August 27, 2011

A Trip to Leela Palace, Bangalore and {Recipe} Prune-Almond Phirni

True to its name, "The Leela Palace" is palatial hotel & resort depicting our rich heritage of kings and queens who ruled India in the past. Rated as one of 500 World's Best hotels, it is still to-date favorite  destination hotel for many. Numerous conferences happen here on a daily basis and we were invited for an exclusive event "The Perfect Nutrition for Women of All Ages" organized by International Prune Association in association with Jade magazine and The Leela Palace itself.

I grabbed this opportunity with utmost excitement and was thrilled to experience the grandeur that Leela Palace had to offer.

The Leela Palace, Bangalore

The Interiors

We learnt a lot about how good the Prunes are in this event. When I was in California, I ate prunes on a regular basis as a snack and was pleasantly surprised to know that even in Bangalore, these are very easily available in many super markets. I made some Prune-Almond Phirni for you all today. If you just want to jump tothe recipe, scroll down to the end of the post. :-).

Smiling staff warmly greet you as soon as you enter the premises and the magnificent upholstery in the lobby area will catch your eye instantly. there are flowers, flowers and more flowers every where and you wouldn't even think for a second that this hotel is located at the very heart of the buzzing Bangalore city.

The corridors are filled with huge paintings of young Indian princes and kings.

It has an impressive lobby decorated with many rare Indian artworks.

After the informative conference, we all gathered for lunch at "The Dining Room", where things were literally served on a silver platter.

With plenty of sunshine streaming through the huge windows, it was one pleasant day to enjoy good food, good conversations and meet new people.

Here is what was served in our Leela Palace lunch.

Platter of fruit and prunes. We gobbled up so many that we lost count. ;-)

Lemongrass soup which was so refreshing and a best start for any meal.

Sago Payasam.

Ever heard of Prune Biryani? It tasted delicious.

Dal Tadka with aromatic spices.

Baby Potato Dum Aloo. Super yummy and its taste still lingers in my mouth.

the very traditional - Tindora with Coconut

Chocolate Magic, the dessert.

the entire dessert platter

Prune-Badam Phirni (Almond Rice Pudding with Prunes)

My grandparents live in Old city, Hyderabad. With many muslim friends around, Phirni (or Firni as its called) was something which we had almost in every household especially during festival time of Eid. It tastes rich, creamy and delicious. Today, I have made Phirni with Almond paste and cooked Prunes. Never expected this to be better than the original version. Enjoy.


5-6 pitted Prunes (which are nothing but dried plums)
1/4 cup Almonds
1 tbsp Rice
1.5 cups Milk
1/4 cup Sugar
3 tbsp slivered almonds
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
hot water


For Prunes:

Soak them in hot water to soften for at least an hour. In the same soaking liquid, cook prunes on a medium-high heat, bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until they become plump. With back of a spoon, mash them and keep aside to cool.

For Pudding:

1. In hot water, soak almonds for 15 minutes. Peel and keep aside.

2. Soak rice in hot water again for atleast 1 hour.

3. Grind almonds and rice together into a very paste. Add little water if needed.

4. Heat milk in a wide pan and bring it to a rolling boil. On low heat, add almond-rice paste, while stirring constantly so that there are no lumps. Continue to stir for next 15-20 mins, when it starts to thicken and you can no longer feel the taste of raw rice.

5. Add sugar, sliced almonds and cardamom powder. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved. Finally add about 1-2 tbsp or more of prune liquid into phirni. Mix well and set it aside for not more than 5 minutes. Transfer the phirni into a bowl and refrigerate it for 1 hour.

Note: If you wish to, you can mix the entire prune mixture to phirni, more or less based on the level sweetness you prefer.

Assembly: In a glass, put a layer of prune mixture at the very bottom and them pour phirni over it. Garnish with sliced almonds. Serve it chilled.

It is an universally known fact that - "Prunes cure constipation" and just 1 cup has 12g of dietary fiber. In addition to that, these are a great source of  Vitamins K and A, niacin, riboflavin and Vitamin B-6. A recent article dated Aug 22nd 2011, states Prunes could help prevent fractures and help post-menopausal women protect themselves from osteoporosis.These are a perfect as a fruit snack but limit these to 5-6 per day due to its laxative properties.

Leaving you all for now with some beautiful rose petals and hope you all have a lovely weekend ahead.

until next time,


  1. Beautiful photos Siri!
    Prune Badam Phirni sounds interesting! Will try it sometime :)

  2. Nice roundup of Leela Palace. Informative article on prunes, would love to try your recipe of delicious looking kheer.
    I am in Bangalore too and quite interested in Nutrition talks and events. It would be a great favour to me if you could send me info / invites for furthur events. Thanks.

  3. My fav place to eat food... and lovely pictures:)

  4. Hi Siri,

    I have been a silent follower of your blog.

    Lovely photos, the food must have been equally lovely!

    I wanted to check with you about availability of prunes in Bangalore. I checked in some food world and spencers and couldnt find them. Can you let me know where I can look for them?


  5. Thanks Priya. I have got my prunes from M K Ahmed. Try Spar as well. I am sure either of these would stock prunes. :-). Hope this helps.


  6. beautiful pics...I have been to Leela Palace before when I was in Bangalore and love the exotic atmosphere there


'Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it' ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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