PAYESH /RICE KHEER is considered very auspicious among us. It is prepared on special occasions, be it birthday, baby shower, puja or any other auspicious ceremony. Actually you can have it any day, whenever you wish to. You can cook it in two hours. Our elders say, on birthdays, one must have a bowl of Payesh, it ensures a longer life. A wife or a mother prepares it wishing that.
Originally or authentically Bengalis make payesh with rice. Gradually with time and developing the power of acceptance, we prepare it with other ingredients also, like vermicelli , sago , broken wheat, carrot, and even bottle gourd. Hopefully, I can come up with each one of them in future.
With the festive season around, let me share this recipe of Rice Kheer, so that they become sweeter by the magic of your hands.
During winter, with the availability of date jaggery, we use date jaggery instead of sugar. I can guarantee you will be in the seventh heaven so far taste is concerned.
Fragrant Rice ( Gobindo Bhog / Chini Gura / Basmati ) : 3 tablespoon
Full Cream Milk : 1 litre
Sugar (alternatively date jaggery) : 1/2 teacup + 2 tablespoon.( in case of date jaggery it should be half cup. I would suggest measurement should be as per your taste)
Green Cardamon : 2 ( not required if you are using date jaggery)
Bay leaf : 1
Cashew : 8 halved
Raisins : 8.
Ghee : 1/4 spoon.
Place the rice in a bowl, wash thoroughly,drain the water. Pour in the ghee onto the rice bowl and mix well. This helps the rice not to stick with each other. Wash the raisins and soak in warm water. Cashews to be halved.
Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed pan. Switch on the gas. Put the gas mark at low. This dish is to test your patience. Once the milk comes to a boil, clean and put the bay leaf. This enhances the flavour. Now you have to stir the milk constantly. Otherwise it may burn from down.
Keep stirring the milk till it gets a bit creamier. At this stage, put in the rice. Give a stir every 3 minutes until the rice is boiled.
Please donot over boil the rice. You have to take care of that. Once the rice is almost boiled, put in the sugar. Keep on stirring.
Crush the green cardamoms. Put into the kheer once it gets creamier. Add the raisins and cashews. After 2 minutes, switch off the gas. It's done. Pour onto a serving bowl.
Please note , always add the rice first to the milk. Put the sugar only when the rice is done. In case you are using date jaggery , crush it and mix towards the end. Once it melts, immediately switch off the gas. Otherwise the milk will curdle.