Indian rice pudding goes light

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Cutting down on calories can be tough if you have a sweet tooth.

Many well-loved desserts are loaded with sugar and fat - which is what makes them so decadently delicious, but also terribly unhealthy.

Some sweet treats can even contain a day's worth of calories, especially if you do not watch your portions. A slice of chocolate cake with icing, for instance, can set you back about 550 calories.

Here, chef Milind Sovani offers dessert-lovers a less sinful option that is also pleasing to the eye.

It is a healthier variation of an Indian rice pudding dish, with apples as the core ingredient.

While traditional versions tend to call for full-cream milk and heaps of sugar, the owner-chef of the April Rain restaurant in India used low-fat milk and limited the amount of sugar added in this apple ki phirni dish.

This allows the tart, sweet taste of the apples to come to the fore.

The dessert is rounded off with punches of cardamom, pistachios and saffron. For a quirky touch, the pudding is scooped into a bowl fashioned from the apple itself.

Said Mr Sovani: "I always serve this dish to customers who say Indian desserts are too sweet."


Apple ki phirni

(serves four)


4 apples

500ml or 2 cups of low-fat milk

50g rice powder

45g sugar

1/4 tsp green cardamom powder

10g pistachio

A few strings of saffron

1 tbs canola oil spread


Slice off the top of the apple and set aside to use as a lid.

Core or scoop the apple flesh out to form a hollow cup. Remove the seeds and the core.

Chop the extracted apple flesh into fine cubes. Keep them immersed in cold water to prevent oxidation.

Heat the canola oil spread in a pan and saute the rice flour over low heat till it becomes fragrant.

Add in the milk slowly and whisk till smooth. Add the sugar and the cardamom powder and continue to cook the mixture over low heat.

Soak the saffron strands in a little bit of warm milk and add to the mixture.

Add the chopped apples and cook the mixture for

4 to 5 minutes, until the phirni is thick enough to coat the ladle.

Remove the pan from the fire and let it cool to room temperature. Pour the phirni into the four hollow apples.

Keep them in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour until it sets.

Garnish with chopped pistachios and put the apple lid on top just before serving.


Energy: 265kcal

Protein: 5.9g

Total fat: 6.7g

Saturated fat: 2.5g

Cholesterol: 10mg

Carbohydrate: 47.8g

Dietary fibre: 3.6g

Sodium: 70mg


1. Enjoy the edible skins of fruit and vegetables as they provide additional fibre and nutrients.

2. Use unsaturated oil (such as sunflower oil, canola oil and olive oil) instead of saturated oil (such as ghee, butter and blended vegetable oil) to reduce your risk of heart disease.

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