Mango & Saffron Rasāyana ~ Diwali Dessert ~ Easy & Simple Recipe

As many homes across the world celebrate Diwali today I wish to offer my heartiest wishes to each and everyone who is celebrating this beautiful festival of lights. I thought it was apt to present this lovely dessert on this very joyous occasion although in many parts of the world mangoes are no longer available. However, the beauty of this dessert is that you can replace mangoes with any pulpy fruit  although I chose the king of all fruits, the grand mango. 

Last week Roshan brought some mangoes, not Indian ones though. We enjoyed them thoroughly as part of our breakfast and in this dessert as well. The beauty of this dessert is that it can be put together in a jiffy especially when you are expecting guests on short notice. Its the most hassle free of them all as you don't need to cook it and it pretty much suits everyone who has a sweet tooth. 

As I have said before I have been seeing so many sweet recipes on the internet in the past few weeks but there weren't enough dessert recipes that caught my attention save for a few payasam/kheer recipes. When I chalked down my list of recipes to try I knew what my grande finale for the Diwali recipe series would be this simple and easy dessert that can be made without any prior planning. I tasted this in Mangalore this time and my sister in law Sumana said it was a traditional South Indian dessert that involved a fruit and some milk and sugar - the latter two requiring some time to cook and reduce to a thick sauce. However, since she was running short of time she had used condensed milk instead and oh boy! was it delicious! The children lapped up the dessert in minutes and begged for more. I decided to try it out when I got back to Dubai and I was just so lucky to find mangoes last week and give it a shot. Our dessert bowls were licked clean! Thank you Sumana for this beautiful recipe :)

In culinary terms Rasāyana is nothing but a fruit squash, a preparation of fruit pulp mixed in cow's milk or coconut milk and sweetened with sugar. Usually cow's milk is thickened, cooled and then the fruit pulp is added to it. Flavours such as saffron (kesar) or cardamom (elaichi) are added to enhance the aroma and flavour. 

Rasāyana is not only eaten as a dessert but can also be eaten thick as an accompaniment to dosa, poori or chapathi. If diluted it can be drunk as a fruit squash/ thirst quencher. 

In Sanskrit this word literally means 'path of essence' and as per ayurveda stands for the science of strengthening lifespan. So this in my opinion cannot be a better way to celebrate Diwali and a better dessert that will add a sparkle and sweetness to your feast!

May your lives be fulfilled, your lifespan be strengthened and your hearts be filled with joy!!


Mango & Saffron Rasāyana ~ Diwali Dessert ~ Easy & Simple Recipe
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: Nil | Servings: 4

To garnish:
1. Add all the ingredients except the milk in a bowl. Mix and check the taste. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time to achieve the desired thickness/consistency. This dish needs to have a consistency of payasam (kheer) so don't dilute it too much in one go. Keep adding milk, even if it is one teaspoon at a time until you are satisfied with the consistency.
2. Spoon the mixture into serving bowls and garnish with silver varq (optional) and saffron
3. This dessert may be served at room temperature or lightly chilled - so you can chill it for like 20-30 minutes before serving.

1. Depending on the variety of the mangoes you may need to adjust the sweetness. If the mangoes are very sweet do not add the sugar, instead after you mix the condensed milk and pinch of salt, taste it - if it feels too sweet, add the milk little by little (1-2 tablespoons at a time). If the mangoes are tart (sour) then you may need to add the sugar to taste. Do not that initially even if the preparation tastes a bit less sweet it will be ok when you serve it and you start to eat it. If you add too much sugar at some point it is going to taste ultra sweet. It is always good to maintain light sweetness in sweet dishes as it will enhance the taste on the whole.
2. If the mangoes you are using do not have a deep colour (unless you are using ripe Alphonso mangoes) you may want to enhance its colour by adding saffron to milk before mixing it in. Just soak the saffron in 2 tablespoons of warm milk for about 10-15 mins before using.
3. Do not use mangoes that are ripe but too sour - it will ruin the dessert and it will be hard to balance the sweetness even if you add extra sugar.
4. Canned mangoes can be used (drain all the syrup) instead of fresh mangoes - adjust the sweetness by adding milk accordingly.
5. Instead of mangoes you can use bananas, peaches, ripe papaya, seethaphal (custard apple) or any pulpy seasonal fruit

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