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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Roasted Rice Kheer (Bhaja Chaula Khiri)

Whether be it the 'Khai anjula' during the marriage ceremony, the griha pravesh of the new bride or the first time she lights the hearth, rice is considered to be an indispensable part of the Hindu marriage rituals. That is because it symbolizes prosperity and the new bride as the 'Lakshmi' or Goddess of prosperity is supposed to bring in loads of good fortune and money to her husband's family. Little wonder that the rice kheer occupies a very important position in most religious ceremonies. As a new bride, I too prepared the rice kheer with much trepidation ( and quite a bit of help ) as a part of the first meal at my in-laws home. And since then, I have quite mastered the technique of getting it just right.

So, on my last trip to Odisha, I had prepared Kheer on popular demand and it turned out to be a hit ( no surprises here ). But when one of the guests who sampled it asked me whether I had roasted the rice before making the dish, I was stumped. So I called up my Mom and asked if she knew the recipe for 'Bhaja Chaula kheeri'. Turned out that she was aware of it even though she never made it that way. Not much different from my usual method, this just required roasting the rice for a few minutes before adding it to the milk. But it gives a different taste and the rice grains remain a bit more chewy/firm in this version. (Check out the other version : Here)

Have used khoya and condensed milk to reduce cooking time. But you can actually use reduced milk or best cook the rice grains with milk till it reduces to about 1/4 th of the original volume for that authentic flavour.

Read on for the recipe:






Preparation Time - 45-50 mins

Ingredients -
  • 1/2 liter milk
  • 1/3 cup soaked rice ( Jeera rice or Gobindobhog rice )
  • 3/4 cup khoya
  • 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar ( I prefer medium sweet, but you can add a little more )
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1-2 green cardamoms
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 tbsp ghee
OR 
  • 2 liter full cream milk
  • 1/3 cup soaked rice ( Basmati rice )
  • 1/2 cup sugar ( medium sweetness )
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds ( peeled ones )
  • 1-2 green cardamoms
  • 1 tsp ghee

Cooking - Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker. Add a little crushed cardamoms and the soaked rice. Stir fry for 5-6 minutes.

Add 2 tsp sugar and stir at intervals. Allow it to just start caramelizing (check pic below) so that we get a lovely buff colored kheer.

















Add 1/3 cup water, 1 cup milk and the cashews to the cooker. Close lid and cook for 3-4 whistles. Remove from flame.

Open the lid as soon as the steam escapes. Use a heavy spoon to whisk the contents and try to break down the rice grains( Else use a good quality hand blender for this step). We need to do this when the mixture is very hot so be careful not to splash any liquid onto ones hands. [1]

Add the remaining milk to the pressure cooker along with 1/4 cup water. Close lid and cook for another 2-3 whistles. Remove from flame.

Allow steam to escape. Open the lid and put it back on the flame.

Add the crumbled khoya ( i used store bought one), condensed milk, raisins and cardamom. Stir continuously till the khoya dissolves and mixture reaches desired thickness. (Took 7-8 mins for me)

Switch off the flame.

[1] ***  When using full cream milk, the cooking time will be very high (nearly 1 1/2 hours) on a low flame. But the taste is rather different and much more creamy.

Once you have broken down the grains with a heavy spoon/hand blender, you need to add the remaining milk and almonds. Cook on low flame while giving a stir occasionally. After reaching a certain thickness, one needs to stir it continuously so that it does not catch at the bottom.

Finally add the cardamom powder and remove from the flame.

Serve warm or chilled. (both taste great)



















Note - This stays good for up to a week when kept refrigerated  .

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