Some posts can be tinged with some sadness. Just like this one – due to lagging response, Divya has decided to call off her once-successful South North Challenge and this month happens to be the last challenge.I am sure she must have a hard time taking this decision, as this has been her baby ever since she has had her blog and I have seen some active participation, which is one of the reasons I became a part of this group. However, off late, the response has not been very enthusiastic. I would not say that I was regular with my challenges. I have already mentioned during previous SNC posts that the importance given more for sweets have kind of made me wary of participating, not because I don’t love sweets – then there would be no justice to my blog name! – but the calories in North Indian sweets have always made me really worried. Yet, I would wait eagerly for the monthly challenges to see what was on challenge and try my level best to participate.
For the last challenge, both teams selected sweets – Manjula with Maharashtrian Gavachi Kheer and Sandhya with Badam Halwa. The time I saw the challenge, I had intended to participate, despite my travelling plans and tight schedules. Since it was not much of a work, I made the kheer as dessert for lunch over the weekend and we absolutely loved it. Very similar to our Gothambu payasam, with just some variation in the procedure, the end result is a thick creamy payasam, which can be enjoyed without feeling guilty!
1/4 cup whole wheat
2 tbsp basmati rice
1 tbsp ghee
5 cashew nuts, split
3 cups low fat milk
A pinch of cardamom
1/4 cup grated jaggery (add more for sweetness)
Wash the whole wheat well and soak it overnight or for around 8 hours. Drain and grind into a coarse paste adding very little water.
Wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes.
In a pressure cooker, heat ghee. Fry the cashews briefly and then the raisins till puffed. Add the ground wheat paste and saute till a lovely aroma comes. Add the drained rice and saute for a couple of minutes. Now add the milk and the cardamom and give a good mix.
Close the pressure cooker and cook on medium flame till one whistle. Reduce to minimum and cook for another 10 minutes. Switch off and allow the pressure to go by itself.
Open the lid and add in the jaggery. The jaggery will melt in the heat of the kheer. Do not cook this again as the jaggery will call the milk to curdle.
Serve warm or cold – both taste equally good!
1. As the kheer sits, it tends to thicken. Add warm milk or water to loosen it up and serve.
2. If you forget to soak the whole wheat overnight, then soak it in really hot water, in a bowl with a tight lid for around 3 hours. This method would work for all peas that needs soaking before cooking.