A food that sets the taste buds tingling and is good for all occasions. Can you guess what would it be? Ok one more try, in most of the Indian homes this is the first solid food that is fed to the babies? Am sure there would be now no prizes for guessing… It is the ‘Kheer’ or ‘Payasam’ which is consumed in all parts of India. It may have different names but the ingredients are mainly, rice, or broken wheat, vermicili in some cases, milk, sugar or jiggery and dry fruits and raisins!
I still have the vivid memory of preparation of kheer at home was always a special occasion. A huge urn with fresh full cream milk was set on the stove with the best quality pound basmati rice added in small quantity to simmer endlessly on low flame. It would constantly be stirred to ensure that the contents do not stick to the bottom. The aroma would soon engulf the whole house till the contents became more viscous in consistency and the color of milk changed to a light yellow shade. The deposit of a creamy layer of milk called ‘malai’ indicated that the kheer was almost done and it was time to add sugar to taste, saffron, cardamom powder and other nuts and raisins till the sugar slowly dissolved as the mixture was constantly stirred now to ensure that the contents do not get burnt at the bottom of the vessel. Once the process was complete, the urn would be removed from the flame and set aside to cool. One more sprinkling of chopped nuts and cardamom powder on the surface would follow. No matter in which corner of the house one was, it was impossible now , to be not aware of the freshly prepared ‘kheer’! Further wait was impossible till the contents vanished in no time. Sometimes, a part of this lovely preparation was set aside, for storing in refrigerator as the dessert would be equally delicious and tempting when served as a cold dessert!
Now a days it is even easier to prepare the same dish in the shining ‘Borosil’ Cook n Serve container to make it look even more gorgeous and served in small ‘Borosil’ glass dishes. One can even prepare a healthy version of’ kheer ‘ in a jiffy by using the microwave ‘Borosil’ container. It only requires a long grain basmati rice which can be cooked in water in microwave for a few minutes and add condensed milk to it after removal from the microwave oven. Stir the contents and add strands of saffron dissolved in water and cardamom powder with diced cashews, almonds and reset the contents once again for three to four minutes to microwave. It can be served hot and is equally yummy to taste!
No matter where one travels within, India, it is difficult to come across someone who has not tasted this Slurpee, lip smacking dessert. On most festive occasions and in most of the temples across the country, Kheer is prepared as an offering to propitiate the gods. In Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and some other countries it is prepared on occasions like Id ul Fitr and served as Phirni. This variant may also have apricots, mango or even custard apple added to it. So the next time you dream of a dessert remember the ‘food of the gods- kheer’!
PS:This is my entry for Borosil and Indiblogger ' My Beautiful Food !' contest http://www.myborosil.com/