10 Recipes for Gluten-Free Indian Desserts

Those with gluten intolerances do not have to miss out on their favourite treats. Here are 10 recipes for gluten-free Indian desserts.

10 Recipes for Gluten-Free Indian Desserts f

It is a great gluten-free alternative

Gluten-free desserts have become more popular in recent years with more people wanting to cut gluten from their diet.

Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye. People with conditions such as coeliac disease must avoid gluten entirely as it can damage the gut and affect the immune system.

However, many people without this disease also embark on a ‘gluten-free diet’. This can be confusing because it isn’t a diet to help one lose weight. Instead, it is a form of eating that helps heal your gut, thus absorbing all the necessary nutrients needed from your diet.

Many desserts contain gluten which can limit what one chooses to cleanse their palette after a delicious dinner. People often think that desserts can only be comforting and fulfilling if they contain gluten.

However, when made correctly, gluten-free desserts can be a great source of nutrition and be delicious simultaneously.

Here are 10 recipes that are gluten-free which do not compromise on taste.

Jowar Chocolate Cake

10 Recipes for Gluten-Free Indian Desserts - choc cake

Who doesn’t enjoy a good chocolate cake?

Jowar cake is made from sorghum, also known as great millet. It contains whole grain goodness and the grain itself is ground into a flour to make items such as cake, roti and more.

This cake recipe is perfect for those with wheat allergies, coeliac or gluten intolerance.

It is a great gluten-free alternative to the classic chocolate cake.

With this sorghum flour version, it is both satisfying and full of flavour – no one will know the difference!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of sorghum (great millet) flour
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup fresh curd
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Mix the sorghum flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and, in a separate bowl, combine this with the curd, milk, icing sugar and vanilla essence. Whisk thoroughly.
  3. Add both bowls together and fold with two tablespoons of water. Fold until the batter has a liquid-like consistency (it should be able to drop off the spatula).
  4. Grease a cake tin with butter and lightly dust sorghum flour across the tin.
  5. Preheat oven to 180ºC. Pour the cake batter into the tin and spread evenly.
  6. Bake in the oven for just under an hour until the cake has a springy texture.
  7. Decorate with your choice of toppings.

Besan Ladoo

10 Recipes for Gluten-Free Indian Desserts - ladoo

Everyone loves the sweet indulgence of ladoo. But did you know that the primary ingredient of flour can be substituted to make for a gluten-free dessert?

Ladoo is a popular sphere-shaped Indian sweet that is traditionally made from flour, fat and sugar.

Try substituting your usual flour for besan flour (usually made from chickpeas or lentils) for a fresh, nutritious taste.

With little preparation required, this recipe can be whipped up in no time.

Ingredients

  • 1kg besan flour (gluten-free – alternatively, grind own besan with channa dal)
  • 1kg caster sugar
  • 5 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tsp cardamom powder
  • A few saffron strands

Method

  1. Add the ghee and besan flour to a pan, along with the cardamom powder and cook over a low heat.
  2. Keep stirring until it begins to turn pale brown in colour. Add the saffron strands.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the caster sugar. Stir quickly and begin forming into balls when cool enough to touch.
  4. Place the balls in a flat dish which is lined with ghee. Let it cool and you’re ready to serve!

Rasgulla

10 Recipes for Gluten-Free Indian Desserts - rasgulla

This soft and spongy milk-based dessert is soaked in sugar syrup and is utterly addictive.

Traditionally made with flour, this version can be more delicate without the flour so be careful when curating the sphere shape.

Although incredibly soft, these are the perfect sugary treat after a heavy meal.

Ingredients

  • 1-litre milk
  • 3-4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Water
  • A few drops of rose water
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • Saffron strands

Method

  1. Boil the milk and curdle it by adding lemon juice. Allow it to boil whilst stirring. Place in a muslin cloth and hang it. Leave to hang until all the whey is removed.
  2. While it is still warm, place into a flat dish and rub it until smooth, removing all the water.
  3. Make small balls and set aside.
  4. Make a sugar syrup in a vessel that has a tight lid. The water to sugar ratio should be 2:1. Keep the lid on for the duration of cooking time. It should be cooked to a syrupy consistency. Add rose water and cardamom powder to it.
  5. Quickly open the syrup lid and place all the rasgulla balls in it.
  6. Leave it over the flame for 15 minutes then turn off the gas. Keep the lid shut at all times.
  7. Allow it to cool for two hours and place in the fridge to chill before serving.

