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KRISHNA BHOG KESRI KHEER / कृष्णा भोग केसरी खीर (SAFFRON RICE PUDDING using Krishna Bhog Rice)

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Had wanted to share this post yesterday but due to some technical snag, was unable to upload it. Yesterday was Bhagwat Gita Jayanti day and I celebrated it like many others by chanting shlokas from the holy book and made kheer using the Krishna Bhog Rice. In fact, just a few days back while on my visit to the grocery shop I saw this very new and never seen before (at least by me) variety of rice, I knew instantly I was going to make it for the prashad for the Sri Gita parv. I am going to keep this post short and take you straight to the recipe.

1 litre Milk (I used 6% but you can use 2%)

100 grams approx. Krishna Bhog Rice

1 tbsp plus 2 tsp Sugar (adjust the sweetness to taste)

1 pinch Saffron strands

¼ tsp Cardamom Powder

Nuts of your choice (optional)

Wash the rice twice or thrice and soak in enough water. Keep it aside, while you boil the milk.

Bring the milk to boil (I boiled it on low heat to give ample time for rice to soak) and take out a tablespoon of milk in a small bowl. Add crushed saffron stands and keep it aside.

Drain the rice and add it to the boiling milk. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes and add the saffron.

Simmer and cook the rice on low heat, stirring intermittently to prevent it from catching at the bottom.

Once the rice is done and the milk begins to get thicker in consistency, switch off the heat and add the sugar and cardamom. Stir well and serve hot.

We prefer having it chilled and therefore, I allow it to cool and then refrigerate it before serving.

Garnish with nuts and raisins and enjoy!

Serves 4 – 6

Note – The rice is pretty filling and a little serving goes a long way

Note – This rice has a chewy texture even after cooking and that is what makes this kheer unique.

Note – This rice does not swell much unlike other rice therefore I have used double the amount.

Note – Swap dairy milk with coconut milk and you have a vegan dessert.

LEAVING YOU WITH SOME SIMPLIFIED MEANINGS OF SHLOKAS (श्लोक) FROM THE HOLY BOOK…

Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.

Soul migrates from body to body. Weapon cannot cleave it, nor fire consume it, nor water drench it, nor wind dry it.

Hell has three gates – Lust, Anger and Greed

Meet this transient world with neither grasping nor fear, trust the unfolding of life and you will attain serenity.

The mind is everything. What you think, you become

Set your heart upon your work, but never upon its rewards.

Perform your duty equipoised, abandoning all attachment to success or failure. Such equanimity is called yoga.

Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give as charity, whatever austerity you perform, do that as an offering unto Me. Thus shall you be freed from the bonds of karma bearing good and evil fruits. With the heart firmly set on renunciation (of actions and its fruits), you will attain liberation (moksha) and thereby come to me.

He who has no attachment, can really love others, for his love is pure and divine.

Do everything you have to do but not with greed, not with ego, not with lust not with envy but with love, compassion, humility and devotion.

For one who has conquered his mind, mind is best of friends. But for one who has failed to do so, mind is the greatest enemy.  

You came empty handed, you will leave empty handed. What is yours today, belonged to someone else yesterday and will belong to someone else tomorrow.

Whatever happened, happened for good. Whatever is happening, is happening for good. Whatever will happen, will also happen for good. You need not have any regrets for the past. You need not worry for the future. The present is happening. Live in the present.

A Karma Yogi performs actions by body, mind, intellect and senses without attachment or ego, only for self purification.

As the heat of fire reduces wood to ashes, the fire of knowledge burns to ashes all karma.

If you want to see the brave, look to those who can return love for hatred. If you want to see the heroic, look at those who can forgive.

If a thousand suns were to rise and stand in the noon sky, blazing such brilliance would be like the fierce brilliance of the mighty Self.

