Last couple of posts has been non-vegetarian dishes and I thought I must drift from them now. So came up with a dessert this time. This is one dish which is delicately brewed on special occasions in most Indian households but avatar might vary slightly region and/or culture wise. Payasa, Payasam, Payesh, Paysu, Kheer are a few names I have known it as. If you know it by any other name, please enlighten me and other readers too.
The version I’m blogging today is a Bengali one. What is special about this is it is cooked with palm jaggery (jaggery made of dates). Bengali moms prepare Payesh on their children’s birthday. Ma prepares Payesh on Bhaiyya, Abbas and my birthday too and it tastes oh so yummmm. (My amma used to prepare Vermicelli paysu on my birthday coz I loved it) This year on Abbas’ birthday Ma was away in Kolkata and he missed “Ma ke haath ka Payesh” for the first time on such a special day. Ma had instructed me that since she would not be there I had to prepare Payesh and make Mannu Tammu feed him. I had cold feet and hence referred to Sandeepa’s Khejur Gurer Payesh recipe to gain confidence. The payesh turned out quite satisfactory. (But anyway I personally like Ma’s payesh more) Palm jaggery can be substituted by sugar, but Payesh with Khejur Gur is a show stealer any day!
Milk – 2 litres
GobindoBhog Rice or KalaJeera Rice or Basmati Rice - a little less than 2/3 of a cup
Ghee - enough to smear the rice with, maybe 1/2 tsp
Raisins - a fistful soaked in water
TejPata or BayLeaves - 3 or 4
Sugar - 1 cup
Khejur Gur or Palm Date jaggery - depending on sweetness level
1. Wash the rice, drain the water and then smear the rice with a little ghee
2. Pour milk in a boiling pan, usually a deep heavy bottomed pan. Add bay leaves.
3. When the milk comes to a boil add the rice. Be careful so that milk does not boil over. Stir intermittently and check if the rice is done. Keep stirring frequently else the milk might scald the bottom of the pan as it thickens.
4. When the rice is cooked add sugar and Khejur Gur. Tip: Adding sugar before the rice has boiled hinders it getting cooked properly. Now stir the milk continuously.
5. When the milk has thickened to the right consistency, to check this take a spoonful of liquid and pour it on a flat plate, the viscosity of the milk should be such that it does not flow. By this time the milk would have also reduced from it's original volume. Approx. time to reach this stage is almost an hour or so at a medium flame setting.
6. Add Kishmis or Raisins.
7. Serve cold.