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Bengal's Favorite Rice Pudding - Chaler Payesh

Updated on May 15, 2014
Good Luck Charm of Bengal- Chaler Payesh (Rice Pudding)
Good Luck Charm of Bengal- Chaler Payesh (Rice Pudding) | Source
"Prince of Rice"-Kaljeera
"Prince of Rice"-Kaljeera | Source

A Pot Full of Good Luck

From the kitchens of Bengal comes a dessert that has a perspective of its own. Be it your birthday, your baby shower, your house-warming or be it Poush Parbon, Bengal's harvest festival, Chaler Payesh has a definite role to play. Chaler Payesh or Rice Pudding has such an influence on Bengal's culture that it cannot be overlooked. The making of Chaler Payesh is an art that is passed on from generations to generations in a Bong family.

Bengal's staple diet is rice. Long grained parboiled white rice is eaten in all parts of Bengal. You can say Bengal has an appetite for rice so it is very evident if their main dessert is made of rice. Well Chaler Payesh is always made from Gobindo Bhog rice or Kaljeera rice. These special small-grained aromatic heirloom rice has a distinct delicious flavor and can be well used in making dishes like Pilafs and Puddings. These diminutive sized rice grains can easily be cooked in ten minutes. Although the grains become tender still they remain firm even after cooking. What you cannot ignore about the "Prince of Rice" is its beautiful aroma. Kaljeera rice can be a great substitute of the long grained aromatic Basmati rice. Hence we can lovingly call it "Baby Basmati".

I still remember the birthdays while I was in India. On each birthday, it can be mine or Baba's (my father) Ma used to make this Chaler Payesh. How much busy we may be or there can be N-number of dishes still Chaler Payesh will definitely be there. Ma had a belief that Chaler Payesh has the capability to usher good luck on the people for whom they are made. My dad jokingly once said, "While the rest of the world will cut cake on their birthdays, we Bengalis will always cut payesh on our birthdays." Seriously his words are so very true then and even now. There was a time when Ma used to make payesh on special occasions like birthdays or some Pujas. And now I (following her footsteps) make Chaler Payesh on special occasions like my husband's birthday or when I invite guests for lunch. Truly speaking, I have to make payesh without occasions,now and then, because my husband is an ardent lover of payesh. In order to appease his appetite for it I have to make Rice Pudding at least once in every month. Well he is a calorie conscious guy but when it comes to payesh he can very well act like a greedy little kid. I have to monitor him constantly(in vain!) so that he might not overeat it (which, somehow, he manages almost every time).

Did You Love It?

3 stars from 2 ratings of Chaler Payesh Recipe

Recipe Straight from the Heirloom

Bengali's Rice Pudding making is not at all a difficult job. It is very easy. Still I can say that each and every Bong household has its own unique version of making Rice Pudding. The recipe mainly differs according to the tastebud of that family. While some prefer Payesh a bit watery, I prefer the richer variety, (come on, every time we cannot count on how much calorie we are intaking!) for me the creamier the Payesh; the better it is. The Rice Pudding recipe that I am going to give today might be rich in calorie but definitely heavenly in taste!

Apart Rice Pudding, other recipes that I have learnt from Ma are Carrot Halwa and Mustard Steamed Prawns. Check them out sometime. In this Mother's Day Special Week I dedicate these recipes to you, Ma.

