Chaler Payesh | Bengali Rice Kheer

Now that Ganeshotsav is over, it is time to look forward to Navratri and Durga Puja. I have been thinking of a range of dishes to make to celebrate these festivals and I kick-off the series with the recipe for a traditional Bengali favourite called Chaler Payesh.

Bengali Chaler Payesh | Rice Kheer
Bengali Chaler Payesh | Rice Kheer

It is a delectable Bengali Rice Kheer and I find that there is nothing better than a cup of chilled kheer to round-off a festive meal. I found that this recipe is pretty much the same as the South Indian Pal Payasam or the Andhra Paramannam. It is the rice we use (traditionally Gobindobhog or basmati as a substitute) and the bay leaf that makes it a touch different.

I was not able to buy Gobindobhog rice is small quantities and so used basmati to make this Payesh.

Making the Chaler Payesh once again reminded me of how similar festive dishes and comfort foods are across the length and breadth of India.

This Durga Puja, do try my recipes for Niramish Bhoger Khichuri, Baigun Bhaja, Chanar Payesh, Jhinge Posto, Khejur Tomato Aamshottor Chutney, Shukhto, and more. 🙂

How to Make Chaler Payesh | Bengali Rice Kheer

Bengali Chaler Payesh | A Rice Kheer cooked in Bengal
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Chaler Payesh | Bengali Rice Kheer
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
2 hr 15 mins
 

This recipe of Chaler Payesh | Bengali Rice Kheer is very reminiscent of the South Indian Pal Payasam. However, the flavour profile is a tad bit different because of the bay leaf.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Bengali, Indian
Servings: 6 People
Author: Aruna
Ingredients
  • 1.25 Litre Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Gobindobhog or Basmati Rice
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 6 Green Cardamom
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 tsp Ghee
  • 3 tbsp Chopped Dry Fruits (I used Cashews, Almonds, Pistachios)
Instructions
Preparing the Rice
  1. Wash and soak the rice in 1 cup water for 10 minutes.

  2. Drain the water and leave the rice in a colander so that all the water drains. 

  3. When the water has drained from the rice, add the ghee to the rice grains and mix well till all the grains are coated well.

Making the Chaler Payesh | Bengali Rice Kheer
  1. Using a pestle, crush the cardamom pods till they just split open a bit. Set aside.

  2. In a heavy bottomed vessel, over medium flame, bring the milk to a boil.

  3. When the milk starts boiling, add the bay leaves and cardamom.

  4. Cook till the milk reduces by 1/4 (becomes 3/4 of original quantity). Stir continuously so that the milk does not burn.

  5. Add the rice and cook till the rice is just done.

  6. Add the sugar and cook for about 5 minutes.

  7. Turn off the heat.

  8. Add the dry fruits and mix well.

  9. Remove the bay leaves and discard.

  10. Let the Chaler Payesh cool to room temperature and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

  11. Serve Chaler Payesh chilled!

 

Bengali Rice Kheer
Bengali Rice Kheer

Step-by-Step Method to Make Chaler Payesh | Bengali Rice Kheer

  1. Getting Started
    1. The first step is to get the rice ready. Wash the rice well under running water and then soak it in 1 cup water for about 10 minutes.
    2. After the rice has soaked a bit, drain all the water from it using a colander.
    3. Leave the rice in the colander so that all the water drains.
    4. Next add the ghee to the rice and mix well. This helps the grains remain separate when cooking. However, this is an optional step.

