ISRA 2020
ISRA 2020

Indian desserts with a health twist

The festive season is round the corner and many dread the after-effects of indulging in rich, ghee and sugar-laden Indian desserts. To help your family enjoy a guilt-free and healthy festive season, we present Indian dessert recipes with a healthy, nutritious twist. – K.P. Malini

Palada Pradhaman

Kheer is a speciality of the southern state of Kerala. This recipe of pradhaman or payasam is made using flakes of cooked rice known as ada and milk. Rice flakes are a probiotic food and promote abdominal health.


  • 200 gm sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ cup ada
  • 3 cups (450 ml) milk
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 3 tbsp chopped cashew nuts

Preparation guide

  1. Boil 2-3 cups of water and mix in the ada. Switch off the flame and keep it covered for 15 minutes.
  2. Drain water completely.
  3. Heat ghee in a thick bottom deep pan. Fry the ada in it till it turns light pink in colour. Set aside.
    Combine milk and water in the pan and bring to boil. Add the cooked ada to it and reduce heat to low while stirring gently. Cook for about 15 minutes.
  4. Add the condensed milk and stir well. Cook for another five minutes.
  5. Remove from flame, garnish with raisins and cashew nuts and serve.



This delightful dessert from West Bengal is known as the ‘queen of Bengali sweets’. Paneer i.e cottage cheese is your source of nutrition in this recipe.

Cottage cheese contains high amounts of protein and fibre, which helps digestion.


  • 1 heaped tbsp maida
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 500 gm paneer
  • 2 heaped tbsp dairy whitener
  • 400 gm sweetened condensed milk


Preparation guide

  1. Blend all ingredients in a mixer to get a smooth paste. Ensure there are no lumps.
  2. Heat a thick-bottomed pan and pour the blended mixture and stir.
  3. Reduce the flame and cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring continuously till it becomes dry.
  4. Grease a plate with little ghee. Pour the cooked sandesh and level it. Cool it and cut into desired shapes.


Dharwad Peda

Dharwad peda is a gluten-free delicacy of Karnataka. It’s a unique rich brown grainy and crumbly peda. Despite bad press, ghee or clarified butter (homemade) is rich in conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, a fatty acid known to protect the body against carcinogens, artery plaque and diabetes.


  • 2 litres milk + ¼ cup milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp ghee


Preparation guide

  1. Boil 2 litres of milk into a thick bottom pan.
  2. Add the lemon juice and stir continually. Turn off heat. The milk will curdle and whey will separate
    from it.
  3. Take a muslin or cheesecloth and place it on a colander. Pour the curdled milk into it and gently squeeze the whey.
  4. This is the chena.
  5. Cook the chena in a frying pan on low-medium flame until moisture evaporates.
  6. Pour the ghee and sugar and mix well.
  7. Stir continuously till the mixture becomes brown. Make sure it does not burn or stick to the bottom. Turn off and let it cool.
  8. Add the ¼ cup milk to the cooled mix and grind to a smooth paste.
  9. Pour the blended mix into the frying pan and sauté on low-medium flame till all the moisture evaporates and it becomes a mass.
  10. Place on a plate to cool.
  11. When cooled, take a small portion and roll out into oval pedas.
  12. Spread castor sugar on a plate and roll the pedas in them.
  13. Serve immediately or store the pedas in refrigerator for upto 3-4 days.


Lauki Halwa

Vegetables are not usually used in desserts but lauki aka bottle gourd, can be used to make halwa. The delicately flavoured bottle gourd or calabash is a low calorie vegetable — 14 calorie per 100 gm — which contains folates, minerals such as iron and magnesium and vitamin C, and facilitates easy digestion.


  1. 4 cups finely grated lauki
  2. 200 gm sweetened condensed milk
  3. ½ tbsp ghee
  4. 1 cup milk
  5. 5 chopped cashew nuts
  6. 1 tbsp raisins
  7. 5 chopped almonds
  8. 1 tsp cardamom powder


Preparation guide

  1. Heat ghee in a pan. Fry the cashew nuts, washed raisins and almonds till golden brown.
  2. Add the grated lauki and sauté for a few minutes.
  3. Pour in the milk slowly and mix well with lauki. Cook till the lauki is soft.
  4. Pour in the condensed milk and stir continually till the mixture becomes thick.
  5. Sprinkle the cardamom powder and mix well. Remove from fire and serve hot.
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