Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sweet Comforts and Candied Treats

Last weekend, I made two desserts that are both extremely popular and simple to make, but that I had somehow never got around to making before.

It started with a conversation with a friend last month when the subject of Indian restaurant buffets came up and she confessed that she was in love with Indian-style rice pudding; enough to go back for second and third helpings whenever she found rice kheer served in the buffet line-up. When this friend made dinner for us this Sunday (a delicious meal where the centerpiece was tangy-spicy vegetarian Filipino adobo), I remembered the conversation and put together a big bowl of kheer to take over to her.



Jan13_3


Kheer, soft and milky as baby food, comforting and sweet, is one of those desserts that features in a majority of Indian cuisines, often as the official dessert of festive occasions or a quick celebratory sweet to celebrate a birthday or a good report card.

The kheer I grew up eating and have made dozens of times is the one with seviyan/vermicelli, as in this recipe I have posted before. This was a good excuse to try something different and make some creamy kheer with rice instead of vermicelli. This is a quick stove-top dessert made with pantry ingredients.

I used the simple and straightforward recipe from Enjoy Indian Food as my guide (thank you, Meera!) and here's how I made the rice kheer. This made 4 servings (large rice kheer-fan portions, plus a tiny bit left over for a treat for my friend the next day).



Jan13_4


1. Grease a heavy pot with a few drops of oil.

2. Add
4 cups 2% milk
13 cup Basmati rice (rinsed well and drained).
Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring often until the rice is almost cooked through.

3. Add
12 heaped cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
a hefty pinch of saffron
1 tsp. cardamom powder

4. Cook for 10 min on medium-low heat, stirring often. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool down.

5. Stir in 2 tsp. rose water. Garnish with toasted pistachios. Chill and serve.

Ever since I bought a bottle of rose water a few weeks ago, I am in love with it! In this case, it added a wonderful exotic aroma to the dessert. The rice kheer was simply divine. We enjoyed every single spoonful.

I am sending this to this month's Sugar High Friday- the 61st edition has the theme of Sweet Comforts, hosted at A Merrier World.

Here's another quick and simple dessert I made last weekend to take to a trivia game and share with my team- strawberries in a dark chocolate shell. I rarely buy strawberries, least of all in the middle of winter, but bought these when I had guests expected for a brunch that never materialized because of the kitchen repair woes (yes, it is all fixed now and life is back to normal).



Jan13_1


I used a bar of dark chocolate, melted it in a deep bowl in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring to melt the chocolate without scorching it. Then I dipped the strawberries (that had been washed and dried thoroughly beforehand) and placed them on parchment and then in the fridge for the chocolate shell to form. Because I was worried about the sweetness, I sprinkled a little granulated sugar on each strawberry. I wanted more chocolate per strawberry so I did not let the excess chocolate drip away, that's why my strawberries are stuck in dark chocolate puddles.



Jan13_2




*** *** ***


As we go on with our normal lives, life in Haiti has been turned upside down by a devastating earthquake. Let's share a little and give what we can to help the rescue efforts. Click on the link to Doctors Without Borders on the right sidebar.

34 comments:

  1. Love the way the strawberries look like eggplants with a touch of red :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a coincidence! I actually combined rice kheer and strawberries last week and made a yummy strawberry phirni.

    ReplyDelete
  3. yummy ,..this one is regular at our home ,..;-)mean kheer,.hppy festival...

    ReplyDelete
  4. you are such a model guest. you are welcome to my house for dinner / lunch / breakfast / nibblings ANYtime :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is what kheer dreams are made of ... the texture is amazing, Nupur!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Nupur..
    This is how I make my pudding except that I dont add a couple of ingredients like heavy cream or rosewater. We call this "Sakara Pongal". We make this pudding with jaggery or sugar on the day of "Pongal(Harvest)"festival.
    Pongal in Tamil means "boiling over"of rice and milk.And this festival is celebrated in the month of Thai or January for 4 days starting from today. There is a saying "Thai peranthal Vali perakum" meaning with the dawn of the month of Thai there will be peace and prosperity.
    And let it be the same for you too!!
    Wow let me stop here!!!Anyway Bye!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yummy Rice kheer Nupur. I don't get to make it too often as my husband does not eat dairy products (at least the dishes where he can see there's milk or yogurt, which is why I have to sneak in dairy to make them not so obvious). I'll probably make just a little bit for me and my son.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Those choco strawberries looks very tempting!

    ReplyDelete
  9. The rice pudding looks so rich and delicious Nupur. And the sugar crystals add a nice touch to the chocolate-dipped berries.

    I'm envious of your trivia get-togethers. I'm a big trivia fan myself but haven't been able to form a group I can play regularly with.

