When I learnt, recently, about Orange Kheer, I knew I had the dish that I wanted to make for the Alphabet Cooking Challenge, for the letter O. Oranges and kheer – does that sound like a weird combination? It did to me, initially, but when I had read up a whole lot about it, it didn’t sound so weird after all.
Apparently, Orange Kheer is a Bengali specialty, made during the winters, when orange season has set in, and they are available in plenty in the markets, sweet and juicy. Now, sweet fruit and milk – that isn’t a weird combination at all, right? 🙂
Oranges are called Komola Lebu in Bengali, and hence, this sweet dish is popularly known as Komola Lebur Kheer. It is traditionally made the same way we make rice kheer or poha kheer, by cooking milk constantly over a low flame, reducing it to more than half ot its original quantity. Newer versions, though, are quicker and easier – they include the addition of cream or condensed milk to thicken the milk faster and add greater taste.
I made the kheer last week, the traditional, long-winded way, and all of us at home loved it to bits. It turned out just beautiful, a lovely way to use those glorious, juicy oranges when they are in season.
Here is how I made the kheer. I followed this recipe, mostly.
Ingredients (makes 2-3 servings):
- 500 ml full-fat milk (I used Nandini)
- 3 medium-sized ripe, sweet, juicy oranges (I used Kamala oranges, aka ‘Loose Jacket’ oranges, available in plenty this time of the year in Bangalore)
- 2 generous pinches of cardamom (elaichi) powder
- 6 tablespoons of sugar, or to taste
- Roasted almonds (unsalted), to garnish – slivered
1. Take the milk in a large heavy-bottomed pan, and place it on a high flame. Let it come to a rolling boil, and then reduce the flame to low.
2. Cook the milk on a low flame till it reduces to less than half of its original quantity and acquires a nice, creamish colour. Stir intermittently, to ensure that the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
3. While the milk is cooking, get the oranges ready. Peel all 3 oranges and separate the segments. Remove all the white fragments and seeds from the segments, and separate the flesh into small portions, using your hands. Keep aside.
4. When the milk has reduced, add the sugar and cardamom powder. Mix well, and cook for 3-4 minutes more. Switch off the gas.
5. Let the kheer cool down completely and come to room temperature, and only then add the orange flesh to it. Mix well.
6. Leave the kheer, covered, to rest for at least 3-4 hours before serving. This allows the orange flesh to infuse the milk with its beautiful flavour and fragrance. You can either keep the kheer in a cool place in your kitchen or let it chill in the refrigerator till you are ready to serve it. This kheer tastes best when made in the night, allowed to rest overnight and then served the next morning. Garnish the kheer with the slivers of roasted almonds.
You like? I hope you will try this out, too!
This is an entry for the Alphabet Cooking Challenge, for the letter O.