Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The making of kheer / rice pudding (and other stories)
My son turned two this Saturday, and we celebrated his birthday along with his best friend’s, who turned two too (yeah too many ‘too’ sounds in one sentence, but I can’t help that!!!) a week before. After me and my best friend P, who also happens to be the mom of the other kid, decided to celebrate both their birthdays together, there followed weeks of planning. To our respective husband’s amusement and exasperation we would spend hours at each other’s place discussing in detail about each and every aspect of the party. How many people would we invite? Should we hold the party at home or in a hall? What should be on the menu? Should it be just pizza and coke or a full fledged dinner? Should we cook it ourselves or give it out to catering? Should we go all out in decorating the halls, or would a few simple balloons do? What should the return gifts be for the kids? what color/type of tableware would we use? should it be themed? plain white? colored....well after endless planning and micromanagement the party day finally arrived. We ordered food from a caterer, but decided to make a few dishes ourselves, to cut costs and also to stop us stay at home moms from feeling too guilty about leaving the entire cooking for our kid's birthday to an outsider.we decided to make pickles, kheer (rice pudding), raita and one curry ourselves. raita and curry was made by my friend.
Pickle, four of us, we both and two other friends made together (and had a lot of fun in the making incidentally), yours truly made the kheer and happy to say it turned out quite well. It was my first experience cooking a dish for such a large no of people (I can barely cook for two for crying out loud!!!) anyways I'm posting the recipe for a much smaller batch, but you could scale it up if needed.
The party went off very well. Twas a really adorable sight too see two little fresh faces (sans chocolate smudged mouths and cookie
crumbed cheeks :-) ) cutting two cakes at the same time. Luckily for us moms, both kids were on their bestest of best behavior. I think every
mom spends weeks sending secret prayers that the cake cutting atleast if not, the entire party should be without any major mishaps.
Anyways here's the recipe for kheer (rice pudding) as I made it
1 cup rice
4 cups milk
1/2 cup condensed milk (optional) or else add an additional cup of milk
2 cardomoms peeled
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup grated jaggery
Broken cashew pieces
2 tbsp ghee
Secret ingredient 1: Time (you would need to spend a considerable amount of time tending to this dish)
Secret ingredient 2: lots and lots of patience
Now for the actual mode of preparation
In a heavy bottomed vessel place rice milk, condensed milk and cardomom together and cook on a very low flame until rice is thoroughly cooked. To check whether rice is done, take a few grains and lightly press them, they should be easily crushed up into a paste. Add sugar and jaggery and cook for five more minutes. Finally deep fry the cashew pieces in ghee and add them to the kheer. This sounds and is really simple, but you need to keep stirring frequently to prevent milk from sticking to the pan. Milk tends to stick very easily so a lot of care needs to be taken or else you would end up with a thick black residue at the bottom of the vessel. (This is where the secret ingredients come in) With the secret ingredients and a lot of loving care you'll come up with the perfect desert that is both light and filling at the sametime.