Wooing tastebuds with kheer

No matter that pastries, cakes, doughnuts and pies have become the most sought after desserts; they pale in comparison with our traditional kheer (pudding). We don’t need any special occasion to cook this delicious savoury, but generally, especially during festivals it is a must have in almost every Indian household. 

 “Kheer is an extremely rich and classic dessert for north Indians, and to be more accurately precise, rice kheer is the actual classic recipe which is further on modified into sabudaana kheer and sevaiyaan, made in the similar way,” says Chef Gurmeet Singh of Grills & Platters restaurant.

Interestingly, with different regional cooking methods kheer is known by different names in different regions like kheer, khir, sheer, payasam, payasa or kheeri. 

Though rice kheer is most liked, Sabudana too is preferred. It is similar to any other kheer variety except that the preparing of sabudaana kheer needs attention. Sometimes the milk curdles if sabudana is cooked in it directly. In order to avoid this it is advisable to  always roast sabudana in ghee and cook it in enough water before adding the milk.

Moong dal kheer is another popular item. Mostly people who don’t prefer sugar, prefer this kheer, made from jaggery. In winters, people, especially in north India prepre carrot kheer. If you wish to give a variety to your tastebuds, you can make kheer from a variety of millets like ragi, jowar and bajra.

“Fruity versions of kheer too can be very delicious,” says Chef Negi Singh from Mudra Lounge, Lajpat Nagar. “The apple, orange and mango kheer to name a few. And this fruity kheer is well suited for diabetics as one can simply avoid adding sugar beacuse fruits act as natural sweeteners.”

Talking about the flavouring the kheer, the Grills & Platters chef says, “North Indians use more authentic flavours in the kheer like cardamom, kesar and even rose petals which is not only flavourful but adds aroma to the dish. The classic kheer can be made more rich and tasty by using a combination of dry fruits, nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, melon seeds, raisins and dates.”

Negi, however, emphasises on the garnishing of the kheer. “A well-garnished dessert always looks complete, more royal and lavish. Roasted cashew nuts, almonds and raisins dipped in ghee, where the colour of cashew nuts change totally, looks tempting and imparts a rich look to the kheer. Powdered cardamom granules mixes well in the kheer and make it tasty. You can add some kesar strands too for the creamy look.”

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