A sumptuous meal and then comes the turn of sweet dish- this is the most common scene at any Indian dinner. In some states and regions the sweet dish is even served before meal, but with the same purpose – complete satisfaction of the taste buds. The most common but amazing, and which can be truly called the queen among desserts, is the sweet dish ‘Kheer’. Kheer is known by different names in different regions of India, like in Tamil it is called Payasam, Bengalis calls this Payesh, and in Sanskrit, kheer is known by the name of Ksheeram that means milk. Be it any form or version, its taste is incredible and especially the one made out of rice, full cream milk and condensed milk then garnished with dry fruits like almonds, raisins and cashews.
There is a strong connection of kheer with religion and rituals in India. It is believed that the first ever kheer was prepared at the Lord Jagannath temple at Puri, Odisha about 2000 years ago. After that, kheer in India was used in many Hindu rituals and also distributed among devotes in the form of Prashad and till date this continues. Also because of its popularity and religious link, this sweet dish gained traditional importance and people started making it on festivals and different occasions. Commonly, rice is used for preparing kheer but because of its regional connection sago, wheat and vermicelli or seviyan are also used instead of rice. To sweeten it, again depending upon the region, either gur (jaggery) or sugar is used. Like in Odisha, gur (jaggery) is used, whereas in north India sugar it used to sweeten the taste.
In Bengal kheer is served by the name of Payesh and is considered as an auspicious food. Because of this it is prepared on the occasion of annaprashana (weaning ritual of an infant). Also its another version is popular in which khajoor milk instead of full cream milk is used. This kheer is not thick like the one prepared in Punjab, but tastes awesome.
In Assam kheer is called Payoxh and is light pink as along with dry fruits cherries are also added. Assamese also use sago (edible starch extracted from a palm) instead of rice to make this dish.
In Bihar kheer both from sugar and jaggery is cooked, but the one with jaggery is called Rasiya and the other is known as chawal ke kheer.
Hyderabadi style of kheer is called Gil e firdaus (means clay of paradise) in which milk and bottle gourd are used.
Muslims also prepare kheer on Eid-ul-Fitr as well as Eid-ul-Adha. North Indian muslims prepare fir-ni on this occasion which is also a form of kheer.
Here is the quickest and easiest way to prepare Kheer in North Indian style
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 2 cups full cream milk
- 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
- Sugar to taste
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- 8-10 Chopped Cashew nuts
- 8-10 Chopped almonds
- 8-10 raisins
- Put cooked rice, milk and condensed milk in a non stick pan and mix them well. Keep the flame low and stir constantly.
- Add sugar, dry fruits and cardamom powder and mix well till sugar gets dissolved.
- Serve hot, or put it in the refrigerator and enjoy it chilled.
Enjoy this mouthwatering sweet dish !!!