Payesh – For a new beginning

In every Bengali household, Payesh is a must for birthday celebration. It only seems fitting that I celebrate the birth of my Food blog with Payesh.

It’s a rice pudding, that rest of India calls “Kheer” or “Payasam”, though “Kheer” means something completely different for us bongs, but that’s for a different post.

The major difference in a Bengali Payesh is the rice. We use Gobindobhog rice, which is a short sticky grain unline long-grained and fluffy Basmati rice. Also it is best made is Patali gur (Date Palm jaggery) that is mostly available during winter in Bengal. Patali not only adds to the taste but also to the aroma of the Payesh.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup Gobindobhog rice (short grain, whitearomaticsticky rice having a sweet buttery flavor)
  • 1Litre full-fat milk
  • 1 cup Patali Gur (Date Palm jaggery) – broken into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Handful of Cashews & Raisins (as per choice)
  • 2 tsp Ghee
  • Pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes. Do not over wash the rice.
  2. Soak the raisins in some warm water for it to soften and swell.
  3. Heat 1 tsp ghee and lightly fry the cashews.
  4. After 30 minutes, drain the rice and dry it a bit. Once dried, coat the rice in 1 tsp ghee and let it rest.
  5. Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan. Once the milk starts to boil, put the gas on low and let the milk reduce to half. Keep stirring the milk.
  6. Once the milk is reduced, add the ghee coated rice in the milk.
  7. Stir continuously so that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  8. Once the rice is soft and mushy, and the Payesh is at a nice thick consistency, add a pinch of salt, stir well and switch off the gas.
  9. Add the sugar, cashew, raisins and jaggery, give a quick mix and put a lid on the pan.
  10. Let it sit for around 15 minutes, give it a stir and check if all the jaggery has melted. Do not turn on the gas if it’s not completely melted. Let it sit for another 5-10 minutes.
  11. Serve it hot or let it cool and place it in the fridge to chill overnight.

VARIATION

If you can’t find patali or making it in any other season, you can make the Payesh without the same as well. In that case, add 2-3pods of crushed cardamom in the milk for aroma. Also, increase sugar to 1/2 cup (or 3/4th if you want a bit more sweet). Add the sugar once the rice is cooked.

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