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.

Rabdi Angoori or Mini Rasmalai

Rasgullas are addictive! You get addicted to making them, that is. Though, each time I make them, I say a little prayer – such temperamental creatures they are! But I just cannot stop making them. I am glad I am getting them right almost always now.
Once you get the basic rasgulla right, there are so many ways you can play with it!

Toh Pesh-e-khidmat hai Rabdi Angoori 😀

Mini rasmalai to be quotidian: D
Angoori Rabdi

Recipe

RABDI ANGOORI/ MINI RASMALAI ( MINI COTTAGE CHEESE BALLS IN SAFFRON FLAVOURED MILK SYRUP)

Prepare the ras/rabdi/milk syrup and let it cool to room temperature before you proceed with making the mini rasgullas.

Rabdi/Ras/Milk Syrup
1 litre whole milk, cow milk is better as it gives a nice colour and flavor
3 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp fine ground cardamom powder
8-10 saffron strands, steeped in warm milk
2 Tbsp Slivered pistachios, almond and chopped cashews

Bring the milk to boil, reduce heat and cook while stirring for about 20 minutes till the milk thickens but not very much. It needs to be thin enough for the ragullas to be to be able to soak the milk syrup well.Add cardamom powder and 3 tbsp sugar. Cook for another 5 minutes and take off the heat.
Add 8-10 saffron strands that have been soaked in one tbsp warm milk. Let cool to room temperature.Add the chopped nuts.

Mini Rasgullas

(The procedure is exactly the same as followed for rasgullas here, only the size of the paneer balls is smaller)

1 Litre cow milk, cream removed (I buy the milk an evening prior, boil,cool and refrigerate. Next morning, remove the cream and proceed to make chhena/paneer)

Chhena

(Here is the pictorial for making chhena)
Bring the milk to boil, add 1-2 tbsp lemon juice gradually so that the milk mass and whey separate completely. Strain in a colander lined with muslin/cheesecloth. Wash well with fresh water to remove the lemony sourness. Drain the water by squeezing. Hang to get rid for any excess whey/liquid. After about 20-25 minutes remove and rub the chhena with fingers and heels of the palm till the chhena gives out some ghee/fat. It takes me about 5 minutes to get there. By now the chhena is like a dough ball that comes together easily, neither too hard nor too soft. Take pinches off the dough and make small balls, you should get about 25. Remember, they are going to double up on boiling so size them accordingly.

Sugar Syrup– While you make the mini rasgulla balls, bring to boil 5 cups of water with a cup of sugar. Add half a tsp fine cardamom powder. Just as the syrup comes to a rolling boil, add in the mini rasgulla balls. Boil covered for 10-12 minutes on medium flame. Take off the heat.

Assembling Rabdi Angoori- Squeeze the mini rasgulla balls gently to get some of the water out and add them to the ras. Chill for a couple of hours. Garnish with more slivered nuts just before serving. Enjoy!

 Rabdi Angoori prep

*If you have the ras ready, cool it to room temperature and add the mini balls. If not, transfer the mini balls to a big bowl of room       temperature drinking water
* I use the same Rabdi to make Mango Rabdi. Instead of the mini rasgullas, I add about a cup of mango pulp and half a cup of mango    bits. Mangoes have to be very sweet and flavourous else they can spoil the lovely rabdi richness
*Nuts may be skipped in case of allergies

Angoori Rabdi 1