Sunday, 15 October 2017

Rice Payesh,Payasam or Kheer (with few useful tips )

      Diwali is round the corner,so it is time for some festivities.I feel that the Payasam or payesh as we call it in Bengali is that recipe which has  a very important place in the traditional cuisine of any state in india.Though prepared with a host of ingredients, the rice payesh also called kheer in places in Northern India is the most popular.

     Amongst us in the state of West Bengal the payesh is taken as  an auspicious  symbol and is prepared on all special occasions.Birthdays ,marriages or religious festivals are considered to be incompletewithout this all time favourite payesh.

    I am sure this is  a soul food for many,and reserves a place in our hearts which no other fancy fast food can ever fill.Moreover, for many of us ,this particular item reminds us of unforgettable memories related to our mothers and grandmothers.


    The payesh is prepared by different kinds of rice,in various West Bengal ,this is best done with the Govinda Bhog Rice variety.Many even prepare it with good variety of Basmati rice.I always prepare it with the Jeera rice variety which is available easily in Bangalore and is  a close cousin of the Govinda bhog type.The Jeera Rice actually leaves out an aroma when cooked and adds to the flavour of the preparation.
You might find the rice quantity to be too less ,but this variety of rice actually doubles up when cooked

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Elo jhelo
Sweet mathri,(JIBE GOJA)

1-Jeera rice-1 cup about 150 gm
2-milk(full cream variety)-2 litres
3-sugar -2 cups or as per taste
4 -ghee -1 teaspoon
5-dry fruits--handful or as per taste.

1-Put the milk to boil in a heavy bottomed pan
2-Wash the rice in water ,strain out the water and keep ready
3-In a separate pan add the ghee and let it heat
4-Add the rice in the ghee  and stir for 1 minute,and remove before it changes colour
5-Keep boiling the milk and scraping the base of the pan at the same time ,as the milk should not start burning at the base of the pan.If required ,put on medium or low flame
6-Reduce the milk to less then three fourth of its quantity
7-Now add in the rice 
8-boil in high flame ,but keep stirring the base
9-If you cannot stir the base continuously then reduce the flame to medium
10-Keep boiling till the rice is about three fourth cooked
11-Now add the sugar and boil till the rice is cooked completely but remains firm
12-The milk should also have thickened by now and taken a consistency where one can have it with a spoon
13-Switch off the flame
14- Add in the raisins and the other dry fruits now
15-Serve cold

Important tips
1-A thick bottomed pan is essential because as milk thickens ,it can easily start getting burnt from the base of the pan
2-When on high heat constant stirring and scraping the base of the pan is essential ,as burnt milk can give a very bad smell to the preparation and ruin its taste completely
3- You might have noticed that i insisted on frying the raw rice in ghee before adding it to the milk,this has been done to avoid the rice grains from breaking in the milk
4-The sugar has to be added only when the rice is almost done ,as if the sugar is added earlier the rice stops cooking
5 - The dry fruits can be added earlier except the raisins which must be added only after the flame is switched off,since the sourness of the raisins can make the milk curdle
6-If you feel that you do not have the time to constantly stir the milk ,you can alternatively reduce the milk in a microwave  and then start cooking on a heavy bottomed pan on the gas stove
7-In case jeera rice is not available ,you can prepare the same with good quality basmati rice
 8-you might have noticed that I have not added any cardamom (elaichi) to this ,this is so because elaichi would dominate the aroma of the rice