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In ayurvedic nutrition, desert are not recommended because the sweet taste should be eaten at the beginning of a meal, not at the end (see the article on the six tastes in ayurveda). But if you must, here are a few healthy suggestions, which are also perfect for breakfast or mid afternoon snack.

Coconut balls

One of the easiest desert we serve on our retreats on Clare Island, and one of the most popular too…

  • 1 cup mixed dried fruits (dates, raisins, apricots and figs work particularly well)
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts (pistachio, hazelnuts, blanched almonds, pecans, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom or cinamom
  • 1/2 cup grated coconuts

Put the nuts in a food processor and gring them roughly. Then add the dried fruit, a little at a time and grind to a smooth, stiff paste . Depending how dry the fruits are, you might have to add a little warm water to soften the paste a little, but make sure it remains quite stiff. As  soon as soon as the  paste stick together, you are done.
Put the coconut on a large plate. Roll the paste into small balls and roll these in the grated coconut. Refrigerate for a couple of hour before serving.

Kesari bath

  • 2 ½ cups (850grams) roasted white semolina
  • 425 grams caster sugar
  • 10/12 cardamom pods (take the seeds out and grind)
  • cup of cashew nuts
  • ½ cup of raisins
  • ½ cup of almond flakes
  • 5 cups of water
  • 2 ½ cups of milk (ratio of water to milk can vary, more milk = richer and more solid result)
  • 2 pinches of saffron dissolved in a little warm milk

Take three heaped tablespoons of ghee and heat in a pan or wok. Add the cashews, raisins and almonds and fry for a few minutes. When aroma becomes strong (after about three minutes or so) add the semolina. Mix continuously. Move off the heat and put to the side. Boil the water and boil the milk in separate pans, when boiling add mix together well and add the saffron and ground cardamom seeds. Turn heat down to simmer and add the semolina mix bit by bit while stirring continuously to avoid any lumps. If needed add a little more water and don’t let it thicken to soon as this will delay the cooking. Add more ghee, 1-2 spoons or more if mixture is too sticky! Next add the sugar and mix again and add a little more saffron for colour if desired. Let the mixture cool and roll into balls and decorate with nuts or raisins.

Thanks fo Yogacharya Venkatesh, from Mysore, for this recipe

Here’s another recipe that I got from Tina, an Indian friend who runs a cookery school in Mysore

Khessari Batt (Shira)

  • 2 cups semolina
  • 6 cups milk or milk + water
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • Saffron
  • Cardamom, cinnamon and other spices to taste
  • 1 cup of mixed fruits (fresh or dried) and nuts
  • Ghee (or unsalted butter) to taste

This is an Indian favourite, served for breakfast and dessert. The use of saffron makes it a very colourful dish!
Toast the semolina  in a dry open pan until it starts to darken slightly. Put aside.
Simmer the water/milk mixture with the saffron for 10 minutes, then add the fruits, nuts, sugar and the other spices and simmer for a further 20 minutes. Add the toasted semolina slowly, stirring constantly and keep on low heat, stirring often, until fully cooked (no liquid left). Add ghee or butter to taste, and leave to cool down a little before serving.

Banana fudge

  • 2 large bananas
  • 12 green cardamom pods
  • 4 tablespoon of ghee
  • 100g organic semolina
  • 100 g ground almond
  • 80 g sugar
  • 2 tablespooon warm water

Peal the bananas and mash them. Grind the cardamom pods, sieve and mix with the mashed bananas.
Melt the ghee in a pan and gently cook the semolina until golden brown. Add the banana mixture, the ground almond, the sugar and a little water (be careful not to put too much, you can always add more later). Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes away from the side of the pan. Spoon into a greased shallow tin and refrigerate for a couple of hours. Cut into cubes just before serving.

Hildegards Heart Cookies

Opens the heart, clear the senses and cleanses the blood….

  • 2 lb spelt flour
  • 1/2 lb brown sugar
  • 1 lb butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ounce nutmeg
  • 1 ounce cinnamon
  • 1 ounce cardamon (ground)
  • 1 pinch of cloves
  • 1/2 cardamom or ground hazelnut (optional)

Mix dry ingredients well, add eggs and melted butter, mix again and put the mixture in the fridge for a while. Form cookies (heart shaped) and bake 10-15 minutes in oven at 180

Cantaloupe Granita

A very refreshing summer treat.

  • 1 cantaloupe (about 3 pounds)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tbs spring water

Remove seeds and cut melon into chunks.
Puree in food processor until smooth.
Combine sugar, lemon juice, and water in small sauce pan.
Cook over medium heat until mixture is slightly thickened.
Remove from heat and let completely cool.
Stir sugar syrup into melon puree and place in freezer for about 1 1/2 hours.
Serve in shallow bowls with cantaloupe slices.
 Thanks to Traci Baird for the recipe

Balinese black rice pudding

A favourite Balinese breakfast treat, but could equally be served as a dessert.

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 1 cup white long grain rice
  • 2 oz raw cane sugar (or palm if you can get it)
  • 1 pod vanilla
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1 tin coconut milk

Soak the black rice overnight. In the morning drain it and cook it in 6 cups of water. You can add a cinnamon stick to the cooking water if you want. Wash the white rice and add to the black rice after 50 minutes (black rice is hard and needs longer cooking time). Cook rice for a further 15 / 20 min.
Boil the sugar and the vanilla pod together in 1/2 cup of water to make a syrup.
When the rice has absorbed all the water, turn off the heat. Add the coconut milk and the vanilla syrup and stir, then leave to cool down before serving.

Stewed Fruit salad

  • 3 cooking apples
  • a handful of sultanas
  • a few dried figs
  • a handful of chopped dates
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 3 pods green cardamon, crushed
  • 2 table spoon of brown sugar

Peel and dice the apples and stew with half a cup of water, the dried fruit and the spices on very low heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes. Add sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Carrot halva

A favourite south Indian sweet.

  • 1 pound carrots
  • 3 ounces of unsalted butter, or better, ghee
  • 6 oz raw cane sugar (“jaggeri”)
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Broken cashew nuts or almonds (optional)

Peels or wash the carrots and grate them finely.
Melt the butter or ghee in a heavy bottom pan on low flame and add the grated carrot and the nuts. Cook on low heat until the oil start to separate and the carrot are soft.
Add the milk the cardamom pods and the cinnamon stick and keep cooking on low heat, stirring often, until the milk start to thicken (30 mn). Add the sugar and cook for a further few minutes, stirring constantly.
Can be served hot or cold.

More recipes:


Salads and starters

Main courses


Herbal teas

See also our article on Eating a yogic diet