What's a festive Indian meal without payasam or kheer? Recipes for this quintessential Indian dessert are many and differ from one family to another. Where some use vermicelli and sago, others prefer rice, wheat or pulses. Studded with nuts and dry fruits, flecked with strands of saffron or perfumed with rose water, everyone has their own favourite version of kheer.
My version, which is a one-pot dish, uses foxtail millet or thinai and is mildly sweetened with jaggery. The coconut milk gives it a rich, creamy consistency and a lovely aroma.
What you'll need
- 1/4 cup foxtail millet (thinai, navane, koralu, kangni)
- 1/4 cup powdered jaggery
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/8 tsp cardamom powder
- 1/2 tsp ghee
- 1 tbsp roasted dry fruits
Wash and soak the millet for an hour. In a pressure cooker, layer, from bottom up, ghee and a teaspoon of water, the soaked, drained millet, 1/8 cup of water and 1/2 cup of milk. In a small steel tumbler, add jaggery powder, cardamom powder and 3 tablespoons of water. Keep this on the millet milk mixture. Close the cooker and cook for 15 minutes on lowest heat. You may get a single whistle or no whistle. Ignore that. Switch off and let the pressure settle. Open and mash the cooked millet slightly. Transfer the jaggery syrup to the millet mixture in the cooker.
Add in the coconut milk and give it a good stir. Close the lid and let it all blend well in the retained heat. Open after 10 minutes and serve hot or cold.
Image © Vijaya Venkatesh/ The Millet Table
When diabetes struck her, Vijaya was forced to change her diet and slowly replace white rice with millets. Today, she adapts dishes using a variety of millets and shares her recipes on her blog, The Millet Table.