small bananas, chopped

1¼ cup water, 6 tbsp sugar

3 tbsp ghee

¼ tsp cardamom powder

Cashews and raisins, as needed


Heat ghee in a pan. Add and fry cashews and raisins till golden brown in colour. Keep them aside. In the same ghee, add the semolina and fry continuously on medium low flame for 6-7 minutes, or until it becomes light golden-brown colour.

Add the chopped banana and mix. Slowly pour water, while stirring continuously. Cook for a couple of minutes, or until the semolina gets cooked. When the semolina mixture becomes dry, add sugar and cardamom powder, and mix. Let the sugar dissolve completely. Keep stirring.

Add the fried cashews and the raisins and mix everything. Turn off the flame and serve warm or cold.


Kheer stuffed chop, lightly tossed in sugar syrup, is a wonderful way to make any occasion special. Its outer layer is crisp, which provides a perfect contrast to the soft stuffing inside. A true labour of love, these are truly pouches of sweet delight.


2½ litre milk, 4 tsp semolina

¼ cup mawa

1 pinch nutmeg powder

2 cup flour, 2 tbsp ghee

2 cup sugar, 2 cup water

Oil for deep fry, Dry fruits for garnish


Boil the milk in a pan. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of semolina into it. Cook until the milk thickens and reduced to half. Add remaining semolina and keep stirring. Let the kheer thickened more.

Finally, add the mawa and the nutmeg powder. Mix well and remove from heat. Allow it to cool down.

For making a sugar syrup, boil water in a pan and add sugar to it. Continuously stir till the syrup thickens. Then remove it from the heat. Now make dough with flour, 2 tablespoons of ghee and water. Knead well. Divide it into equal portions. Keep it aside for 10 minutes.

Take portions and put some kheer into it. Gently seal the mouth. Press the dough ball lightly with your hand and give it a circular shape. Once done, heat oil in a deep pan. Deep fry the balls until they turn golden brown. Put the fried chops into the sugar syrup. Sprinkle some chopped dry fruits over it and serve.


Pinni is a dessert prepared in Punjabi houses. Made using only very few ingredients —whole wheat flour, mawa, ghee sugar, and nuts — the following recipe is simple and easy. In traditional preparations of pinni, mawa is not included, but addition of mawa gives a nice flavour to the dessert. You can also add jaggery.


300g wheat flour, 300g ghee

½ tsp cardamom seeds, crushed

3 tbsp milk, ½ cup mawa

300g powdered sugar

¼ cup mixed dry fruit, slivered


Heat ghee in a large heavy-bottomed pan. Add flour, stir-fry on low heat. When the flour is evenly browned and aromatic; remove from heat. Spread contents of pan on to a plate, allow it to cool. Add sifted powdered sugar, cardamom, mawa, and dry fruit. Mix very gently, but thoroughly. Use milk as the binding mixture when required.

Shape into balls, no bigger than ping-pongs. Cool completely before storing in airtight boxes.

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