Kheer /Nolen Gur Payesh

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I have been cooking since I was 14. The first thing I remember making is a simple moong ki daal. It took me 5 goes to get the final approval from my ultimate cooking coach- Mommy!
All the Indian cooking I have learnt is from my mother. And like all Indian households, I learnt to judge the proportions ‘ andaaze se’ ,as in estimating and eyeballing. Only when I joined Chef at Large, the food forum, where my food journey took a brand new avatar, did I start measuring my ingredients. I had to, when asked for recipes. And now I keep a measuring set right next to my stove top 🙂
While I make most of the stuff, andaaze se, there are certain things that work perfectly only with exact measures and I asked Mum for those no-fail measures and noted them safely in my recipe book and now here. There is this aam ka achaar/mango pickle , aata-sooji halwa and  now kheer.
Kheer, the Indian milk and rice pudding, is amongst the most commonly made desserts across regions and is also called Payasam or Payesh. Simple to make but needs to be made right!
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The Measures
Full-cream Milk- 1 kg
Rice, preferably broken basmati- 30 gms
Sugar/ Jaggery (gud/gur)/ palm date jaggery (nolen gur)- 70-80 gms
Cardamom/Ilaichi powder- 1 tsp (optional)
Dry fruits- Optional

The Method
Soak the rice an hour before putting the milk on to reduce.
Bring the milk to a boil and lower the flame.
Add the soaked rice after about 15 minutes. Keep stirring so that the milk does not burn at the bottom of the vessel.
Cook till both rice and milk are ‘ek jaan’ (a la Bollywood ) i.e. well mixed. It takes about 20 odd minutes.
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Add the sugar and stir for another 5-7 minutes.
Add the cardamom powder, chopped dry nuts if using. I like mine plain.
Saffron can be added, if desired. Take a pinch of saffron and rub it in the mortar and pestle with a few drops of milk to release the hue and flavour. Add to the kheer when slightly cool.
Yesterday, I made this for the first time with Nolen Gur or date palm jaggery, two kilos of which the husband has kindly carried back from his recent visit to Calcutta.
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I weighed the jaggery and melted it in ¼ cup of boiling hot water. Keep it on low flame till all of it melts. Let cool.
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To make kheer with jaggery,take it off the flame once the rice and milk are well mixed and the kheer is nice and thick. Stir in the molten jaggery syrup  once both the kheer and the jaggery are cool, else the kheer might split. Thanks to my co-blogger and friend Amrita Gill for sharing dessert ideas with Nolen Gur.
The Nolen Gur Kheer was delightful with a warm earthy flavour. Tastes best when serves in terracotta bows, they enhance the flavour of the kheer.
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Serve by itself or with the traditional combination of poori and chane/aloo ki subzi.

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