    5. In this Payesh, we use whole green cardamom. To ensure that the flavour is released, crush the cardamom pods a bit till they just split open. Set aside.
  2. Making the Chaler Payesh
    1. Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed vessel and over medium flame, bring the milk to a boil. Use a heavy-bottomed vessel, otherwise the milk will burn.
    2. Wait till the milk starts boiling, and then add the bay leaves and cardamom.
    3. Now is the time for patience. Continue to boil the milk till the volume reduces by 1/4, that is you have about 3/4 of the quantity you started with.
    4. As the milk reduces, stir continuously so that the milk does not burn.
    5. When the milk has reduced sufficiently, add the rice.
    6. Once again over medium flame, cook till the rice is just done.
    7. Stir continuously so that the rice does not stick to the bottom and burn. Be careful and ensure that the rice does not become mushy.
    8. Now as the final step the sugar and mix well.
    9. Cook till the sugar dissolves.
    10. Now turn off the heat.
    11. Add the dry fruits and mix well.
    12. Remove the bay leaves from the Chaler Payesh and discard them.
    13. Let the Chaler Payesh cool to room temperature.
    14. Refrigerate this delectable Bengali Rice Kheer for a couple of hours.
  3. Serve Chaler Payesh chilled!
Bengali Rice Kheer | Chaler Payesh
Bengali Rice Kheer | Chaler Payesh

Shukto | Bengali Style Mixed Vegetables for Durga Puja

With Durga Puja festivities in the air, Bengali food is on my mind. Today I present Shukto, which is a whole load of vegetables cooked in a mustard and poppy seed paste and milk. The result is a very different tasting vegetable that tastes phenomenal with hot rice and ghee. My colleagues at work polished it off and asked for the recipe immediately. 🙂

What I loved about Shukto was that it used loads and loads of vegetables, just like Avial from Tamil Nadu or Pindi Miriyam from Andhra Pradesh. Also, it is very lightly spiced with just some ginger and Panch Phoran, yet rich because of the Mustard and Poppy Seed paste and milk that is used in cooking.

Here is a Collection of Recipes for Durga Puja that you may want to try!

Shukto | Bengali Recipe for Durga Puja
Shukto | Bengali Recipe for Durga Puja

How to Make Shukto

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

Soaking Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Radish – 75 gms
  2. Thin Long Purple Brinjals – 75 gms
  3. Bitter Gourd, Karela – 75 gms
  4. Raw Banana – 75 gms
  5. Potato – 75 gms
  6. Sweet Potato – 75 gms
  7. Beans – 75 gms
  8. Drumstick – 75 gms
  9. Mung Dal Vadi, Bori – 10 to 15
  10. Milk – 1 Cup
  11. Panch Phoran – 1 tbsp
  12. Mustard Seeds – 1 tbsp
  13. Poppy Seeds – 2 tbsp
  14. Grated Ginger – 1 tsp
  15. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  16. Mustard Oil – 4 to 6 tbsp
  17. Ghee – 1 tbsp
  18. Sugar – 1 tsp
  19. Salt to Taste
  20. Water

Making the Paste

  1. Soak the mustard and poppy seeds together in 1/2 cup warm water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Grind into a smooth paste along with the turmeric.
  3. Set aside.

Preparing the Vegetables

  1. Peel the radish, sweet potato, banana, and potato.
  2. Cut them into 2″ long wedges about 1/4″ thick.
  3. Cut the karela, beans, drumstick, and brinjals into similar 2″ long pieces.
  4. Cut the drumstick into 2″ long pieces.

Frying the Vegetables and Bori

  1. Heat the mustard oil to smoking point and turn white.
  2. Lower the heat and wait for the oil to cool a bit.
  3. Keep the heat to medium.
  4. Fry the moong dal vadi/bori.
  5. Set aside.
  6. Except drumstick, fry each of vegetables one at a time, till they start browning at the edges. Fry the karela at the very end.
  7. Set aside.

Making the Shukto

  1. Over a low to medium flame, heat the ghee.
  2. Add the Panch Phoran.
  3. Stir-fry till aromatic.
  4. Add the grated ginger and fry for a few seconds.
  5. Add the mustard-poppy seed paste.
  6. Stir-fry till the raw smell disappears.
  7. Ensure that the flame is low-medium.
  8. Add milk and bring to a gentle simmer.
  9. Add all vegetables into drumsticks.
  10. Add about 1/2 cup water.
  11. Cover and cook till the vegetables are cooked and the gravy thickens. Add more milk or water, if required.
  12. Turn off the heat.
  13. Add sugar and salt.
  14. Stir well.
  15. Just before serving add the bori and mix well.
  16. Serve the Shukto warm with steamed rice and ghee.

