We had a new addition to our family recently. She is a 15 year old orphan, called Pari. Every year, a tiny bit of whatever we can, we do for orphanages. This year Hubby dear suggested we take in somebody, so that we can take care of their education and maybe give a home in the process.
Pari was enrolled in the orphanage that my Aunt runs. Knowing that we do require a help around the home, my aunty suggested we take her. With mixed feelings, I agreed. In the last three years, with infants at home there was never enough helping hands. So people in varying age groups had lived with us for a short periods. They all left because they couldn't help much in the end. Cooking was the last thing any of them could do.
Knowing that I can never have another person in my kitchen, I agreed because Pari needed a home and I thought Konda could have some girlie company too. The kids are excited having her home, Pari is bent on learning cooking from me. Hubby dear said I have a challenge in making her a cook! A challenge is something I can never ignore to my bane! Only I repent in leisure!
On a lighter tone, I have a comedy unfolding every morning. I ask her to light one burner, she switches off one that was burning. I ask for a spoon, she offers a knife, yeah yeah with the blade pointing at me! But I like her spirit, she wants to learn things fast so that she can lessen the burden on my shoulders. I asked what burden? I said I have broad shoulders.
Coming to today's recipe, it is a sweet treat that I made many days ago. Kesar di Kheer or Saffron Rice Pudding.
Kheer is a traditional sweet dish, made by boiling rice or broken wheat with milk and sugar. It is flavoured with cardamoms, raisins, saffron, pistachios or almonds. It is typically served during a meal or also can be consumed alone.
In most southern states of India, you will mostly find vermicelli being used instead of grains. For me, when I say Kheer, I always mean only that made with Rice and Payasam when with vermicelli. And I don't make that often as hubby dear says we eat rice everyday, so why make a sweet with it. So on rare occasions I make, I ensure I go all the way in making it a grand occasion.
And before getting into the recipe, I wanted to share something. I just got to know that my blog has been nominated at the Indibloggies 2008
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Kesar di Kheer or Saffron Rice Pudding.
Basmati Rice - 100 gms / 1 cup
Milk - 1 liter
Condensed Milk - 200 gms
Sugar - 1 cup (less if you don't want it too sweet)
Saffron - 5 -6 strands
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Cashew nuts, Raisins, Almonds for garnish.
Clarified Butter/ Ghee - 2 tsp
Method to prepare:
Wash and soak basmati rice for 10 - 15 mins. Meanwhile boil the milk in a thick bottom pan. Once it reaches the boiling point, reduce to low flame and stir occasionally.
Soak saffron in a quarter cup of warm milk.
Heat a pan with ghee, roast the nuts till golden, remove and keep aside. Then drain the rice and roast for a minute. Remove from flame.
Add the roasted rice to the boiling milk and simmer for 20 mins. Check in interval to see if the grains are cooked. This can be done, by pressing a grain between your fingers. Reduce further for 5 mins. Add sugar and stir well to mix it.
It takes about 30 - 40 mins for the milk to get reduced to thick consistency. At this stage add the condensed milk, saffron milk and cardamom powder. Stir well, have the flame still in low. When it is mixed well, bring to boil on high flame, add in the roasted nuts, simmer for 5 mins.
This tastes great both hot or cold.
Notes: Normally basmati rice is used to give its fragrance. Handle it gently when roasting the rice. Rice gets cooked in about 30 mins, so take care not to over cook it.
While adding condensed milk, have the flame low, else you will end up burning or curdling the mixture. At all stages in adding an ingredient to milk, you should add it slowly not to get the milk curdle.
The kheer is mostly white as the saffron normally doesn't lend so much colour. But being soaked and added to milk, lends a great fragrance to the sweet dish.
Unlike with vermicelli, which absorbs the milk more than the rice, you can reduce the milk more if you like thick kheer.