Recipe: Chef Varun Inamdar’s Eggless Paan Custard

Your home must be now sparkling clean for Diwali. And the lights and decor are up. The festive spirit has already taken residence.

Have you started preparing chatpata, crispy snacks like Shakarpara, Karanji, Mathri along with classic sweets like Coconut Laddoos, Kalakand and Churma Laddoos?

Why not add Paan Custard to your sweet repertoire?

A really simple and not very sweet fusion Diwali recipe from Chef Varun Inamdar, it uses betel leaves for their distinct flavour. It has no eggs and is like a payasam or kheer, but thicker.

Varun is not just a chef. He is a chocolatier too and the brand ambassador in India for the exotic Ecuadorian cocoa, that is a product of the rare Arriba beans (also called Nacional).

Paan Custard

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 cups walnut milk
  • 2 tbsp agar-agar, easily available in grocery stores or online
  • Drop of rose extract
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 2 paan or betel leaves, crushed
  • 2 small ramekin dishes

For garnish

  • Fresh pomegranate pods or arils
  • Walnuts halves

Method

  • Heat the walnut milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
    Stir in the agar-agar and boil for a minute till the granules disintegrate completely.
    Stir in the crushed betel leaves, rose extract along with the sugar.
    Take off heat.
    Pour the the mixture into the two small ramekins.
    Chill for an hour or more.
    To unmould, place a plate on top of the ramekin, turn it over and serve topped with pomegranate arils and walnut halves.

Editor’s Note: This dessert can be made suitable for those on a diabetic diet by substituting the sugar in the recipe with stevia. Each brand of stevia has its own stevia for sugar substitution ratio provided on its packing.

Varun Inamdar is a chef, food stylist and chocolatier.

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