Tips

  • I pan-fried the vegetables on a non-stick using as little oil as possible.
  • Bengalis use Radhuni in the tempering and recommend Panch Phoran as a substitute. Since I did not have Radhuni, I used Panch Phoran.
  • Use mustard oil if possible as it adds a certain Je Ne Sais Quoi to the Shukto.

Shukto from Bengal for Durga Puja

Durga Puja Recipes

I love Navratri in general. It is a time when Mumbai is all aglow with colour, and there is song, and dance in the air. Towards the end of the Navratri period comes this festival of Durga Puja, that is very special to Bengalis and others in East India. This is a collection of  Durga Puja Recipes to celebrate this holy festival.

Bengalis do everything with passion. This reflects in everything they do at Durga Puja; be it the Pujo and Anjali; the way they dress up; and in the food that is served. Food at Durga Puja is simply divine of course, because it is blessed and is Prasad.  It also reflects the richness and the generosity of the Bengali spirit. Each dish is laden with goodness, whether it is the simple Khichuri or the delectable Rosogulla.

I have just a few recipes and hope to grow this collection of Durga Puja Recipes as time goes by.

 Bhoger Khichuri | Niramish Khichuri

Bhoger Khichuri or Bengali Khichuri or Niramish Khichuri with Baigun Bhaja

Begun Bhaja | Bengali Style Pan-Fried Brinjal

Baigun Bhaja or Bengali Pan-Fried Aubergine

 Mishti Doi

Mishti Doi - Caramel Flavoured Sweetened Yogurt - Bengali Speciality

 Bhapa Doi

Bhapa Doi - Sweet Steamed Yogurt from Bengal

Alu Phool Kopir Dalna

Alu Phool Kopir Dalna or Bengali Cauliflower and Potato Curry

 Bandhakopir Torkari

Bandhakopir Torkari or Bengali Cabbage, Peas, and Potato Curry

 Jhinge Posto

Jhinge Posto or Ridge Gourd in Poppy Seed Paste - Bengali Recipe - 2

Patishapta

Patishapta - Ready to Eat

 Tomato Khejur Aamshottor Chutney

Bengali Tomato Khejur Aamshottor Chutney | Bengali Style Tomato, Date, and Mango Leather Chutney

 

 

Bengali Tomato Khejur Aamshottor Chutney | Tomato, Date, Mango Leather Chutney

When I first read about the Bengali Tomato Khejur Aamshottor Chutney, I wanted to try it that instant. Much water has flown under the bridge and I finally got round to making this delectable Bengali Style Tomato, Date, Mango Leather Chutney this past week.

Bengali Style Tomato, Date, Mango Leather Chutney
Bengali Style Tomato, Date, Mango Leather Chutney

I also think the timing is perfect because Durga Puja is just around the corner.

As I read the recipe for this chutney I tried to imagine its taste. While I realised that it would be sweet, I was not quite prepared for the tangy-sweet chutney with achari undertones because of the Panch Phoran. Absolutely delightful. I would also recommend that you savour this delicious Bengali Tomato Khejur Aamshottor Chutney a day after it is made so that all the flavours are well-infused.

The Bengali Tomato, Date, Mango Leather Chutney is such delight to the palate and I can only wonder at why I waited this long to try it.

So without much further ado, here is the recipe!

Do also try my other Durga Puja recipes including Bengali Bhoger Khichuri | Niramish Khichuri, Baigun Bhaja, Jhinge Posto, Chanar Payesh, Shukhto, and Chaler Payesh.

