“Do you have a sweet tooth? Ahh, no let me ask again. J Are all the teeth you posses craving sweet all the time? 😛 If you do, don’t hold off now! ” I will explain why J.
My boy loves sweets. To help me continue his love affair , I have to research and tweak traditional recipes (with white sugars of course). Things mothers do to let our kids have a prolonged love life J (oh, but he is all of 3.5 years-rolling your eyes, aren’t you?).
The making of the rebel :
As a child I loved the traditional “rice pudding” (tandulachi/chawal ki kheer) my Aai made. I inherited the like for it from my maternal grandpa “Nana” (literally means the youngest one, but he was addressed as Nana by his great grand kids too J). Unfortunately in Maharashtra, this kheer/pudding is made as a part of mourning meal. So, it isn’t commonly made in a Maharashtrian household. However, my Aji (grandma) made it for me (and Nana of course). This was like the beginning of my rebellion against blindly followed tradition:P.
It involves a bit of hard work and preparation to make this pudding well. But, all work and no play, mommy sure does not know how :P.
The traditional recipe involved White rice (used brown rice but you can used quinoa too) and Sugar. My grandma often switched sugar with jaggery (like palm sugar-its healthier and natural). I however used honey in this one, but organic brown sugar tastes equally good. The proportion would differ due to different consistency/qualities of sugar or sweet element to be used.
My POV is that its better to use white sugars than artificial “sweetners”. If death follows, then let it be by regular sugar and not by pseudo sugars, what say? 😛
Presenting after a long preamble the Real deal J
Ingredients: (for 20 small bowls)
- 1 gallon 1% fat organic milk (we are strict about using organic stuff, but you can choose the regular milk).
- ½ gallon half and half.
- 3-4 cups of water.
- 7-8 strands of saffron.
- 2 tsps. Cardamom powder.
- 2 tbsps. Ghee/clarified butter.
- ½ cup unsalted pecans (you can add variety of dry fruits, except peanuts, dried apricots, cranberries and raisins).
- Upto 1 cup organic honey. (Taste and check if you need less or more. I used about ½ cup and a little more.)
- 5 cups brown rice (Washed and dried in a clean towel. Roasted over 2 tbsps. ghee and then ground into coarse grit.)
- 1 star anise (my addition, gives it a peppery kick. But it’s optional).
- Roast the rice: The rice needs to be washed well and dried on a clean towel. We need to do this well or it will burn sooner while roasting. Heat a deep pan and roast the rice on the clarified butter. Roast until aromatic. If using white rice, the colour change will be the sign to look for (white to golden). Grind it into coarse grits. Set the rice aside.
- In the same deep pan, bring the milk and half-half to a boil. Reducing it to half is easier since half and half will save you time.
- Add saffron strands, crush in between two palms, cardamom and start anise. Allow the milk to simmer on low flame and infuse the saffron fragrance. Reduce the milk to half.
- Add the rice grit in the milk pan.
- It thickens sooner because of the starch in rice. So, keep the water handy. Add the water gradually.
- Boil, allow the rice to cook completely now.
- After the rice cooks add the honey. Adjust the quantity as per taste.
- Boil it again and switch the burner off.
- Add the nuts. Allow it to cool.
And, dig into this sinful dessert! I love it with roti or puri (I know so many carbs right?). But, I have taken a typical Buffet way here and have it as a dessert after my salads J.
This rice pudding is connected to my childhood. Hence, every time that I make it, it transports me to the Wonder years of my life. Can food do this to you? What’s your guilty pleasure nostalgia? J