Rice Pleasures of Life

       
   
               In contrast to the long grained Basmati rice which India is worldwide famous for, Govindobhog variety of rice with its rich buttery flavour makes all Bengalis want to go back into their childhood. The sweet smell of this small grained rice makes us dribble at the thought of khichuri, fena bhaat (porridge), holud pulao and payesh ( sort-of rice pudding) among some of its preparations. Most of us who stay outside Kolkata usually complain about the available quality of this nostalgic rice variety lacking its characteristic aroma because, you know, flavour is a combination of smell and taste. Fortunately I laid my hands on some good quality Govindobhog chal  few days back from Chittaranjan Park market (famous in Delhi for the fish market and spices Bengalis are known for). This gave me the idea of preparing the patent vegetarian lunch (at-home lunch seems to be a luxury sometimes) for me and my work from home husband on the occasion of Saraswati pujo coinciding with my day-off. Lunch with khichuri, begun bhaja, badhakopir torkari along with the perfect dessert GURER PAYESH makes life perfect!!! Its funny how we relate every occasion with food.

The Gobindobhag chal
           Payesh or North Indian kheer is usually sweetened with sugar but Bengali winters are incomplete without the Gur (jaggery) substitute. Patali gur is also rarely available outside Kolkata, so we usually have to ration them for the entire whole year with the half yearly visit to our heavenly abode of food, Kolkata.

The GUR
            I just love the flavour of gur mixed with milk and Govindobhog chal, so do not usually add any other spices like bay leaves or cardamom. So here's the simple impromptu recipe of Gurer Payesh..

Ingredients
  1. Whole milk - 1 litre
  2. Gobindobhog chal - fistful (if not available use any other aromatic small grained rice variety but obviously the taste will be a bit compromised)
  3. Patali gur - 1/2 cup (broken into small pieces)
The gur - pieces

Yes, you just need 3 ingredients along with a bit of patience.

Procedure
  1. Wash the rice and keep it soaked in water for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Bring the milk to a boil and keep stirring it over low flame.
  3. After the milk has boiled for around 10 minutes, add in the drained rice. At this point of time the rice grains drowns into the milk.
The primary boiling milk
    
     4. Continue boiling the milk for another 15-20 minutes with time to time stirring. Notice the milk            gradually turning yellowish.
     5. Once the rice grains start floating on the milk layer, its an indication that the payesh is almost              done. Switch off the flame.

The rice mixture waiting to cool down

     6. Now comes the tricky part. Let the payesh sit for sometime to cool down. Meanwhile, take                  about 2 tablespoon of warm (not hot) milk and dissolve the gur solids.
     7. Add this concentrated gur mixture into the rice mixture and VOILA!!!!!

Gurer Payesh
Tasty as ever waiting for us to hog in.



P.S. Do not add the gur directly into the main payesh mixture as that would possibly curdle the milk. Allow it to cool down first to room temperature and then go forward with the lovely jaggery. You can increase or decrease  the amount of jaggery depending upon your taste.

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