Carrot Halwa Trifle

10 Recipes for Gluten-Free Indian Desserts - carrot

We’ve all heard of carrot halwa with its sweet aroma of caramelised carrots, nutty cardamom and simmering spices. Gajar halwa tastes like a moist carrot crumble with Indian spices.

With this recipe, we can take this traditional Indian dessert and elevate it with a modern twist that will leave your family and friends wanting more.

With roasted nuts, milk and sugar, this recipe is vegan, gluten-free and soy-free, leaving you feeling warm and cosy.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp safflower oil
  • 3 tsp cashews, chopped
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp pistachios, chopped
  • 2½ cups carrots, grated
  • ¼ cup coarsely ground cashews
  • 1½ cup cashew milk
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 Saffron strands
  • 1 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod (split and seeds scraped)
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 cup ground pistachios

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add chopped cashews and cook until lightly golden for two minutes. Add the raisins and pistachios and cook until the raisins swell up.
  3. Add the grated carrots to the skillet and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Add the cashew milk and mix well. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Mix in the coconut sugar, vegan butter, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and saffron.
  6. Cook for a further 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cashew milk is almost absorbed.
  7. In a large bowl, mix vegan cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla with a handheld mixer until creamy. Set aside.
  8. In another large bowl, whip the coconut cream and fold in vegan cream cheese. Chill for at least 30 minutes before using, as it will firm up a bit.
  9. In a large bowl, add the carrot mixture and press down. Top with the cream cheese and coconut cream. Garnish with pistachios and serve.

Sorghum Banana Paniyaram (Indian Steamed Bread)

10 Recipes for Gluten-Free Indian Desserts - bread

Most countries consider bread as a savoury, however, this particular Indian dish is the opposite.

Mild and sweet in taste, sorghum banana paniyaram is rich with sweet and nutty flavours like banana and cardamom.

High in protein and calcium, this gluten-free bread is filling and certainly a scrumptious snack for all your guests.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup sorghum
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • ¾ cup jaggery, grated
  • 1 medium-sized banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method

  1. Wash the sorghum and leave to soak overnight.
  2. Drain the water and blend until it becomes a smooth paste, adding around three tablespoons of water. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  3. Add rice flour, baking powder, grated jaggery, cardamom powder and mashed banana.
  4. Mix everything and add water until the mixture reaches a pouring consistency. Leave the mixture to rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Heat a paniyaram pan and grease with oil. Pour a spoonful of prepared batter in all the cups of pan.
  6. Fry evenly on both the sides by rotating the buns with a thin wooden stick. Cook on a low flame until it is golden brown on both sides.

Gluten-free Gulab Jamun

10 Recipes for Indian Desserts - gulab

Gulab jamun is a staple at Indian gatherings such as weddings, holidays or simply when family members are visiting.

Traditionally made with milk powder and flour, this recipe gives the gulab jamun a gluten-free makeover.

Yes, this is a much cleaner version of this Indian dessert, but it’s still rich and indulgent in flavour.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup arrowroot flour
  • ½ cup + 1 tsp coconut flour
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3 Eggs
  • ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • Neutral fat of choice e.g. avocado

For the Syrup

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)
  • Crushed pistachios (optional)

Method

  1. Heat oil to 180ºC.
  2. In a bowl, combine the arrowroot flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar and baking soda. Mix well. Add the eggs and coconut milk and mix.
  3. When the oil is hot, use a small cookie scoop and drop the dough into the oil.
  4. When one side of the jamun becomes golden, flip it over and cook the other side until golden.
  5. Place the fried jamuns onto a plate which has been lined with kitchen paper.
  6. In another saucepan, add all the syrup ingredients and cook for around eight minutes over a medium heat.
  7. Turn off the heat, add the jamuns to the saucepan and allow them to soak in the syrup for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm.

Kulfi

10 Recipes for Indian Desserts - kulfi

Known as India’s ice cream, kulfi is a denser version than traditional ice cream.

This particular recipe is a saffron-flavoured icy treat with a decadent, nutty flavour.

This cardamom-infused ice cream is paleo, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free. It is just as creamy as the normal version.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (unsweetened) cashew milk
  • 1 (13½ ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • Pinch of saffron
  • ¼ cup almond flour
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ¼ cup pistachios, finely chopped, plus extra for garnish

Method

  1. Add the cashew milk, coconut milk, cardamom and saffron to a pot and bring the mixture to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the almond flour and cook for a further two minutes.
  3. Turn off the heat and immediately stir in the honey and pistachios. Allow the mixture to cool. If you prefer, add more honey.
  4. Next, pour the mixture into ice cream moulds and freeze until solid.
  5. When serving, garnish with crushed pistachios as desired.

