Vanilla Bean and Gurer Payesh (Rice Pudding)


Over New Years, K and I went to Seattle to stay with his family. His mom (who makes unbelievable mouth watering Bengali dishes) gave me short grain rice and gur from India to make payesh. She said to make it for a special occasion. I decided to make it for my day off, and I called and got her approval—that was indeed a special occasion! :) The recipe she gave me was very, "a little bit of this, a handful of that", just the way she cooks. I tried my best to follow her recipe exactly (we even have the same size hands) but I didn't use half and half and I added vanilla bean. I love vanilla beans and I can't imagine a creamy dessert without them.


What I love about this dish is the addition of gur mentioned above. I was so lucky that she gave me a huge mold of gur to use. Gur is a natural sweetener that contains high levels of iron, potassium and magnesium. It is made from the sap of palm trees and is boiled down for hours. The concentrated liquid is pored into molds to dry. To use, you take a knife, tap it with a hammer, and you get pieces of gur to sweeten your dishes. Gur stores very well, about 3-4 months in the refrigerator, and can also be used to sweeten curry sauces, chutneys and to prepare other sweets. I hope you enjoy it as much as K and I enjoyed my first attempt at payesh!

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 cups whole organic milk
  • 1/3 cup short grain rice
  • 1/3 cup gur (or other sweetener such as rapadura, sucanat, etc.)
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • optional shelled and chopped pistachios
DIRECTIONS

Wash the rice and set aside. Slice open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Combine the milk, vanilla seeds, vanilla pod, cardamom and bay leaves in a heavy bottom saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring all the time, until milk has reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the washed rice to the pot. Cook the rice, about 25 minutes, and keep stirring. Don't stop stirring or the milk will burn! Once the payesh has thickened, remove the vanilla, cardamom and bay leaves. Stir in the gur and cook about 5 minutes more, until fully incorporated. Cool slightly and serve while still warm. Alternatively, cover and place in the fridge for a few hours for a thicker, chilled payesh. Top with optional pistachios.


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30 comments:

Kitchen M said...

I used to not enjoy rice pudding at all, but recently I've acquired the taste for it. This one looks really good and I like how you added vanilla beans and pistachio. Both are my favorites on dessert!

Sanjana said...

Stacy, this looks wonderful! I've never tried making payesh before but I have made kheer which is somewhat similar. I use gor as a substitute for palm sugar when I am making Thai food too and it works pretty well. Thanks to you and K's mum for a lovely recipe! Bengali's always make mouthwatering sweets!

Tangled Noodle said...

We love rice pudding but I am curious: how is payesh different from kheer (which I've had and really enjoy)? I do have palm sugar on hand but will look out for gur - so curious about it.

I also had a chuckle over your mother-in-law's recipe of 'this and that' - thanks for the recipe with a bit more precise directions! 8-)

Evelyne@Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

I Am a big fan of rice pudding and have a similar Indian recipe. Its amazing how the rice to milk ratio is so low and it does thicken up. Love the bay leaf idea.

I had never heard of gur before

lululu said...

hv never heard of gur before. by looking at the whole thing, i bet it must come with super authentic and flavorful sweetness.

Tasty Eats At Home said...

Ooh I am so jealous of your gur, and I didn't even know what it was until a moment ago. This sounds so delicious.

Chow and Chatter said...

oh yummy, love Indian type desserts love payasam from South India where my hubby is from, great job girl

love Rebecca

Samra said...

Oooh, yes! I love vanilla in anything! This looks creamy good! :-)

Stacy said...

@Tangled Noodle: Great question! Kheer and payesh seem to be essentially the same thing, but just under different names. I found this: The term Kheer (used in Northern India, Pakistan and Nepal) is derived from Sanskrit words Ksheer (which means milk). And the other terms like Payasa or Payasam (used in southern India) or payesh (used in Bengal region) are derived from the sanskrit word Peeyusham which means nectar.

Marina said...

Delish, reminds me of a thicker version of Kheer. I'm sure it tastes better too since this one is home made as opposed to the Kheer I had at restaurants.

Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free said...

I'd love to try the gur - I've never heard of that before. Sounds great. I make a similar pudding with quinoa and, wow, is it good!

Tasty Trix said...

Okay, I am now adding gur to my list of must-have things!!

Juliana said...

Stacy, your rice pudding looks delicious, I had it before at the local Indian restaurant, I should try to make myself :-)

By the way thanks for visiting my site ;-)

Jen said...

I wonder where I can find gur it seems like a great alternative to white sugar

erica @ fashion meets food said...

You seriously need to try a Gingerbread bagel! They're amazing, and Panera bread only has them during the Christmas season + a little after! They're so amazing they should have them all year long! Not to mention there are actual gooey gingerbread bits in it :]

Have a great day!!

Chi said...

Beautiful photos. Swoon! Yippee for vanilla beans!

Lo said...

Have never heard of gur -- but there! I learned something today.

This pudding looks positively wonderful. I'm a huge fan of the vanilla bean... and you've made stunningly good use of it here.

Rochelle said...

I've never had a rice pudding but it looks like it would be great to try!

Simply Life said...

wow I haven't had rice pudding in years - this looks great!

penny aka jeroxie said...

I love rice pudding. I need to find gur. 5 more months to winter!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

Oh yum! I haven't had rice pudding for years... probably not since I moved out of home actually! Looks lovely.

Anncoo said...

Have not tried rice pudding before but this looks delicious and healthy.

Angie's Recipes said...

mmmm...this vanilla rice pudding looks absolutely fantastic.

MaryMoh said...

I've not heard it yet. But it sure looks delicious and healthy. Thanks for sharing.

theUngourmet said...

This looks fantastic! I just finished baking some cakes and I used cardamom for the very first time so we'll see how they are as soon as they cool.

the twins said...

i love rice pudding but i've never made it. yours looks fantastic!

5 Star Foodie said...

Yum! This rice pudding sounds so good with vanilla! I would love this treat!

janet said...

Stacy you always have such interesting posts! I have never heard of gur before. I love vanilla and that looks creamy and delicious.

Anonymous said...

oooh yum, i need to find gur. may be at an indian market?

Divina Pe said...

One of the ultimate comfort foods. We have a similar one called panutsa/panucha.

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