Sunday, 13 October 2019
Paramanna / Payesh / Bengali Rice Pudding
Paramanna / Payesh is a Bengali Style Rice Pudding which is definitely cooked to mark any auspicious occasion, festivities, birthdays etc. Apart from the first grain that ever touched my tongue was from a bowl of Payesh on my Mukhe Bhaat first rice eating ceremony my memories of Payesh being cooked is mainly vivid during Kojagori Lokhi Puja.
When the moon is in it's fullest elements, wraps the earth in it's pristine soothing embrace, illuminating the darkest corner's of the terrestrial sphere, that is the time when Maa most definitely cooks this pearly white tinted dessert. She spoons a ladle full into an ornately handcrafted silver bowl and narrates to methane the moon beams emanate elixir on this night. So she will place this bowl of Paramanna on the terrace where the moon beams will shower the dessert with panacea and invigorating properties. When partaken the next day the necromantic dessert will inject all it's goodness into your being.
Apart from this traditional ritual, on Kojagori Purnima Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped. Ma's elaborate alpona (artistic motif using rice paste) adorns the area where the Pujo will be performed. The footprints of the Goddess is made with rice paste by Mac from the entrance of the home to all rooms, symbolising the advent of the Goddess into our abode. Prasad or oblation is an elaborate affair comprising of Khichuri, Labra, 5 types of vegetables, cut and deep fried, potato cauliflower curry, semolina halwa, luchi, Payesh, chatney, coconut jaggery truffles, coconut sandesh, cut fruits etc.
There is a brass plate on which the prettiest lotus flowers have been kept, which later on will be opened up to reveal their beauty to the fullest. Maa decks up in her finery and recites the lines from the prayer book. After invoking the blessings of the deity, offering her Prasad, it is time to devour the deific ambrosia.
Today is Kojagori Lokhi Pujo and Maa made sure that at least I made the Payesh just like the one which the grand old ladies of my family have been making over the years. I had to literally show her the live proceedings of my cooking Paramanna through Botim(Video and Voice call App) so that she could ascertain, sitting 1934 km away in Mumbai, India(I am in Dubai, UAE) that it was worthy enough to be offered to Deity.
Author ~ Piyali Sekhar Mutha
Serves ~ 6
Cuisine ~ Indian, Bengali
Type ~ Sweet Dish, Dessert, Pudding
Time ~ 30 mins. Preparation + 45 mins. Cooking
*2 Ltr. Full Cream Milk
*1/2 Cup (100 ~ 120 Gms. approximately) Rice, Govindo Bhog Rice(Fragrant rice grown in West Bengal, available in Indian stores), alternately use any small grain fragrant rice
*3/4 ~ 1 Cup (170 gms ~ 225 gms. approximately) Sugar, depending on taste
*1/2 Cup (100 Gms approximately) Khoya / Khoa, Milk Solids(homemade or bought from an Indian sweet shop)
*2 Bay Leaves
*1 Tbsp. Ghee / Clarified Butter
* 10 Green Cardamoms, ground using mortar and pestle, don't discard their pods
1/ 3 rd Cup (50gms. approximately) Cashewnuts
Let's Make Paramanna / Payesh / Bengali Rice Pudding In Easy Steps ~
Step ~ 1
* In a bowl take the rice, wash it throughly and leave it soaking covered with water for 30 minutes.
* Take a large pan. Pour clarified butter and then add the bay leaves.
Note ~ Clarified butter helps each grain of rice to remain distinct and stops the rice grains from sticking to each other.
* Pour the milk. Keep stirring the milk intermittently.
* Bring the milk to a rolling boil.
Step ~ 2
* Drain the water from the rice by passing it through a perforated colander. Add the rice slowly to the milk.
* Keep stirring from time to time till the rice cooks completely. The rice should be really soft. Do not simmer while cooking. Cook on high flame.
* Now add sugar. Mix well. Cook for 2 minutes till sugar dissolves.
* Time to add the Khoya. Crumble the Khoya / Milk solid before adding.
* Add cardamom powder along with it's pods.
* Finally add cashew nuts. Cook for 2 ~ 3 Minutes. Your Payesh should neither be running or very thick. However the consistency of the Payesh depends on your liking. In my home the consistency of the Payesh is semi thick. Please refer to the pictures below.