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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Paan and Gulkand Kheer

Most festive(read 'Heavy') meals in India are considered incomplete with a serving of paan. Paan is said to aid in digestion, suppress gas formation in the stomach and freshen up the mouth. Many a varieties of 'paan' are available in the shops, ranging from sharp bitter ones to sweet sugary ones. One is supposed to chew up the paan, swallow its juice and spit out the solids. But these days one gets sweet paans (without the betel nuts) which can be consumed in its entirety. However the paan leaves do leave a slight tingling in the mouth which everyone may not like.

So, the last time when I made kheer for dessert, I decided to infuse it with the flavors of a 'meetha paan'. Had a jar of gulkand lying in my cupboard as I am using it liberally during summers to reduce body heat. I only had to purchase a few betel leaves from the corner paan-shop. One word of caution while selecting the leaves. Avoid the bitter ones and go for the mild ones else it will ruin the dish.

Since it was hot at the time, I decided to use condensed milk and khoya to cut down on the cooking time.Read on for the recipe:

Preparation Time - 45-50 mins

Ingredients -

  • 1/2 liter milk
  • 1/3 cup soaked rice ( i used Jeera rice but you can also use Basmati)
  • 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
  • 2 pinch cardamom
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Gulkand
  • 2-3 Betel leaves
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp ghee

Preparation - Wash and clean the betel leaves. Remove the veins and tear into small pieces. Grind with 1/4 cup milk and keep it aside. ( We do not want a fine paste so very small pieces of the betel leaf should remain. )

Wash and soak the rice for 1-2 hours. Strain to remove excess water.

Cooking - Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker. Add the soaked rice and fry for 3-4 minutes.

Next add 1/3 cup water, half of the milk, sugar and 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 veryhot so be careful not to splash any liquid onto ones hands.

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 and cardamom. Stir continuously till the khoya dissolves and mixture reaches desired thickness. (Took 7-8 mins for me)

Switch off the flame.

Stir in the Gulkand. Next add the betel leaf mixture little by little building up the flavour till you get it right.

Keep it in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

Garnish with betel leaf, rose petals and serve chilled.


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