Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sweet Dish – Chaler Payesh/Rice Kheer/Rice Pudding

Payesh has a special place in our house. Whoever has tasted it cooked by me has always come back with their request…for another payesh treat. Payesh is very special in our house on birthdays. Even on my birthday I cook payesh…why not…I’m the cook of my home.

At home everyone has a sweet tooth and love to have a sweet dish after dinner…payesh is mostly ready in hand…cooked and placed in the refrigerator…eaten whenever the taste buds yearn for it.

I remember there was the time when the milkman came with his milk can, knocking at the door to deliver his daily milk supply for the home. Now milk is available in packets or at the milk booths. The milk that came with the milkman was full of cream. The layer of cream (known as Shaar in Bengali) that spread on the top after the milk was boiled and cooled down was gently removed and collected in a bowl. This creamy layer was collected for about a week. Later the cream was placed in a kadhai and the slow fire did the magic…the aroma of ghee would spread all across the house…moving out from the kitchen to each and every place that gave it a space to enter. In this slow cooking the ghee was released from the cream in the kadhai and collected in a glass bottle. As for the Shaar, it got cooked and took a brown colour later to be relished with a spread of sugar. Many people like Shaar Bhaja…that’s a Bengali treat.

Home-made ghee…can’t think about it now.

Well I’m sharing with you my Chaler Payesh preparation.

For this we need:

Milk - 1 litre

Basmati Rice - just a fistful

Sugar - as per your sweet tooth

Bay leaves - 4

Elaich (cardamom) - 4 pods coarsely crushed

Salt - just a small pinch

How I make:

Soak the rice in water for half or quarter of an hour.

Boil the milk. When the first boil comes add the rice and keep stirring. After having cooked for sometime when the milk starts reducing add the bay leaves. Keep stirring to avoid the rice from sticking to the bottom. Keep on stirring till the rice is cooked. Now add sugar as per your taste and cook for sometime. Add the salt (balances the taste) and keep stirring till the milk takes a pinkish tinge. By now the milk has been reduced to less than half…will look somewhat like rabadi…very creamy. Add the elaich powder after removing from fire.

Serve hot or cold. You can smack your lips after tasting a serving of hot payesh…be careful not to burn your mouth.

Elderly people prefer a thinner payesh…can use little more rice and don’t reduce the milk too much.


  1. Thats very nice and given in details. Going to make the Paes for our Laxmi puja on kali puja day

  2. Ushnish,
    Nice to read your comment. As such in our family we celebrate Kojagori Lakshmi puja. Day before Kali puja we celebrate it as Bhoot Chaturdasi...burn 14 lamps at the fall of dusk to keep away evil spirits. And no special Lakshmi puja on Kali puja day.
    I know, as a bengali, you will enjoy your your payesh.
    Enjoy your Diwali with all the sparkle of the lights and the sounds of crackers.


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