ALSO SHARING THOUGHTS OF SOME GREAT MEN ABOUT THEIR EXPERIENCE WITH THE BHAGWAT GITA

I owed a magnificent day to the Bhagavad Gita. It was as if an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the same questions which exercise us.” – RALPH WALDO EMERSON

When I read the Bhagavat Gita and reflect how God created this universe, everything else seems so superfluous. – ALBERT EINSTEIN

The most practical teaching of Gita, and one for which it is of abiding interest and value to the rest of the men of the world with whom life is a series of struggle, is not to give way to any morbid sentimentality when duty demands sterness and boldness to face terrible things. –BAL GANGADHAR TILAK

The Bhagwat Gita is one of the most clear and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to India but to all of humanity. – ALDOUS HUXLEY

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HARA CHANA BURFI / हरे चने की बर्फी (Green Garbanzo Beans Fudge)

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WISHING EVERYONE A VERY HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS DIWAL noI 

There have been phases where I have oscillated between being a non vegetarian and then switching back to being a vegetarian. I wasn’t always a non vegetarian. In my mother’s house, we rarely had chicken or mutton and fish was a rarity, except for fish fritters in winters. The emphasis was always on eating one’s veggies. The things however changed once I moved to my marital house where I encountered hard core carnivores. Everyday at least one meal would have fish, mutton or chicken. And if anyone in the house was not in a mood for vegetables on the menu, they would simply have an omelette with bread. So much of non veg food, was quite something for me to handle. There would come a point when I wouldn’t even want to hear the word chicken or fish. When we moved into our own house, I ensured that we incorporated more veggies in our meals. And last year, when I switched over to being a vegetarian, again, I tried to incorporate as many veggies and lentils & legumes that I possibly could, into my meals. I try cooking them in different ways so that they provide me with a healthy variety of meals.

Although green garbanzo beans are a seasonal produce, you can find them being sold in dried form just as regular black or white chick peas at your grocery store. Soak them the same way as well and you have them just as fresh green garbanzo beans would be. I enjoy them as a salad, in rice pilaf and as a curry or as this fudge here. The fudge takes very little time to get cooked and makes for a healthy and tasty dessert.

1 C Dry Green Chickpeas (Chholiya)

¼ C plus 1 tbsp Ghee

250 grams Khoya (Mawa)

¾ C Sugar (adjust to taste)

1½ tsp Cardamom Powder

2 – 3 tbsp finely sliced Pistachio

2 – 3 tbsp slivered Almonds

Pick, wash and soak the green chick peas in water for 5 – 6 hours. (I soaked them over night)

Drain the soaked chickpeas and grind them to a coarse paste (it is purely a matter of taste whether you like coarsely grained chick peas or want to turn them into a fine paste)

In a heavy bottom cooking pan or wok (kadahi), heat the ghee and add the chick pea paste.

Roast it for a minute on high flame stirring continuously and then reduce the heat and roast it till the colour begins to change and the raw smell is gone. (A total of 7 minutes approx.)

Add milk along with cardamom powder, two tablespoons pistachio and two tablespoons almonds and keep cooking on low heat for another two minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and keep aside and cover it.

In another heavy bottom pan or kadahi, roast the mawa on low heat without adding any ghee.

Roast till the colour changes to golden.

Switch off from the heat and allow to cool. Add mawa and sugar to the roasted chick peas and mix it all well till everything is well incorporated.

Decant the contents in a plate or tray (mine was 9½ inches by 7 inch) and using a spatula spread it around and even it out. Level the surface and garnish with the remaining pistachios and almonds.

Cover with a cling wrap (with the cling wrap touching the contents as this will prevent any moisture to develop inside). Keep the tray in the refrigerator for the fudge to firm up so that you can slice it with ease.

Once it is firm, cut the fudge in slices of the size you desire and serve. Enjoy!

Note: In case you intend to use fresh green chick peas (when they are in season), here is an idea of the approximate weight – the soaked and drained weight of the garbanzo beans was approximately 370 grams (+ / -).

Yield: 15 slices

Thanks for visiting. See you soon again, with another exciting recipe. 

