Tibetan Desserts

Whilst Tibet is more likely to conjure up visions of mountains than desserts, Tibetan cuisine does include a small range of sweet recipes, especially for special occasions.

Cream Cheese Barfi


(Sweetened Cream Cheese Cake)


  • 1.5 lb cream cheese
  • 1.5 lb sour cream
  • 1 can sweet condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup sifted flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup coconut, coarsely chopped


In a food processor, combine cream cheese, sour cream, condensed milk, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt to a smooth paste-like mixture. Pour into a large bowl. To the cream cheese mixture, add almonds, cashews, raisins, and coconut; fold in thoroughly. Butter a baking dish well and pour the mixture; smooth out the surface and bake at 325oF for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is lightly brown. Chill it overnight in refrigerator. To serve, cut into 2-in. cubes and top it with whipped cream.

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(Spiced Sweet Yogurt-Pistachio Dessert)


  • 4 cups regular yogurt
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup double cream
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts, cut into thin slices


In a large bowl, mix yogurt and sour cream together.

Pour the yogurt mixture into a large colander with a cheese cloth liner. Allow draining for about 12 hours.

Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl. Dissolve saffron in luke warm cream.

To the yogurt mixture add sugar, cinnamon, black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, dissolved saffron, and pistachio nuts; fold in thoroughly. Chill overnight in refrigerator.

To serve, scoop a cup of chilled dessert into a serving plate, topped with a generous amount of unsalted, shelled, whole pistachio nuts.

Rasbari Dessert

(Cheese Balls in Cream Syrup)


  • 4 cups ricotta cheese
  • 2 cup cream cheese
  • 1 can sweet condensed milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  • 6 cups half-and-half milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon rose water
  • 1 teaspoon saffron
  • 1/2 cup almonds, sliced into thin slivers


In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, cream cheese, flour, condensed milk, and 1 cup of sugar.

Mix thoroughly to a smooth, stiff mixture. Make 1-in. balls and line them up on the bottom of a well-buttered baking pan.

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes at 325oF, or until the cheese balls are lightly browned. Transfer cooked cheese balls into a container.

In a sauce pan, pour milk; add cardamom and saffron. Allow slow simmer, constantly stirring, until the milk has thickened into a syrupy consistency.

Remove from heat. Pour cream syrup over the baked cheese balls. Add rose water and almonds slivers.

Refrigerate overnight. Serve cheese balls with chilled cream syrup.


(Himalayan Rice Pudding)


  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5-6 cardamom, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup coconut, coarsely shredded
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup cashews


In a large cooking pan, heat butter over low heat. Add rice and stir for 2-3 minutes.

Pour milk into the rice mixture. Add cream and sugar; stir thoroughly. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes, or until the rice has softened.

Add cardamom, coconut, raisins, and cashews; stir well. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the rice is cooked soft and the mixture has thickened to consistency of your like.

Chill the pudding overnight in refrigerator. Serve with handful of toasted cashews.

Carrot Barfi


(Carrot Fudge Dessert)


  • 2 cups carrots, finely grated
  • 2 cups half-and-half milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup almonds, thinly slivered
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup cashew nuts
  • A dash of red coloring


In a cooking pan, combine grated carrots and milk. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for an hour, until the carrot has softened.

Add butter, sugar, cardamom, almonds, raisins, and cashews; mix thoroughly. Sprinkle a dash of red coloring and simmer the mixture, stirring continuously, for another 15-20 minutes until the carrot mixture has thickened.

Remove from heat and transfer to a well-butter container; spread into a 2-in. thick layer.

Chill overnight in refrigerator. Cut into 2-in. cubes. Serve chilled, topped with sliced almonds.