You cannot think of India and not think of food, especially desserts. Almost all of us have grown up in homes where the mother had a sweet dish for every occasion, no matter what – a birthday, an interview or even studying for exams! A bit of sweet for joy and good luck, and the best way to end a meal. What sheer bliss.
Now I’m pretty sure that anyone with diabetes reading this is probably thinking of a few choice words to say, considering they need to reduce sugar intake. But that’s just it people. Who said sugar was the only way to make a yummy dessert? In a nation that’s grown up with a sweet tooth, do you think if 60 million were declared to have diabetes, it would mean the end of desserts? Nope. It just means naturally sweet and healthy treats that taste just like our childhood desserts.
In fact these treats are rich in nutrients making them a great option for everyone looking to control sugar intake, not just diabetics. Let’s look at a few simple and yum examples that you could try out!
1) Apple and Date Kheer
- Apple – 1 (chopped)
- Skimmed milk – 5 cups
- Dates – 1/2 cup (chopped)
- Walnuts – Finely chopped for garnish
In a non-stick pan add the chopped apples with 5-6 tablespoons of water and cook for about 3 minutes on a medium flame. Be sure to stir this mix continuously and then place it in the fridge. In a separate pan add the milk and dates and cook on low flame for about 10-12 minutes. Be careful to stir this mix constantly to avoid burning. In case you prefer desserts on the sweeter side, add some raisins to this mix. Place this mix in the fridge.
Now simply combine these 2 ingredients lightly at the time of serving and sprinkle some walnuts on top as a garnish.
2) Anjeer Barfi
- Fig (Anjeer) – 100 grams
- Sugar – 2 tablespoon
- Cardamom (elaichi) powder – ½ teaspoon
- Roasted chana dal coarsely ground – ½ cup
- Water – 1 tablespoon
Using the figs, make a puree till they are completely soft and breaking apart. Then in a pan, add water and sugar and make a syrup which reaches string consistency. To this pan, add the anjeer puree and cardamom powder. Cook for about 5 minutes while being sure to stir continuously. Add ground chana dal and transfer this mixture to a greased plate and cut in diamond or squares. For those that enjoy some extra crunch, you can even top it with some roasted nuts like almonds.
3) Oat Phirnee
- Skimmed milk – 1 cup
- Oats – 9 tablespoon
- Water – 3-/4 cup
- Rose water – 1.5 teaspoons
- Cardamom (Elaichi) powder – ¾ teaspoon
- A mix of almond and pista powder – 1 teaspoon
- Dates – 3 finely chopped
In a non-stick vessel add the oats and water, and cook on sim till the oats turn soft. Then add milk along with the dates and cardamom powder and mix well. Stir the mixture regularly and it will soon start to thicken. At this point add the almond and pista mix and combine well. Once the mixture reaches a nice thick consistency, move it from the flame. Add the rose water and mix well.
A great fact about this dessert is that it can be enjoyed hot or cold depending on your mood!
4) Date Rolls
- Black dates – 1.5 cups (finely chopped)
- Ghee – 1 teaspoon
- Walnuts – 1 tablespoon (chopped)
- Pista – 2 tablespoons (chopped)
- Almonds – 2 tablespoons (chopped)
- Sesame seeds or poppy seeds for garnish
In a non-stick pan, add ghee and let it warm. Add the dates and cook on sim till about 5 mins while stirring regularly. The dates should turn soft and mushy. Move the pan from the heat and all the chopped nuts. Mix the ingredients well and divide into 10 portions. Roll each portion to resemble a log and cover lightly with the seeds. Set these rolls in the fridge to set.
5) Carrot Kheer
- Carrots (grated) – 2 cups
- Skimmed milk – 1 cup
- Raisins – 1 teaspoon raisins
- Cardamom powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Finely chopped almond and pista for garnish
Add milk to a non-stick vessel and bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame and add the carrots and stir occasionally. The mixture will start to thicken after 30 minutes or so. Keep stirring regularly and add the cardamom powder. Check the carrots for a soft consistency ideal for kheer. At this time the milk will also have thickened slightly. Off the gas and the dessert is ready. Garnish it with some chopped nuts for a bit of crunchiness.
You do not need to feel sad about not being able to enjoy your sweet treats. You can enjoy your special desserts if you learn to choose carefully, mind portion sizes and manage the frequency of the indulgence.
Note: Before introducing anything new to your diet be sure to discuss it with your healthcare specialist first.