Sweet meets savoury: Kheer Puri Special

This Ramazan, satiate your appetite with the perfect combination of piping hot puris and chilled kheer.

Sweet meets savoury: Kheer Puri Special

Kheer Puri is a fantastic fusion of sweet and savoury for your sehri and iftar menus. Chilled to perfection rice pudding when eaten with soft, flaky puri is a wholesome and delicious combination. I like to prepare a perfectly healthy version by using whole wheat flour, low glycemic, diabetic-friendly rice, canola oil for frying and a zero calorie sweetener. The secret to a thick and creamy kheer is the right proportion of rice and milk. Here’s a secret formula to making perfectly balanced kheer.

Ingredients for kheer (rice pudding)

2 cups basmati rice soaked overnight (low Glycemic Index rice for sugar free)

2 cups sugar (zero-calorie sweetener for sugar-free, according to taste)

10 cups milk

1 tsp cardamom powder

2 tsp kewra water (panadanas water)

2 cups golden raisins

2 cups boiled and finely sliced almonds

Cooking kheer

Over-boil rice until it is super, super soft and then strain the water. In a large cooking pot, add milk, sugar, cardamom powder and kewra water. Some folks like super-sweet kheer. They can add more sugar after a taste test coming up in the following instructions.

Stir on medium heat until the sugar dissolves and bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat and allow the milk to cool. For a sugar-free version, do not add any sweetener at this point and boil unsweetened milk.

Add rice, one cup at a time, into a food processor/blender. Follow by adding a cup-and-a-half of milk and blend to a uniform paste. Take a separate large cooking pot and pour out the paste in it. Continue to blend cup by cup of rice with milk following the same procedure and collect all the kheer paste in the cooking pot.

Add excess milk into the kheer paste, stir thoroughly and begin heating on medium flame. It is important to stir continuously to prevent the kheer from sticking to the base of the pot. Conduct a taste test here and for those with a super sweet tooth, you can add more sugar at this point. If cooking sugar-free, continue to cook the unsweetened kheer.

Add almonds and raisins and cook until the perfect kheer consistency is achieved. Some people like their kheer to be very thick (rabri) while others prefer super thin (firni).

Allow the kheer to cool down completely. Those cooking sugar-free can add sweetener at this point. From personal experience, it took 50 sachets of zero-calorie sweetener to sweeten the quantity of kheer. You can add more or less, according to taste.

Garnish with chopped almonds and raisins and set in the fridge to chill for a minimum of two to three hours.

Ingredients for puri

2 cups whole wheat flour (white whole wheat, preferably)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp canola (vegetable) oil

Water (as needed)

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chili powder

1 tsp black pepper powder

Frying puris

Mix dry ingredients together and add oil. Use a mixer and dough hook to knead into dough, adding water gradually. If dough becomes too wet, sprinkle more flour and continue kneading. Hand kneading will work too, but mixer saves time and avoids mess.

Immediately, make two-inch diameter round balls out of the dough and begin to roll them out into flatbreads. If you keep the bread thick (a couple of milimeter), the puri will fry soft. If you roll it paper thin, they will be crispy. For best results, roll and fry as soon as the dough has been kneaded.

Frying is super delicate. Slip the flatbread into the high-heated oil and use a metal spatula or tong to dip the centre of the puri in. Lift up the puri speedily and continue to dip alternative sides in and out of the oil. Do not let it fry itself because it gets overdone. Puri becomes golden when it’s done.

Have a great Kheer Puri!

Anum Ali is a US-based creative writer and home baker. She is the editor and staff writer for Muslim youth magazines and websites, and publishes her own food, travel, and photography blogs.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2014.

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