Kesar Peda – Saffron Infused Mithai Sweet for Sankranti. Vegan Glutenfree Recipe

Vegan Kesar Peda - Saffron Infused Mithai Sweet Almond cookie

You would think that holidays, festivals and events would probably hit the Snooze button for a few months. But that ain’t the case. There are quite a few Indian festivals and they are quite nicely spread over the year. Some are celebrated more fervently that the others, but they all have a set of sweets, savories and dishes associated with them. The food also depends on the region or state and I have not touched so many cuisines from so many regions in India, at all on the blog! 

Every few weeks I try to vegan-ize Indian sweets and desserts and other dairy intense recipes which do not have a straight forward substitute or a close alternative. This past week, I had an idea about a certain texture and taste and decided to make Pedas. 

Pedas / Mathura Phedas are flat discs that are soft, have a good lot of sugar and some flavorings like cardamom, saffron, rose, pistachio etc and the other(or the only) main ingredient is Khoa (milk solids). I don’t know why so many Indian sweets use milk solids. Imagine the amount of cow’s milk needed to make the solids by cooking the milk till most of the moisture evaporates ( 5 cups or 1.2 liter or 33 oz or 2.2 lbs of whole milk, gives just 200 gms or 0.4 lbs of Khoa, which is almost 6:1 ratio). And now imagine all the milk being taken away from the babies 
somewhere, who are very hungry and eventually are killed, just so we can eat a few of these sweets. Now, we don’t need to anymore. These pedas might not be exactly like how you remember but they are close, very close and very delicious!

Believe you me. you want to make these pedas to celebrate Lohri and Sankranti.

Next in line maybe Kalakand!

You can also find a load of vegan Indian Sweets in my Indian Sweets Ebook, which you can buy here. I am trying to change it up to display better on kindle and offer it on Amazon, and having a lot of trouble with the formats. If anyone knows the easiest format to make an ebook in, which works out the best for all Kindles and their different aspect ratios, please do let me know.

Also to celebrate 20,000 fans on Facebook, I am giving away 5 copies of the Ebook today! The first 5 comments on this post get the Ebook! Please leave me a way to contact you in the comments :)

Soak the saffron in warm almond milk.

Grind the almonds. Add to bowl. Add coconut flour, sugar, cardamom, salt and mix well. 

Add almond milk, maple syrup and mix into a soft dough. Shape into discs and bake for 10 minutes. 

Serve when cool. 

Peda / Mathura Peda Mithai – Almond Cookies infused with Saffron.

Allergen Information: Free of Dairy, egg, corn, soy, yeast, gluten, grain, refined oil 

Ingredients: Makes 6 pedas (1.5 inch size) Easily doubled

1/4 cup almond flour (ground almonds)
1 Tbsp coconut flour
2 Tbsp finely ground raw sugar or other fine vegan sugar
a generous pinch of salt
1/8 tsp cardamon powder
1/4 tsp saffron strands
1 tsp almond milk or other non dairy milk
1 Tbsp maple syrup (or any other sweet syrup with similar consistency like agave, jaggery syrup. sugar syrup)


Heat the almond milk. Mix the saffron strands in it and let sit for 5 minutes.
In a bowl, mix the almond flour, coconut flour, sugar, salt and cardamom powder.
Add the saffron almond milk and maple syrup (or jaggery/sugar/date syrup) and mix well to make a soft dough. Make flat discs of the dough and serve as is, or bake at 300 degrees F for 9-10 minutes. (the pedas will expand a bit while baking). Cool completely before serving or storing. Store in the refrigerator in airtight container for upto a week. the baked pedas are fudgy and more like the real pedas. They taste best chilled. 

Notes: You can make your own coconut flour with coconut flakes like here.

To grind the almonds into as fine as possible, add a Tablespoon of oats and a Tablespoon of starch(corn or arrowroot) in the blender and blend.

Other Sankranti/Lohri recipes

Coconut Rava Laddoo  – Sweet balls of coconut flakes and semolina.