    Mamatha

    ReplyDelete
  10. The kheer looks delicious !
    I have always seen chocolate- strawberries, never tasted.. problem is, every time i bring home s'berries they are sour :(

    ReplyDelete
  11. Delicious Strawberries! i am not too fond of kheer, tho I love Phirni, where the rice is not whole. The picture looks beautiful and makes me want to have some tho' :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Kheer is looking so yummy and delicious, Nupur! and how can anyone go wrong with chocolate dipped strawberries :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Nupur,

    The rice kheer looks incredibly mouth watering...Your photos are really too good...... I was so looking forward to your post.......Great start to the new year with two wonderful desserts....
    Wishing you and your family a Very Happy Makar Sanskranti!
    Til gul gya ani godh godh bola!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Loved Chocolate strawberry covers, very interesting and innovative !

    ReplyDelete
  15. T. W. B.- It really was!

    Lekhni- Yes, the best thing about chocolate-dipped strawberries is how pretty they look :)

    Shilpa- I bet the phirni was the prettiest shade of pink!

    notyet100- Happy festival to you too.

    mentalie- LOL I try!

    Sheetal Kiran- Yes, I've been dreaming of kheer ever since :) might have to make this again soon!

    BDSN- I'm so glad my post coincided with the festival! Yes, peace and prosperity for all :)

    Pavani- Would he like this with soymilk perhaps? But yes, the recipe is so forgiving, it can easily be halved.

    Sharmilee- Yes, they disappeared quickly!

    Mamatha- We only found this team quite by accident 4-5 months ago. Just keep asking around and you'll find some trivia buddies.

    Manasi- I know what you mean, and the sour strawberries are because the usual supermarket variety is shipped from who-knows-where. I think the secret to beautiful, sweet strawberries is to find out the season for strawberries where you live, and then buy farm fresh ones.

    Soma- I always thought I was not fond of rice kheer either but was surprised by how much I loved it this weekend. I have never made phirni; I'll have to try that sometime.

    PJ- Thanks :)

    Rujuta- Happy Makar Sankrant to you too!

    Kanchan- They taste delicious and can be made with any berries :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Happy Sankranti Nupur. the kheer looks so creamy and delcious. this is my favourite but I love to add a little bit of palm jaggery to it.
    the choco covered strawberries look so cute.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have a weakness for rice pudding... I am not complaining :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. We are both on the chocolate-dipped strawberry wave length this week!

    ReplyDelete
  19. You will not belv Nupur I saw this chocolate dunked fruit on food network and so wantedto try it, berries are a good idea, greedy for these anytime. Kheer is my topmost dessert dish 24x7.

    ReplyDelete
  20. everyone at my home loves kheer :) I often substitute regular rice with 'swak ke chawal' - the tiny round rice that is used in the Navratras....awesome!!! must try!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Nupur, The kheer looks delicious! What a sweet start to the New Year :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. Nupur, after reading through your blog and the posts you write, not only about food, but about things that happen as we speak, I'd like to share an award I got with you.


    It is at http://ruchikacooks.com/?p=1194.

    Hope you'll accept it.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Nupur, I always surf away from your site inspired! I have been meaning to follow up on your Injera experiment... looks like months just flew by in a blur for me :) A very happy 2010 to you and your family!
    Cheers,
    Sheela.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thank you for this great recipe. I stopped by last night to have a visit and saw the recipe. I jumped off the puter and into the kitchen and got it going. Oh MY is this good! I had no nuts or rosewater but I didn't let that stop me. We ate most of it last night . .warm, and the rest for Breakfast.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I like the strawberries in chocolate puddles (yum!), Nupur, and I LOVE the kheer. I have never made it, and I must admit, your version with a million toasted pistachios does not look like any kheer I have had out, either :) I must try this!

    Thanks for the Doctors without Borders link. It's hard to know who to give through at times like this -- I usually rely on Red Cross but your idea, I think, is even better.

    Have a happy Monday :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. This sounds very comforting and delicious!
    Thanks for taking part in Sugar High Friday.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Sayantani- Ooh, I bet palm jaggery adds another depth of flavor!

    Cynthia- It is a strength not a weakness ;)

    Lydia- I know :D I can read your mind ;)

    Konkani- Yes, I'll be making these again when berries are in season in summer.

    binu- Oh the tiny chawal sound wonderful, I don't think I have ever seen/tasted them.

    Radhika- Yes, I'm happy the first post of 2010 is so sugary :)

    Ruchikacooks- Thanks- I appreciate it!

    Sheela- How nice to see you here, and I'm looking forward to another year of inspiration on your blog!

    Ahrisha- How fun that you tried the recipe in a jiffy :) and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    Linda- I love nuts in kheer, one could go easy on them, I know ;)

    Kate- Thank you for hosting this event.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Very nice strawberry's with coco wow

    ReplyDelete
  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  30. hi Nupur,
    I wanted to make rice kheer for a puja yesterday and I have never made it before. These days, it is no brainer for me when it comes to recipes I've never cooked...thanks to bloggers like you who've made it a passion to learn, cook, and share it with others. I made kheer using half and half milk and almonds instead of pistas and boy !!!! it turned out superb...the chilled version was divine :-) Thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe :-)

    Take care
    Mina.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback, Mina! I am so glad the recipe worked for you. Like you, I rely on other food bloggers to point me towards good recipes :)

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to say hello!