How to Make Bengali Tomato Khejur Aamshottor Chutney | Tomato, Date, Mango Leather Chutney

  1. Finely Chopped Tomatoes – 1.25 Cups
  2. Finely Chopped Mango Leather (Aam Shotto, Aam Papdi) – 1/4 Cup
  3. Thinly Slices Dates/Khejur – 1/4 Cup
  4. Golden Raisins – 1/8 Cup
  5. Grated Palm Sugar or Sugar – 1/3 Cup (more if you want you chutney to be sweet)
  6. Panch Phoran – 1.25 tsp
    1. Saunf, Fennel Seeds – 0.25 tsp
    2. Jeera, Cumin – 0.25 tsp
    3. Methi Dana, Fenugreek Seeds – 0.25 tsp
    4. Kalonji, Nigella Seeds – 0.25 tsp
    5. Rai, Mustard Seeds – 0.25 tsp
  7. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  8. Red Chillies – 1 or 2
  9. Oil – 1 tbsp
  10. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Over medium flame, heat the oil.
  2. Add the panch phoran.
  3. Stir-fry for a few seconds till the aromas of panch phoran are released.
  4. Add split red chillies and stir-fry for a couple of seconds.
  5. Add the tomatoes.
  6. Stir-fry till stewed.
  7. Add the chopped dates, aam shotto, raisins, and turmeric.
  8. Add about 1/4 cup water.
  9. Over medium flame, cook covered till the dates and raisins are cooked. Stir occasionally.
  10. Add sugar and salt.
  11. Mix well.
  12. Cook on low flame till the sugar has melted.
  13. Turn off the heat.
  14. Enjoy Bengali Tomato Khejur Aamshottor Chutney by itself or with rotis (as I did).

Tips

  • You can also make this chutney without the Aamshotto or Mango Leather. In this case, you may want to increase the amount of dates a bit.
  • As I said earlier, this chutney tastes better the next day. 🙂
  • There are variations of this recipe that used powdered Panch Phoran as the final step (instead of whole Panch Phoran as tempering). Do try it that way as well.
Bengali Tomato Khejur Aamshottor Chutney
Bengali Tomato Khejur Aamshottor Chutney

 

Mishti Doi – Durga Puja Special Recipe

Mishti Doi - Caramel Flavoured Sweetened Yogurt - Bengali Speciality

Mishti Doi is one of my favourite Bengali desserts. Yes, I love the Payesh, Rosogulla, Kancha Gola, and more, but there is something about the caramel-flavoured Mishti Doi that I cannot resist.

One of the best places to find great Mishti Doi is at Durga Puja. It is one of my favourite festivals and I make it to Anjali at least once during the festivities; and of course, the Bhog. I absolutely love the Bhoger Khichuri or Niramish Khichuri and Begun Bhaja combination that is often served at the Bhog. Now that I have mastered these dishes I make them often at home on non-Pujo occasions as well. 🙂 I try to round-off the Bhog with Mishti Doi, which I made at home from scratch yesterday.

It turned out to be quite simple and very delicious. I wonder why I did not try it sooner. Mishti Doi is nothing but sweetened yogurt made with reduced milk to which caramelized sugar is added. The result is a wonderful dessert that I could eat all day long.

You can also try Bhapa Doi (Steamed Yogurt).

How to Make Mishti Doi

Serves: 4

Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Full-fat Milk – 1 litre
  2. Sugar – 1/2 Cup +1/4 Cup
  3. Yogurt – 2 tbsp

Method to Make Mishti Doi

  1. Set aside 1/4 cup sugar.
  2. Boil the milk till it reduces by one-third. Stir continuously to ensure it does not burn.
  3. Add 1/2 Cup sugar and simmer till the milk reduces to about 1/2 litre. Stir continuously to ensure it does not burn.
  4. Turn off the heat. Ensure that the milk remains hot.
  5. Caramalize the 1/4 cup sugar by heating it with about 2 tsp water.
  6. When the sugar turns brown, add it to the hot milk.
  7. Stir-well to ensure that the milk and caramel are assimilated and you have a dusky pink colour.
  8. Let the milk cool a bit till it is just above lukewarm.
  9. Beat the yogurt well and add to the warm milk.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Set aside for 4 to 6 hours to set.
  12. Enjoy chilled!
Mishti Doi - Bengali Durga Pujo Special Recipe
Mishti Doi – Bengali Durga Pujo Special Recipe