Thali Sweet

(6 servings)

Preparation Time: 8 hours
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 9 hours

This next dessert recipe is a family secret! I waited every year for Christmas for my godmother to make this oh so delicious cake  or ‘thali sweet’ as it’s known in India and come over with it so I could devour it in one sitting. I decided the world needed to know this recipe and my god mother was so kind to share her recipe with me. This is not a very common sweet in India and eaten commonly among the East Indian community. Thali literally means plate probably referring to the steel trays in which they are traditionally baked. The main ingredients are coconut and semolina and the key is to bake the cake just right so the center remain slightly moist! It’s eaten at Christmas but for me every day would be thali sweet day if possible!


  • 100 g fine semolina
  • 240 g powdered sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 g salted butter
  • 60 g chana dal
  • 60 g desiccated coconut or fresh scraped coconut
  • 50 g almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 20 ml rose water
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose essence (optional)


Whisk the butter in a whisking bowl and then keep adding sugar spoon by spoon and whisk with butter till all sugar is added. Then separate egg whites and add only yokes to the mix of sugar and butter. Add 20 ml rose water.

Separately whisk the egg whites till frothy and stiff. You would know when they are stiff enough. Tip: when you tilt the bowl slightly you should not see any liquid running out. Fold in the egg whites little by little into the mixture till all of of the egg white is added. Keep this mixture overnight or for at least 5-6 hours in the refrigerator.


Soak Chana dal in water for about 2 hours and then pressure cook till well done. About 3 whistles. Drain and mash the cooked lentils or grind to paste with the desiccated coconut. Add in about a tablespoon of water if needed to get a smooth paste. Add this to the mixture along with the semolina.

Now stir the whole mixture together and finally add the almond extract and the rose essence also big with almond flour. No baking powder is needed for his recipe. Grease baking tray and pour about 1.5 inch thickness and bake till done at about 380 F for about 40 minutes.

This would vary based on the size of tray and thickness of mixture. The key is when you pierce the cake with a toothpick the pick should come out clean.

Top with sweet coconut flakes and serve with vanilla ice cream!!!

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