"God cannot be everywhere, so he created mothers"
Isn't that so so true. When i was a kid, i used to fight with amma like crazy. But every time somebody was being mean to me or something was not going right for me, now i recall that she used to silently mend it, do some silly gesture to cheer me up. And we would patch up, patch up like best buddies. I am sure i have got this trait from her, of loving food and everything related to food. It all peps me up. Well all the little gestures she used to do to cheer me up or to patch up with me, had that food element attached to it.
I remember amma used to make a meethi dal, and none but me used to love it. So on such days she will make the meethi dal and ask with with that twinkle in her eyes, 'guess karo kya hai' and everytime the answer would be a excited but a secretive, 'cheena daala hai kya' . Oh the tiny pleasures of childhood! Another such food pampering i have got was carrot kheer. Amma used to make the best carrot kheer. I look at this kheer of mine and can just let that small sigh out, that maybe someday i can make it the same. Carrot kheer was prepared in our household only on festive occasions or when we were heading to my grandmothers place, where there were 10s of takers for it, so the pampering i got was, one tiny box of the kheer would be set aside for me, when we get back from their house. *Sparkle in my eyes*.
Ever since Amma is gone, i have never attempted to make carrot kheer. I yearn for it, but i dare not attempt it. I dreamt of it many a times, but never dared to attempt it. A few months back i just could not resist the temptation. I called up Jai, my aunt and rechecked on the recipe and took up the challenge. I cried that night, because it was nowhere near what amma used to make. But everybody loved it. I didn't know what to say! These very people had never tasted Ammas payasam and will never be able to. The next day, Anna had it and he was like i was close to it, and it was a little reassuring, because he was the only one who had had ammas payasam.
I convinced myself to keep trying, am sure i could achieve that consistency soon. I tried it again this morning. Yes i get the feeling i am nearing the taste. The key is keep it simple. I have seen many more recipes around, but i like ammas way, simple, the best no grating! why would i make payasam , i would put in the efforts for a carrot halwa, well i was about to get into the halwa stories, but maybe sometime later. I remember those tiny steel box wala payasam hidden for me, and will keep trying to get it right. Till then a recipe all others love!.
Carrot Payasam / Carrot Kheer
1/2 kg carrots, peeled and diced into small pieces.
1 ltr toned milk200 ml condensed milk or 1/2 cup or less sugar.
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
3 tbsp chopped cashew
3 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp ghee to fry the dry fruits
1. Set aside a cup of milk from the ltr of milk in a small pressure cooker. And heat the rest of the milk in medium to low flame, until it reduces to 3/4th. The color will get darker, keep stirring in between to avoid creaming at the corners, and you would be good.
2. Meanwhile peel the carrots, wash them, and cut them into tiny cubes, much easier than grating. And it works beautifully.
3. Now add the cut carrots into the cup of milk set aside and bring it to a boil.
4. Once it comes to a boil, close the pressure cooker, and let it cook for 4 whistles in medium high to low, make sure you don't add much milk, less is better as the carrots will leave out some water by itself. If the milk is more, it may splutter out, and mess the kitchen which you don't want.
5. Meanwhile, if you think the milk set on heat has reduced enough, switch it off, and prepare to fry the dry fruits. Take a small pan, add the ghee, and then add the raising and cashew, ideally one should fry cashew and raisins separately as raisins fry too quickly, but i was short on time. If you can , it would be great. Fry and set aside.
6. By this time the carrots must be done, just in case you are in hurry, i usually am, don't open the pressure cooker immediately, and if have to, place in closed under running water for a minute and it will be ready to open.
7. What i generally do is take out the cream settled on the milk, and add it to the cooked carrots to make it more creamier, it helps. Add the cream from the milk or just ignore, and blend it into a fine puree using a hand blender.
8. If you are using the condensed milk, add the condensed milk to the milk now, and mix well, if not add the sugar to your liking, i like it less.
8. Add the puree to the milk, and mix well. Add the cardamom powder and the dry fruits. The payasam is ready!
And all packed for friends and colleagues.
This is my day 21 into the December Blogging Marathon.!