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Poha Kheer

October 11, 2016

(brown) POHA KHEER (AVAL PAYASAM IN TAMIL) (A DESSERT OF BROWN FLATTENED RICE FLAKES IN MILK AND MOLTEN JAGGERY)

After months and perhaps an year I am returning to my favourite writing: that of recipes 🙂 This is what I originally started blogging for. In the meantime got distracted and became a paper tiger hahaha. If we cannot take them on directly let us kill them on print !!! Other than that I am a humble homemaker : come home any day for a hearty meal. We never send anyone back without food.

Anyway today is Vijayadashami, the 10th day Dusshera after Saradha Navarathri. Although every calendar year covers 3 navrathris, it is the one celebrated in Sep-Oct that is most popular even if others are no less significant.

As a woman, as a mother and wife and a homemaker, I take enormous pride in observing Navrathri in my home. In our family we don’t have the custom of exhibiting ‘golu.’ Still the puja is important and this is when I start reciting ‘Lalitha Sahasranama’ for 1 mandal (48 days) at a stretch. Unable to observe it in last 2-3 years. Hopefully with Devi’s blessings I wish I can this year, let’s see.

Poha Kheer is a dessert made with Poha (aval in tamil), the flattened rice flakes. Normally we make this dish for Janmashtami (Lord Krishna’s birthday). But instead of ‘moong dal kheer’ I decided to make Poha Kheer for a change this year for Saraswathi Puja (9th day) (Durga puja in some states) for ‘Prasad’ (neivedhyam).

Invited limited friends last evening for ‘haldi kumkum’ and though I could not serve them full meal, offered them Poha Kheer, Poha upma, vada and sundal I made for the occasion. The greatest blessings came from these ladies when they looked radiant in happiness and contentment,  in each of whom I saw Ma Durga. They are all mothers, one is childless.  They make their homes tick. When the basics are fine, we need not have to worry about the net result. I recall having this chat with a European lady in a speech club. I resented the fact that I had less topics to talk about compared to working women. She said, ‘Don’t sulk. I know of the enormous sacrifice of you Indian women. Isn’t it why we have Indians for Google and Microsoft CEO? You have a lot more to share from your experiences. Speak about your home, your family and whatever touches your life. You are no way less important because you create men and women of the future.’ That truly bolstered my spirit. I also have to say, not all working women are as bright as some of us housewives ! The lady made the observation too on a later date ! Kudos to women power.

The take-home gift was earthern ‘diya’ imported from India and sold in some shops here. As Diwali is around the corner, I thought it best to give these ‘sumanglis’ the diyas as gifts. Wrong to use the word ‘sumangli’ here. One of my best school-friends was widowed this year. I shall never leave her out of any ‘thamboolam’ in future. Whether you are a spinster or divorcee or widow or lesbian or sumangli with or without biological children, you are – a woman to me and that is how I shall treat you. Nothing more, nothing less. Essentially feminine. Navrathri is afterall celebration of Womanhood.

A very satisfying Navrathri 2016. Spiritually, emotionally.

Giving below the method for making ‘Poha Kheer’ – which is very simple.

I used the brown poha which is flattened brown/red rice flakes for the first time.

INGREDIENTS : 

Brown Poha (hindi) / Aval (tamil) / Flattened Brown (or red) Rice flakes – 1 to 2 cup(s)

Milk – 2 to 3 cups

Jaggery (gur) – 200 to 250 gms (depending on the intensity of your sweet tooth 🙂 )

Ghee (clarified butter) – 1 tbsp

Water (optional)

For garnishing: 1 tbsp on broken cashew nuts and raisins and 1/2 tsp of cardamom powder

METHOD :

  • Take jaggery in a thick bottomed pan with water and heat it until it melts down completely. In tamil, we may say we can wait upto ‘paagu padham’ i.e., when the molten jaggery if ladled will pour down like a taut wire in a single straight line. Or perhaps in English we may say it is nearing caramel consistency. Keep the jaggery water boiling on low flame.
  • In the meantime rinse the brown poha or brown aval or brown/red flattened rice flakes in a strainer, taking care to ensure that the poha does not soak too much water. No standing water in poha strictly. Therefore better to leave it in the strainer.
  • In a thick bottomed pan, pour a tbsp of ghee and melt it.  Roast first the broken cashew nuts to golden brown and then add the raisins.
  • Add milk 2-3 cups in the same pan and bring it to boil. You may add some water if you like a thinner kheer.
  • Reduce the flame and add the rinsed poha to the milk and keep stirring for a few more minutes.
  • Poha cooks very fast. In fact you may add directly hot milk to poha and let it cook in a minute.
  • In this recipe I am adding poha to the milk and let it cook on low flame for under 5 minutes.
  • You may let the milk with poha simmer for more time depending on the consistence you desire.
  • Transfer the molten jaggery now, slowly adding it to the milk with poha.
  • Do not let the milk boil over for long after adding jaggery water as otherwise milk may curdle.
  • Garnish with powdered cardamom, stir well and switch off the flame.
  • The Poha Kheer is ready to serve.
  • This portion easily serves upto 6 bowls/people.
  • Serve chilled
  • Most preferred prasad (neivedhyam) for Hindu Gods
  • Normally Poha Kheer is made with sugar. I have used jaggery instead.
  • Similarly the standard poha is white whereas I have used brown poha from brown/red rice from Kerala.
  • Very delicious Kheer.

 

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