A Traditional Meetha from Pakistan and some Layered Fruit Dessert

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I am an unabashed Desserts person! Not in big quantities, but a little meetha at the end of meal is a must- have!
The food group, CaL, which I am a part of, is a great place for learning. New ideas, new cultures and fusion too! I came across this recipe on my dear friend Reem’s post. It a traditional meetha (dessert) from Pakistan which gives an interesting twist to the rice pudding (kheer) by adding some custard and khoya/maawa. It is a fellow CaLite Faiza Ahmad’s recipe.

I made some Layered Fruit Dessert with Faiza’s Traditional Pakisthani Meetha recipe as the base.
We had some of the dessert warm, in the traditional way and the left over was chilled and used to layer with strawberries, figs and bananas- both versions yum
Thanks Faiza and Reem  😀

I made minor changes to the original recipe and here is how I prepared the dessert.
(Serves 6)

2 litres of full cream milk
½ cup basmati rice, soaked for an hour and crumbled slightly
¾ cup sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla custard powder dissolved in ½ cup of milk
1 cup of Strawberries and bananas sliced
4-5 figs peeled and cubed
12-15 almonds slivered
2 tsp cardamom powder

Bring the milk to a boil and keep boiling on medium flame for 20 minutes. Keep stirring to avoid scalding.
Add the rice and cook on low flame for about 30 minutes till the rice is well cooked and mixed well with the milk.
Add the custard powder and milk mixture and keep stirring. Do not leave unattended at all as this burns quickly!
Cook for 7-8 minutes.
Add sugar and cardamom powder and cook stirring for 5 odd minutes.
Take off the heat and serve warm.
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To make the layered dessert
Chill the dessert.
Take wide and deep serving bowls.
Layer fruits and the prepared dessert.
Top with some fresh and dry fruit and serve.
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Here is Faiza’s recipe –
11/2 ltr of milk,
1/2 cup of rice,
3/4cup of sugar,
1/2cup of khoya,
1 tsp vanilla custard powder,
1tsp ilaichi powder,
1tsp kewra water,
Almonds for garnishing.
Boil the milk and add rice.cook untill rice become soft. Keep stirring.
Then add khoya and sugar.Keep stirring.
Now mix vanilla custard powder with 1/4 cup of milk and add this to the kheer.
At the end add ilaichi powder and kewra water.
Garnish with nuts but traditionally only almonds used. Let it cool on room temperature. It is usually served warm. It is a traditional meetha served in ‘matti ki katori’/earthen bowls at weddings.

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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.