We in India have a saying that "In 12 months we have 13 festivals". And each festival calls for something or other kind of sweet preparation, as the custom is spread all across the India. The most popular dessert amongst all the sweets prepared during festivals is 'Kheer' or 'Pal Payasam' or 'Payesh' or 'Rice Pudding'.
Though the preparation time is slightly on the higher side (about an hour), but the aroma of the kheer as well as the taste feels simply worth the wait. We bengalis make this with a special kind of rice 'Gobindobhog'( tiny grained Indian variety), but since I ran out of gobindobhog rice I made this with another short grained rice variety. This payesh is must on our loved one's birthday and on Bengali New Year. It is called Pal Payasam in Southern part of India. The word Pal means rice and Payasam means rice pudding. A very colorful and vibrant festival called Onam (mostly celebrated in the state of Kerala) is coming up, so my today's payasam is a small dedication to all my blogger friends wishing them a very Happy and prosperous Onam. Traditional ingredient to make kheer is rice but this can be made with sevai (vermicelli) also. Diversity in our country is such that, the same kheer is made by using coconut milk in Southern part of India.
Serves: 4 , Preparation time: 45 minutes to an hour
1 liter Milk
1/2 cup Rice
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
6-7 Cashews (chopped)
5-6 Almonds (soaked in warm water and sliced)
Wash rice for 2-3 times and soak it for 20 minutes. In a pan, heat the ghee and roast all the nuts and raisins till nuts turn brown and raisins turn plump. Keep it aside.
In a heavy bottom pan add milk along with washed rice. On a medium heat let it come to boiling point. Stir continuously so that the milk does not stick to the bottom. Rice will take 20-25 minutes to cook in milk, so leaving unattended may get the kheer scorched. Add sugar when the rice is almost cooked and stir well. This step is important as adding sugar to milk will stop the process of rice being further cooked. Now on a medium heat cook till the milk has reduced to half. Cook for another 10 minutes. Add cardamom powder, half of the nuts and raisins to this. Stir well to combine and remove from the heat. Finally keep it covered to prevent formation of skin on top of the kheer. Serve it hot or cold as per your liking.
User Comments & Tips:
- You can have this kheer plain or as per your choice you can add rose water, pistachio, kesar, almond etc.
- In order to make the density of the payesh more uniform after it is prepared, it is recommend that little amount of boiled milk be added.