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CHHENAR PAYESH / छेनार पाएश (Cottage Cheese & Milk Pudding)

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The festive season has begun and you are going to see more of desserts and traditional Indian confections/ mithai here. The variety of Indian confection is staggering. The base for most desserts is either mawa i.e. thick reduced milk (also called khoya) or chhena (freshly made paneer). We have our Suji Halwa, Aata Halwa and halwas made from vegetables and even nuts but they fall in another category of desserts. I am here talking about Indian mithai or what you can call Indian confection. While the khoya (reduced milk) is the base for most north Indian mithai (Indian confection)  it is chhena that is most loved by eastern states of Odisha and Bengal. I have grown up loving khoya mitha such as Gulab Jamun but I equally love the mithai made with chhena. Rather I prefer chhena mithai now as it is easy on the tummy than its rich counterpart mawa. Payesh is Bengali for kheer or milk based pudding. It can be Sabudana Payesh or it can be Chaler Payesh (rice pudding) and many more such varieties of payesh. But chhena payesh is the best in my view. I can have it every single day of the year! I tried to replicate the taste of the chhena payesh made by the ‘Sweet Bengal’ confectionery and I believe it is pretty close to it; although I would have loved it more, had it been made with the date palm jaggery but I had run out of stock. It is difficult to find date palm jaggery throughout the year but it is easily available during the cold winter months albeit for a short duration. The best way to enjoy this jaggery all through the year is to buy it in bulk when available and freezing it. I enjoy my cake sweetend with this jaggery. You can try this Wholemeal Jaggery Cake scented with cardamom if you are a fan of wholesome healthy cakes.

1 litre Full cream Milk

1½ litre Cow’s Milk

1½ tbsp Lemon Juice

1 tsp APF (Maida)

600 – 650 mls Water

250 grams Sugar

1 – 1½ tsp Cornflour

A few teaspoons Milk

½ tsp Cardamom Powder

In a heavy bottom pan or wok, boil the full cream milk. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer. Keep stirring every now and then to prevent it from catching at the bottom and getting burnt.

Keep simmering the milk of low heat stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile boil the toned milk and and remove it from heat. Stir in the lemon juice. The whey will start to separate from the milk. Give it a few more minutes before the whey and paneer separate completely. If not, put it on heat again and stir for a few minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth or muslin cloth and drain the whey (or reserve it for making dough, adding to curries or soups etc.).

Wash the paneer under running water to get rid of the sourness of lemon juice.

Hang the cheesecloth with paneer, over a faucet, for an hour to get rid of excess liquid.

Transfer the chhena (paneer) to a plate and mash for four to five minutes or till it becomes smooth. Add a teaspoon of maida and incorporate it in the chhena.

Make smooth, marble sized, balls out of the mashed chhena. (the paneer balls will increase in size so do not get tempted to go beyond this size)

Boil the water in a wide pot and add sugar to it. Once the sugar has dissolved and the water comes to a rolling boil, drop in the chhena balls (Ensure that the pot is not over crowded with the chhena balls. The balls will double in size once they get cooked so leave enough space for them to swell)

Cover the pot and cook the balls on high flame for four minutes. Switch off heat and allow the balls to sit in the liquid for five minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the cornflour to a few teaspoons of milk and ensure that there are no lumps.

Once the simmering milk has reduced to approximately 650 – 700 ml amount, add the cornflour mix to the milk and stir it well. Cook for half a minute and remove the milk from the heat.

Remove the chhena balls from the cooking liquid with a slotted spoon and add it to the reduced milk.

Allow the chhena to sit in the milk for 5 minutes (do stir it once in a while, while it is cooling) and then taste the payesh. Add sugar if required. (Since we do not like our desserts too sweet, I added one tablespoon of sugar)

The pudding will thicken as it cools. Do keep stirring it occasionally till it cools completely. Chill in the refrigerator before serving or serve at room temperature.

Serves – 4 – 6

Thanks for visiting. See you soon again with another exciting recipe!

 

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