Are we just invested in the concept (the idea) of popular dishes or we seek discernment in authenticity and taste?
We all have our favourite food dishes, some we eat often, cook, and others we have heard about and look forward to eating soon. But there are many versions of the same, do we as ‘foodies’ care to discern?
Here is an attempt to decode Rice Kheer, to understand nuances that can help bring out the best in this dessert
Let us look at the elements and procedures that can make discernable difference…
Preferably use whole milk (full cream) as it takes care of the fat content required and you don’t need to add khoya (milk solids), condensed milk or ghee to it.
“One of the key things in cooking, lesser or just requisite ingredients ensure core flavours get a chance to shine through.”
Use basmati, preferably old rice. The rice after cooking will be soft and because it is old, the texture will not be mushy; just proper.
The supporting ingredients
There are some non-core ingredients that elevate the dish and then there are those without which the dish is incomplete! In rice kheer, saffron, blanched almond & pistachio and green cardamom powder play the role of indispensable ingredients. They are essential to making the kheer what it is.
Blanching almond and pistachio
This extra effort is totally worth it, as it softens the nuts just enough that they still have a bite. It goes very well with the creaminess of the milk in the kheer and the softness of the rice. This process ensures that the skin, especially of the almond does not come in the way of enjoying the taste of the kheer.
The element of heat
In any type of cooking, it becomes critically important to know when the applied heat should be low, medium or high. It has a very definitive impact on the dish as a whole and taste in particular. For example, in case of this dish if cooked totally on high flame, the rice will not cook well and the milk would be reduced in quantity drastically. Thus impacting the dish in more ways than one.
When to add sugar and cardamom powder
Sugar if cooked too much will adversely affect the texture of the rice and green cardamom powder too if cooked too much will lose its main attribute – aroma. Thus the timing of adding the ingredients and cooking becomes very vital, sometimes more than we realise!
“At times when people talk about commonly cooked food items, they tend to ignore the finer details and the process is brushed aside as ‘simple’! Well, cooking them can be simple but devoid of finesse they are not!”
Keeping the above thought in mind, this was our detailed enumeration of essential things that go into making a tasty Rice kheer.