Sapota Phirni & Sabudana Cutlets = Perfect snack for a cool fall evening

Sapota Phirni

Fall!!! My favorite season of the year. Everything around is fresh and crisp and clean. I love the cool breeze, the vibrant colors on the trees, hot chai, the holidays around the corner (that brings with it it’s own madness, but in my mind’s eye, everything is perfect & organized :)). As the weather starts to cool down, I have had hankerings for fried, starchy, savory snacks for the last few days. Not to mention that everywhere I turn (maybe I should say, click), I see Navratri recipes, with sabudana vada being the most posted. A friend of mine makes the best ones that stay crisp even after they cool – stay tuned for her recipe here soon. In the meantime, I wanted to make a quick and lighter version. Incidentally, a bag of frozen sapota that I had bought on an impulse kept staring at me for the last few weeks, and I figured Sapota Phirni would be an interesting accompaniment to the vadas. I figured that my Almond Phirni method would work here too. While I did have reservations about how it would taste, let me just say that they both turned out well.

Sapota Phirni

(Serves 4-5)

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp rice flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups sapota puree (fresh or frozen) – I used a bag of the frozen fruit
  • pinch of cardamom powder
  • pinch of saffron strands (optional)
  • roasted nuts & raisins (optional)

1) In a small bowl, stir together the rice flour and 1/2 cup milk, making sure there are no lumps. Set aside.

2) In a medium bowl, heat the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and sugar on medium till it comes to a boil.

3) Reduce the heat, and slowly pour in the rice flour mixture, stirring vigorously to make sure that no lumps form.

4) Add the cardamom powder and saffron, and simmer for 5-7 minutes.

5) Stir in the sapota puree and simmer 1 minute.

6) Remove from heat and cool  to room temperature, or chill.

7) Top with roasted and chopped nuts and raisins before serving (optional).

Sabudana Cutlets

Sabudana Cutlets

(Makes about 15-17)

  • 1 cup sabudana
  • 2 large potatoes (boiled, peeled & mashed)
  • 3-4 green chillies (finely chopped)
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2-3 Tbsp cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds
  • salt to taste
  • Oil for pan frying

1) Rinse and soak the sabudana in water for 4-5 hours or overnight (each batch varies in how quickly it softens; when ready to use, the sabudana must be easily squished between your fingers).

2) Drain the sabudana well in a colander, and make sure it does not have excess water.

3) Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix well. Shape into small balls, about golf ball size.

4) Heat a griddle on medium heat and spread a teaspoon of oil on it.

5) Flatten the potato balls on your palms and shape into a disc. Place on the hot griddle and cook both sides on medium heat till golden brown.

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Eggless Mexican Rice Pudding – Arroz Con Leche

This rice pudding is decadent – creamy & sweet – both warm and chilled. It is similar to the Indian sweet Phirni (Firni) – the difference being that Phirni uses saffron and/or cardamon, while Arroz Con Leche uses cinnamon.

I remember my grandmother making her famous Phirni when I was a little girl, simmering it for what seemed like hours. The end result would be worth the wait. This recipe below, adapted from FOOD Network, is a quicker method, and tastes almost as good (I say almost, because, really, what can beat grandma’s cooking?!?!).

I served this as dessert at a Homemade Chipotle-Style Tortilla Salad buffet for family a few months back.

Eggless Mexican Rice Pudding – Arroz Con Leche

(Serves 15)

  • 2 cups long grain white rice
  • 12 cups water
  • 3 big cinnamon sticks
  • 2 (12 oz) cans evaporated milk
  • 2 (14 oz) cans condensed milk
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup slivered almonds (toasted)
  • Ground cinnamon for dusting

1) Bring water, rice, and cinnamon sticks to boil, uncovered, in a large heavy saucepan.

2) On medium-high heat, cook the rice for about 15 minutes.

3) Strain the liquid and cinnamon sticks. Return rice to the saucepan.

4) Add the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whole milk to the rice.

5) Bring to boil on medium-high heat, and the reduce to low. Cook uncovered for another 20 minutes, stirring often.

6) Check rice for doneness. Stir in the raisins and remove from heat.

7) Before serving, top with slivered and toasted almonds, and a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.

CAN BE SERVED WARM or COLD.