The Making of Chaler Payesh a.k.a Bengali Rice Pudding

Start boiling about 1 liter of whole milk in a deep bottomed vessel in a medium heat. In the mean time add bay leaves and a pinch of green cardamon powder or 3 to 4 whole green cardamon pods.
Start boiling about 1 liter of whole milk in a deep bottomed vessel in a medium heat. In the mean time add bay leaves and a pinch of green cardamon powder or 3 to 4 whole green cardamon pods. | Source
Take a handful of kaljeera rice (gobindo bhog). Soak the rice in water and drain it. When you see the milk has thickened quite a bit, add sugar to it. Heat it for some more time, the milk reduces further, then add the drained rice to it.
Take a handful of kaljeera rice (gobindo bhog). Soak the rice in water and drain it. When you see the milk has thickened quite a bit, add sugar to it. Heat it for some more time, the milk reduces further, then add the drained rice to it. | Source
To quicken the thickening process of the milk add sweetened condensed milk to it. The milk will thicken further. Add just a pinch of salt to balance the taste.
To quicken the thickening process of the milk add sweetened condensed milk to it. The milk will thicken further. Add just a pinch of salt to balance the taste. | Source
By this time the rice has started emerging on the surface of the milk. It means the rice is almost cooked. Taste one grain to know for sure.
By this time the rice has started emerging on the surface of the milk. It means the rice is almost cooked. Taste one grain to know for sure. | Source
Add raisins, cashews and blanched and peeled almonds to the milk.
Add raisins, cashews and blanched and peeled almonds to the milk. | Source
By this time the milk has thicken enough. It has almost reduced to half its quantity. The color has also changed. From white it has becomes creamy white in color. Add saffron strands in milk. After few minutes switch off the heat and let it cool.
By this time the milk has thicken enough. It has almost reduced to half its quantity. The color has also changed. From white it has becomes creamy white in color. Add saffron strands in milk. After few minutes switch off the heat and let it cool. | Source
Once completely cold your rice pudding or payesh is ready to be served. Garnish it with dry fruits and nuts and serve immediately.
Once completely cold your rice pudding or payesh is ready to be served. Garnish it with dry fruits and nuts and serve immediately. | Source

Step-wise Instructions

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
Yields: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 handful Kaljeera/ Gobindo bhog rice, washed and drained
  • 1 liter Whole Milk
  • 3 to 4 Green Cardamons
  • 3 to 4 Bay Leaves
  • 1 pinch Saffron Strands
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 1/2 cup Sugar, preferably dust
  • 1/2 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 handful Raisins
  • 1 handful Cashews
  • 1 handful Almonds, blanched and peeled

Directions

  1. At first take a large deep bottomed vessel. Start boiling 1 liter of milk on medium heat. With the help of a spatula continuously stir the milk so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Add pinch of green cardamon powder or few pods of cardamons in the boiling milk. Also add 3 to 4 bay leaves. A sweet aroma will start coming out of the milk.
  2. When the milk has reduced to some extent add sugar to it. Keep stirring the milk, scrapping the sides of the vessel occasionally. Now add the washed and drained rice to it.
  3. Add sweetened condensed milk and a pinch of salt in the milk. The condensed milk help the milk to thicken faster. Salt will also help to balance the taste. Keeping stirring.
  4. After say 10 minutes you will see rice surfacing out. The Kaljeera rice cooks fast so it will not take than 10 to 12 minutes to get your rice cooked.
  5. Add raisins, cashews and almonds into the boiling pudding.
  6. After sometime you will notice the milk has almost reduced to half. It has thickened and color has become creamy white as you can see in the above picture. You will know your rice pudding is almost ready. Add few strands of saffron and boil the pudding for some more time before switching off the heat completely. Cover it and let it cool. You can also keep it inside the refrigerator. In the refrigerator the pudding will thicken further from the cold.
  7. Next when you want to eat it, take it out and serve it in small porcelain bowls with garnished nuts and raisins on top. Enjoy your very own Chaler Payesh!
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 bowl
Calories 2643
Calories from Fat603
% Daily Value *
Fat 67 g103%
Carbohydrates 147 g49%
Sugar 300 g
Fiber 9 g36%
Protein 68 g136%
Cholesterol 147 mg49%
Sodium 600 mg25%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Try Out Some More Bengali Delicacies

You Can Also Try Out This Rice Pudding with Date Molasses

Enjoy making Chaler Payesh and please give me feedback on how well it turned out. Waiting to hear more from you guys. Till then take care and Happy Cooking Folks!

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    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      lovely pudding

    • deblina banerjee profile image
      Author

      Deblina Banerjee 3 years ago from Irving, Texas

      Thanks peachpurle for loving it :)

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