This Eggplant and potato stir fry with chickpea flour, spices and nuts. Ringad Batak nu shaak

This puffed grain and jaggery snack. A laddoo ball or bars with puffed grains, sesame seeds, nuts kept together with Jaggery(unrefined sugar) syrup is a favorite sweet and snack in several parts of India. One of the versions has only sesame seeds and jaggery syrup like a chewy sesame brittle. This Tilgud (sesame jaggery) is distributed among friends and family with the saying “Tilgul ghya, god god bola” that means “Take a tilgul and talk sweet as it”. The under-lying thought in the exchange of tilguds is to forget the past ill-feelings and hostilities and resolve to speak sweetly and remain friends.

Kanda Bhaji - Onion Fritters. or make these Baked broocoli fritters.

Date fig Burfi - Date fig nut bars

Upma- Savory Cream of wheat or rice cooked with peas, nuts and veggies

Besan Quinoa Laddoo - Sweet Chickpea flour balls with cashews and raisins.

Happy Sankranti / Lohri / Pongal to all who are celebrating!

This Peda is being shared at Allergy Free Wednesdays and Ricki’s wellness weekend.

Want More Delicious Recipes to Your Inbox?


  1. says

    Very much enjoy your blogs, and enjoyed creating some of the sweets in the Diwali Sweets e-book. Thanks so much for sharing your creative efforts so beautifully! I am christine.mckenna at gmail dot com.

  2. Anonymous says

    thanks Richa for all the effort you make to share your recipes!
    If not too late, I would like to win the ebook :) my name is Coloma, I will send details if I win!

  3. says

    OMG~ I’ve found cooking Nirvana!!! I LOVE Indian cooking~ Richa is a gourmet, smart, eco and health conscious AND has delicious recipes what more incentive can a person want to take the leap to appreciating a new cuisine and all it has to offer—THANk YOU. THIS is amazing. NAMASTE!

    • says

      Loving Greetings~ I loved your blog so much, I looked up major South Asia Holiday to find out more. I can’t wait to make your Pedas and learn more about India and it’s culture and cuisine. May your life be blessed with love. May your life be blessed with lakshmi. May your life be blessed with happiness. HAPPY MAKAR SANKRANTI!

  4. says

    Oh darn, I missed out on the giveaway! At least I have these delicious cookies as a consolation prize… The flavors sound incredible, exotic and delicate, and like nothing else I’ve ever tasted. You are such a kitchen genius!

    • says

      Awesome! The Indian sweet Peda is very sweet, so it needs the sugar, but as a cookie, the sweet can definitely be cut down. I am so glad you made them! andthnk you so much for trying so many of my recipes! xx <3

  5. says

    Hello Richa,
    I recently tried this wonderful recipe and served as a prasad for Hanuman Jayanti. I was missing eating pedhas since I started following vegan diet.
    Both, my husband and I loved it. Initially I was skeptical if it will have too much almod taste, but I was wrong. It totally mimicked khoya taste. I skipped coconut flour. I tried both baked and unbaked. I could feel the taste of raw flour in unbaked version and thus prefer baked version. My mom suggested to dry roast flours for unbaked version, may try it next time.
    Thank you very much,

  6. says

    Hi Richa,
    Recently I served these pedhas for Hanuman Jayanti. They were delicious without any time consuming work of boiling milk. I was craving for vegan pedhas since I started following vegan diet. I was skeptical if this would have lot of almond taste, however it completely mimicked khoya taste.
    Both me and my husband loved it. We definitely prefer baked version. For unbaked, my mom suggested me to dry roast flour before kneading the dough. I may try that. I skipped coconut flour.
    Thank you for wonderful, cruelty free recipe :)

    • says

      exactly right. it works perfectly after baking. the heat helps infuse the flavors and sugar.. I like the idea of pre-roasting the flour. let me know how it turns out.
      i am so glad you liked it. i need to make these again:)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>