Kheer - The Great Dessert of India

Indian cuisine has earned the deserved reputation of spicy. However, a few days of travel will show you that the range of flavors served at Indian tables is far from being able to describe with a word. The sweets, based on syrup and dairy, are as exciting as they are intense, and although they are not used to serving as a dessert in restaurants, they are the perfect culmination to cleanse the palate of memories of chile.

The Kheer is one of the most popular desserts in India. From the northern peaks of the Himalayas to the coastal regions along the Indian Ocean, everyone enjoys it. The importance of this great Indian pudding is based on the fact that it is appetizing for the palate of different cultures. There is more than one way to prepare Kheer dessert. Cultures throughout India and even worldwide prepare the Kheer according to their respective tastes. The variety is surprising. The Kheer is not only prepared in the traditional way of northern India.

There are cultures that prepare apple and banana Kheer even with a slightly bitter version of the pumpkin (in the city of Hyderabad, a version known as Gil-e-Firdaus). The varieties of Indian dessert do not stop only in India. Neighboring China also has its own version, where the preparation includes fruits and honey and are distributed in layers. Rice with a layer of gelatin is added to this version.

Surprising the Kheer has a non-vegetarian variant. The two Kheer recipes that contain meat are Potega and Blancmange. In fact some say that initially the Kheer was a meat dish but evolved through the centuries as we know it today. The origin of Kheer remains largely unknown. Although mentions are found in a lot of ancient books of Ayurveda (it is also used for medicinal purposes especially as a coolant and for detoxification) and in the ancient poem Hindi - Padmavat, its origin remains debatable.

Popular opinion however falls in favor of the Indian subcontinent because the word Kheer is derived from a Sanskrit word - Ksheera which means milk. The Kheer has a very deep religious association in India. It is to date used as an offering in most Bids and Hawans. The invocation to the gods is considered incomplete without him. In spiritual Dhams like Jagannath Puri, Orissa the Prasad is known as the Kheer Prasad.

In the deep south of India, it is known as Payasam and is diluted more than its counterpart in North India. In the famous temple of Ambalapuzha, payasam serves as prasadam to all devotees. In contemporary times, we also have what is known as Kheer Pasta, Kheer Oats, and even Cucumber Kheer. This is indicative of the evolutionary stages that the great Indian pudding has to go through.


Erika said...

I think I should like it. Wish you a nice weekend.
Bye bye from Italy

What's Baking?? said...

Very creamy and I like the orange color. Yumz

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