Rice Pudding (Payesh)

Submitted by:
Khondokar Humayun Kabir, Hamburg, Germany
Climate Change perception and adaptation at farming community

Image Source: Author

Ingredients

1 litre milk
1/4 cup scented/aromatic small grain rice
2 teaspoon ghee
1/2 cup sugar (but can increase or decrease according to your taste)
15 broken cashews
20 raisins
2-3 cardamom
1-2 bay leaves

1. Rice should be washed and soaked for 15-20 minutes in 2 cups of water. Then drain the water and mix the rice with ghee before setting it aside.

2. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk. This is a crucial step in the recipe. When the milk begins to bubble, add the bay leaves and cardamom. These two ingredients contribute to the unique flavor of this recipe. Then reduce the heat to medium-high and continue stirring. When the milk begins to reduce, reduce the heat to low and add the ghee-mixed rice, simmering until the milk and rice are reduced to almost half. Keep in mind that maintaining the heat is vital since overheating could cause the milk to overflow; conversely, heat is required to condense the milk and boil the rice. It will take 30-40 minutes to complete this phase. In between, keep stirring.

3. To your preference, you must now add a pinch of sugar. We prefer it to be a sweet food; therefore, we add adequate sugar to make it delicious. Cook for a few minutes more after adding the sugar. Finally, remove the pan from the heat and scatter the cashews and raisins on top. Serve hot or cold.

Background

This is a dish that my mother enjoys making for me. My mother always cooks it for me when I return home on vacation, especially when I leave my house for educational reasons. Even when I was preparing to return to university after a break, she always packed it for me.
I learnt to cook it informally from my mother. I enjoyed helping my mother in the kitchen as a teenager, and I was always curious about what she was preparing and how she did it. As a result, I've learnt a variety of recipes in addition to this one.
I'm not sure why the pudding is called like that, although it could be because this dish contains milk. According to Google, this comes from Sanskrit payasa or payasam, which means milk.
Payesh is a popular traditional Bangladeshi meal served as a dessert at any celebration. My mother always cooks it for us when we have a special occasion.

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