Sunday, October 11, 2009

Banana Delight - Creamy Rice pudding sweetened with Bananas



I am not sure what is the first image this title will conjure up for anyone who reads it. A quick google search revealed that people have called a wide variety of things 'Banana Delight'. I got this title from the mater whose first reaction after tasting this was, its delightful! Why not call it 'B.. Delight'? So delighted at this reaction, I decided to go ahead with this title! :D


I had a bunch of very ripe bananas sitting on the counter. I am not a big banana fan, and I lose interest once they start giving out a strong smell, and the skin turns black. I wanted to make use of this in some disguised form, and also needed to make some kind of dessert for my company. After looking at some banana recipes on a bunch of websites, a sort of hodge podge formed in my brain and I finally came up with something simple and closer to home. In India, the rice kheer or rice payasam or pudding is more of a south Indian delicacy. In Maharashtra, and especially in our family, this dish is made only on certain sad occasions, like when someone passes away, or ceremonies related to people who have passed on. Queer though this may seem to some, it is true. Hence, I have never really seen this kind of kheer made much in my family. The few attempts I did make, the rice ended up being far more than the milk, or it mostly looked like a 'dudh bhat' or milk and rice.


Having learnt a few lessons, I decided to try a new proportion, and add a few other ingredients to enhance the creaminess. I also decided to use the banana here for sweetness and also for its own unique taste and flavour. The result turned out to be extremely creamy, sweet and flavourful. There are no artificial sweeteners or sugar in this, making this all natural and sugar free. Of course it has the sugar from the bananas, so please keep that in mind if you need to seriously watch your sugar levels. The banana literally dissolves but you get this intense flavour of the banana in each bite, making this so much more than a simple rice pudding. In fact, you can see neither the rice nor the banana, you just spoon a thick creamy mixture bursting with flavour. Without further ado, the recipe for my Banana Delight follows -


Ingredients

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1.5 litre milk

2 Tbsp Rice grains

10-12 almonds

2-3 ripe bananas

3-4 strands saffron

nutmeg to taste

2-3 elaichi or cardammom

1 tsp butter or ghee

pistachios or nuts to garnish


Method

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1) Take a thick bottomed pan or wok and start heating the milk. I used full fat milk, but 2% can also be used. I will not recommend anything lower, since this is predominantly a recipe made from milk/cream and should be indulged in sparingly anyway

2) Melt the butter in a small pan and roast the rice grains till they are pinkish in colour. This will release their aroma. You can use basmati rice if you have it, or any other regular rice

3) Roughly chop or dice the bananas and fry them in the remaining butter. The bananas will caramelize. Check that they do not burn and keep stirring. Depending on the
ripeness, some or all the bananas will dissolve or disintegrate. This is OK since we are going to mash and mix it in the milk later anyway. This step will give a subtle caramel like flavour to the whole dish

4) Soak the almonds for some time and remove the skins. Roast them lightly.

5) Grind the rice grains and the almonds in a grinder to make an almost fine powder, between coarse and fine.

6) By this time, the milk should be boiling. Bring it to a simmer and add the rice and almond mixture. Keep stirring. After 10-15 minutes, it will thicken considerably as the rice cooks.

7) Soak some saffron strands in 2-3 tbsp of milk and add them to the rice and milk mixture. You can omit the saffron if you do not like it or do not have it on hand.

8) Mash any remaining bananas, so that most of it becomes puree like. Add this whole mixture to the milk. Keep stirring to avoid burning.

9) Add some grated nutmeg and 1 tsp of freshly ground or ready made elaichi powder or cardammom powder.

10) Also add some chopped pistachios, cashews etc. for crunch.

11) The dish is done once all the ingredients have mixed well and formed a thick pudding like consistency. This will thicken even more after it cools, so please factor that in.

12) Refrigerate and serve chilled garnished with a few chopped nuts


This is a very simple and economical dessert that can be made from stuff in your pantry. The whole process will take 45-60 mins, but you can also be cooking something else while you stir the milk. I hope you try this simple sugcar free treat and let me know how you liked it.

3 comments:

Red Chillies said...

Nice recipe of adding bananas to rice pudding. Good way of using those over ripe bananas.
Thanks for the comments about the Mango ice-cream. Blending 3 times does help minimise the crystals. I have never tried gelatin before, but I am sure that will work :-)

If you try, please do post it!

ezeecook said...

looks yummy

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