Coming to the photography thing, we did a lot of experimenting with the light where Nisha taught us how to use side lighting and back lighting to get the desired result. The most important thing which I then realized was how to diffuse the light for our benefit, never thought of it really… And now, we have worked upon an assignment for the members of Bloggers Buzz Photography Club, including ourselves. Here is a collage of some of the pictures I took that day, to view more visit our Facebook Page for Bloggers’ Buzz. This month our judge will be Kankana Saxena from Playful Cooking. The smiling lady who clicks pictures we all drool upon. The results will be out in September, so stay tuned fellas. 🙂
Coming to this recipe of today, Kheer or Payasam is an integral item on the Indian menu cards specially during the festivals. The term Kheer (used in North India) is derived from Sanskrit words Ksheeram (which means milk). Other terms like Payasa or Payasam (used in South India) or payesh (used in Bengal region) are derived from the Sanskrit word Payas which also means “milk”.
So obviously milk is the basic ingredient of this dish, and other ingredients vary on the basis of region and culture, some important ones being rice, ghee, sugar, jaggery, Khoya, vermicelli etc. Some people also add a little bit of Heavy Cream to give it more richness in taste. It is often garnished using almonds, cashews, raisins and pistachios.
In a typical South Indian meal, payasam or payasa (Kannada) is served first at any formal or auspicious occasions. Payasam is also served after rasam rice, while rice with buttermilk (or curd rice) forms the last item to be served on the platter.
Payasam also forms an integral part of the Kerala feast (sadya), where it is served and relished from the flat banana leaf instead of cups. In Malayalee or Kerala cuisine, there are several different kinds of payasam that can be prepared from a wide variety of fruits and starch bases, an example being chakkapradhaman made of jackfruit pulp, adapradhaman made of flat ground rice.
What you need?
- 1 cup Split green gram dal or Yellow moong dal
- ¼ cup parboiled rice
- 1 cup Jaggery powder – I always use powder, see notes on how to break the Jaggery into pieces
- ¼ cup Cashew nuts
- ¼ tsp Cardamom pods
- 1 cup Grated coconut
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup whole Milk
- 2 tbsp Ghee
- 3-4 saffron strands
- 1 tsp rose essence – optional
How to make?
- Wash lentils and rice well replacing water at least 4-5 times, soak for 30 minutes, drain and keep aside.
- Grind coconut with cardamom, just pulse it once and keep aside.
- Pour in drained rice and dal in a pressure cooker along with 4 cups of water and cook till 3 whistles. If you are using a deep pan, soak dal for 2-3 hours and then cook with rice for 40-45 minutes keeping flame on medium and then simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Open the cooker once the pressure ease off, and mash the dal well with either potato masher or wooden spatula.
- Add in milk, sugar and jaggery and simmer for next 15-20 minutes until dal thickens. You may add more water to adjust the consistency as per your desire at this point.
- Add in grated coconut mixture, saffron and rose essence and stir well, cook for another minute and turn off the flame.
- In another pan, heat ghee and fry cashews till light brown, and pour it over payasam. Keep some aside for garnish
- Serve hot.
- If you are using jiggery pieces, and struggling to break it- Place inside a paper and crush it into smaller pieces using a meat tenderizer or hammer. Then put in a blender or mixer grinder and grind jaggery into fine powder; set aside.
- I have used both sugar and jaggery in this Payasam since I don’t quite like the taste of only jaggery. You may omit either of them, as per your taste. I would still recommend adding some jaggery since it brings the desired texture to the dish
- It is very filling dessert, so I would not recommend it having on a full stomach.
- I have used split green gram to prepare it, but yellow moong dal can also be used using the same recipe. Just reduce the soaking time to half an hour in that case
- You may omit the use of rice completely and make it using just the Moong dal