How to make a rich Bengali Khir (rice pudding)
I have already stated in my other hub that I am a dessert person. I not only enjoy a well made dessert but I also, immensely enjoy making them. You could call me an amateur cook as long as you look at it as a positive thing like the meaning derived from the French ‘amātor’ which means ‘lover’ and in this case a devotee of making dessert. I have found out during my experience that although two persons may cook the same dish with the exact same measurements, or at least the nearest measurements humanly possible, and recipe, may turn out to be two different tasting dish. Some people say that there are hands that are blessed from above and that food cooked by them has a special quality which cannot be imitated. This notion may indeed be true.
Therefore, today I am going to impart with you the recipe of a dish that may be common to many but I think the technique I use to create this dish is a bit different. Let us hope that you can make this dish at your home and that it turns out as tasty and rich in smooth creamy texture as when I make it for my family. This dessert is called “Bengali Khir” or “Bengali Payesh” or you may use the common western name for it, which is, rice pudding. Now hearing the words ‘rice pudding’ you may want to discontinue reading further but I ask you to bear with me. I promise, it is a delicious dessert that can be had on its own or used as a dip for chapatti.
List of Ingredients:
2 liters of full cream milk
¾ cup of short grain rice (uncooked of course)
1 cup sugar (however, if you like it to be sweeter you may add more)
Less than half a teaspoon of vanilla
Pinch of salt
Some raising and nuts of your choice to garnish. Pistachios and almonds finely chopped is my favourite.
1 wooden spatula
Approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour
Wash the rice well.
Pour milk in a large heavy saucepan. Add rice to milk and bring to boil on high heat. Once the milk and rice mixture come to boil, lower the heat to a little less than medium. Stir continuously so that the milk does not get burnt at the bottom of the pan. You may at times turn the stove to high to make the extra water in the milk evaporate faster but remember to stay by the stove at all times so that the milk does not boil over the pot.
Never mix sugar till the rice is well cooked in the milk. This is a lesson I leart the hard way. This one time I added sugar at the beginning and guess what happened? Well the milk got thick, the dessert was sweet and had everything in it except that the rice was not tender; it was hard as uncooked rice.
So keep stirring frequently till the rice becomes cooked and most of the water evaporates leaving a thick and creamy milk and rice mixture. It will take about 45 to 50 minutes for you to achieve this.
Once you reach this stage, add salt, sugar, vanilla and some nuts and raisins. Stir and let it dissolve properly then pour in a bowl and garnish it with nuts and raisins. It will continue to thicken as it cools. Once cooled, refrigerate and enjoy!
You can use brown sugar instead of white.
You can also add shredded coconut in the milk mixture.