Diwali Special FREE E-book

There is something special for Diwali on Smita’s Food Charm!

I have compiled 5 popular Indian desserts that are ready in a jiffy in your own microwave. For those of you who did not get enough time to prepare sweets for Diwali, I have got you covered.

This e-book is a must-have not just for Diwali, but whenever you have last-minute guests. At least you need not worry about the sweet dish.

Here is my Diwali gift for you. I am giving away this e-book absolutely free.

Click here to access your copy of this e-book ‘5 Microwave Desserts – Diwali Special’. 

You will receive a mail with the link and the password.

Now, it is your turn to spread the sweetness. So share this page with friends and family so everyone can have a very HAPPY DIWALI !!

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Microwave Dessert - Diwali Special Free E-book
Microwave Dessert – Diwali Special Free E-book





Saakhar Bhaat

‘Saakhar Bhaat’ literally means Sugar Rice! As you can guess, it is a sweet dish made with rice as its main ingredient. It is a traditional Maharashtrian dessert that is prepared on festive occasions.

Saakhar Bhaat
Saakhar Bhaat

This year on Dassehra, I chose to make Saakhar Bhaat and got this hand-down recipe from Mum. Dassehra is a Hindu festival that marks the victory of Sri Rama over Ravana and also Goddess Durga over the demon Mahishasura. It is considered one of the auspicious days to buy new things or start a new venture. As for me, my venture was in the kitchen, so went ahead for a recipe that I had never attempted before.

Even though it is rice, I would like to stress that it is a dessert. It is quite rich with ghee and sugar, so be mindful while you gorge on this decadent dessert. Without further ado, lets dive into the recipe.


  • 1 cup rice (I prefer Basmati rice)
  • 2 cups plain water
  • 1.5 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp ghee
  • 3-4 cloves
  • Small piece cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 10-12 almonds
  • Few strands of saffron
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • Pinch of salt
  • Orange food colour – optional


Saffron strands infused in warm water
Saffron strands infused in warm water
  • Wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
  • Blanch almonds : Soak the almonds in hot water (covered) for 10-15 minutes. The skin will soften and will easily come off. Sliver the almonds and halve some for garnish.
  • Take 2 tbsp hot water and let the saffron strands infuse in it. That way we can get maximum flavour and colour from the beautiful saffron.
  • Open the cardamom pods and crush the seeds to a powder.


  • In a pan, add 2 tbsp of ghee and once heated through, add the cloves and cinnamon.
  • Next, fry the rice in the ghee for couple of minutes. (I ♥ this aroma!)


  • Add water and a pinch of salt. Mix through. Cover and cook on low flame till the rice is cooked and all the water is absorbed.


  • Once the rice grains have softened, add the sugar, raisins, slivered almonds, cardamom, saffron and food colour if using. Mix well.


  • You will notice, after adding sugar, it releases moisture. Cook covered on low till the dampness is completely absorbed. This takes around 10 minutes, depending on the quantity.
After adding sugar
After adding sugar
  • Lastly, garnish with the 1 tsp of ghee and halved almonds.


  • Saakhar Bhaat tastes best when devoured hot!






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Saakhar Bhaat
Saakhar Bhaat

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Mushroom Xacuti/ Goan Mushroom Curry

Till about a couple years ago, I did not fancy mushrooms; but then the affair started and now I can proudly say, “I’m in love.” Mushrooms are loaded with protein and Vitamin D with minimal calories. So for a health buff like me, it is one helluva ingredient.

I usually stir-fry them with some butter and garlic or just add to noodles or Mexican chili to bump up the nutrition. But this time, I decided to hero this little c(h)ap! And what better way than some spicy Indian curry, in fact, even closer to home with this traditional Goan preparation, Xacuti. (pronounced as Shaa-go-tee.)

Mushroom Xacuti
Mushroom Xacuti

I have used white button mushrooms here, but you can go ahead and use whichever edible (obviously!) mushrooms you have on hand. And when I say spicy, that’s what it is – A blast of various spices, each imparting its own unique flavour and aroma. So let’s get started..


  • 250 gm, button mushrooms, diced to bite-size pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 small tomato, diced
  • 2-3 tsp oil
  • 1-2 bay leaf
  • pinch of ground turmeric
  • salt, to taste
  • coriander, for garnishing
  • juice of lemon, as required

To be ground together

  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 black peppercorns
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 2-3 small pieces of cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 1 mace
  • 4 dry red chilli
  • 1 small onion, roughly sliced
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small piece ginger
  • 2 tbsp tamarind pulp
  • 1/3 cup dry or wet shredded coconut
The best part of mushrooms is, absorbing whatever flavours u throw it into! Click To Tweet


  • In a pan, add the spices to be ground together and dry roast it together. Once fragrant, transfer to a blender. (See note below)
  • Roast the onion till slightly browned. Likewise for the coconut. Slightly roast the garlic.
  • Blend all these along with other ingredients to be ground together, with some water, to a paste.
  • In a kadhai~, add the oil. Once heated, add the bay leaf.
Mushroom Xacuti
Mushroom Xacuti
  • Then saute the onion till slightly pink.
  • Next add the tomato and cook till mushy. Add a pinch of ground turmeric and salt.
  • Now add the ground paste and mix together till oil starts separating from the sides.
  • Throw in the chopped mushrooms and coat well with the masala. Add 1 cup of water and check the salt.
  • Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Add more water if needed to adjust the consistency.
  • Once off the heat, add the lemon juice and garnish with coriander.
  • Enjoy this sizzling xacuti with bread, chapati*, bhakri* or steamed rice.

Note : For dry roasting spices, pan should always be on medium heat. Add the spices in small batches, never over-crowding the pan. Keep stirring, you must not leave it unattended at any time. Roast for not more than 1 minute. IF it goes black, it implies that the spices have burnt and will have to be discarded (sigh!) Otherwise the recipe will turn bitter.

~round, thick-bottomed, wide-mouthed vessel that is generally used in Indian cooking

*Indian flat-breads made with wheat/rice/millet flour


  • Replace mushrooms with chicken or red meat. This recipe is originally for Chicken Xacuti but vegetarian version uses mushroom.


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Mushroom Xacuti
Mushroom Xacuti