Gluten-free Jalebi

10 Recipes for Indian Desserts - jalebi

If you’ve never tasted a jalebi before, you are in for the most scrumptious treat!

These crispy, sticky, fried Indian sweets are soaked in a deliciously sweet syrup that will leave you yearning for more!

Tasting just like the real thing, this gluten-free recipe is ideal for special occasions or festivals.

Ingredients

  • Oil
  • ½ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup + 3 tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • Probiotic capsules totalling 40 to 50 billion cultures (this gives the bubbly effect that is usually created with fermented batter)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • ½ cup water

Method

  1. Combine almond flour, half cup arrowroot flour and coconut milk in a bowl. Empty the contents of the probiotic capsules into the bowl and mix well (discard the capsule’s casing).
  2. Cover the bowl and place into the oven, with the oven light on for at least 10 hours (the oven should not be on, just the oven light).
  3. Once the batter has fermented, add three tablespoons of arrowroot flour to the bowl and mix well. Place the batter in the fridge for at least one hour to thicken.
  4. Heat oil in a wok or a deep, wide-bottomed pot to 165ºC. You don’t want the oil to be too hot, otherwise, the jalebis will break apart.
  5. Spoon the batter into a zip lock bag, seal the top, and snip one of the bottom corners.
  6. Squeeze the batter into the hot oil, in a spiral coil-like shape. Start from the middle and make three tight spirals. They will need to be tight as they will spread out as they cook in the oil.
  7. Cook until they turn light golden brown, then immediately move the jalebi from the oil into the sugar syrup.

For the Syrup

  1. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove the sauce from heat, allow to cool slightly.

Dates & Nut Roll

10 Recipes for Indian Desserts - roll

This dates and nut roll is extremely quick and easy to make.

Only taking 20 minutes, this is a healthy, diabetic-friendly recipe that is popular across India, especially North India.

The ease of this dessert makes it the perfect one to make when unexpected guests pop over or you just fancy a sweet treat in front of the TV.

Ingredients

  • 200g seedless dates
  • Chopped nuts (cashews, almonds, pistachios)
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds

Method

  1. Finely chop the nuts and grind the dates into a thick paste.
  2. Heat a wok and roast the poppy seeds for one minute. These will be used later to coat the rolls.
  3. Heat one tablespoon of ghee and roast the nuts. Place in a plate and set aside.
  4. In the same wok, heat one tablespoon of ghee and add the date paste. The dates should become soft after three minutes on a medium or high flame.
  5. Add the roasted nuts and mix well until it is fully combined. Place onto a plate and when warm, knead into a log shape.
  6. Coat the kneaded log with the roasted poppy seeds and roll in a plastic sheet. Place in the fridge for an hour.
  7. Take it out of the fridge and leave for five minutes. Then use a sharp knife to cut into thick circles.
  8. Serve when at room temperature for a gluten-free delight!

Mango & Chia Seed Pudding

10 Recipes for Indian Desserts - mango

This pudding is a healthier and arguably tastier substitute for the popular dessert, Mango Cream.

This creamy pudding is made with coconut milk. Chia seeds and mangoes for a superfood dessert! Full of antioxidants, fibre and Omega-3 fatty acid, this pudding can be served day or night.

Feel free to tailor it with your favourite fruits. Strawberries, blueberries, bananas and other fruits all serve this dessert well.

Ingredients

  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 2 tsp honey (or maple syrup if you want to make this dessert vegan friendly)
  • 2½ tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Mangoes, peeled and chopped
  • Lemon juice

Method

  1. Combine the coconut milk with the honey. Add the chia seeds then stir and refrigerate overnight.
  2. To assemble, thin down pudding with one to two teaspoons of milk.
  3. Take a glass and fill a quarter of it with the chia seed mixture. Place a layer of mangoes on top.Repeat the same layering process again.
  4. Squeeze a tiny bit of lemon juice to cut all the sweetness.

And there you have it, 10 Indian-inspired gluten-free desserts waiting to be enjoyed to your heart’s content.

Shanai is an English graduate with an inquisitive eye. She is a creative individual who enjoys engaging in healthy debates surrounding global issues, feminism and literature. As a travel enthusiast, her motto is: “Live with memories, not dreams”.