Payesh is a quintessential Bengali sweet dish that is prepared in every Bengali household for any special occasion. Birthday is such an occasion where Payesh is mandatory in all typical Bengali household. Since, yesterday was my birthday, my mother prepared “Payesh” for me. Payesh is rice based sweet pudding with milk and nuts, sometimes with exotic ingredients like cardamom and saffron as well. But, the classic old Bengali recipe talks about a simple sweet tale of rice, milk, nuts and sugar combined to create a flavorful dessert that brings a smile on everyone’s face.
Here is a step by step recipe for my mom’s quintessential classic Bengali Payesh (Bengali Rice Pudding) which is similar to Kheer recipe-
Full Fat Milk (tastes better & creamy)/ Toned Milk(if you are on a diet) – 1 Liter
Gobindobhog rice (or any small starchy rice)- 40 grams
Bay Leaves – 2 nos
Sugar – 6 Tablespoons
Cashew nuts – 12 whole (to be broken into halves)
Raisins – 12 whole
Ghee- 5-6 drops
Salt- a slight pinch
Water- 5 Tablespoons
1. Heat 1 liter milk in a heavy bottom pan and reduce it to 800 ml while continuously stirring it so that the cream layer (malai) doesn’t form on the top. Switch off the flame and keep it aside so that the milk stays warm but not boiling. If using previously reduced milk, then warm up the milk before using it in the recipe.
2. Wash the rice and keep it aside.
3. Prepare all ingredients, break the cashews into halves, break the bay leaf into halves and keep all the ingredients handy.
4. Now, in a heavy bottom pan pour 5-6 drops of ghee and let it warm. Then, put cashews into the ghee and fry till it is slight golden in colour.
5. Take out the cashews from the pan and put rice into the pan in which you fried the cashews. Fry the rice in that ghee till the rice granules turn slightly white.
6. Now, put the halved bay leaves into the rice and pour 5 tablespoons of water into it. Let it boil.
7. As the water reduces and almost become dry, pour in the warm milk onto the rice and stir it every 2-3 minutes so that the cream top and lumps doesn’t form.
8. After 12 minutes, as the milk thickens, put the golden fried cashews, raisins and a slight pinch of salt into the milk and stir.
9. After 5 minutes as the milk thickens lightly, put 6 tablespoons of sugar into it and stir.
10. After 1 and a half minutes as the mixture thickens and becomes creamy, switch off the flame and pour the payesh in a bowl.
11. Your payesh is now ready, garnish and serve.
12. It tastes best when served cold, Enjoy!
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