Saturday, July 23, 2011

Punjabi Puda and Kheer

In our home, and village, once a year (during the monsoon, usually in mid to late July) people make Puda (pronounced as "poora") and Kheer. It is a tradition that goes back many generations. Families make the two all-time favorite recipes and offer some to the Gurdwara (Sikh Temple).

The puda or poora is akin to sweet pancakes or sweet crepes. Kheer is a dessert that is made from rice and milk. Kheer is more or less a regular feature in our home as we try to make it whenever there is a special occasion or just when Mom feels like it ;)

Yesterday (July 22), my Mom decided it was time we made our Puda and Kheer. Making Kheer is easy-peasy. Even a child could do it. All you need is some milk, some rice and some sugar. You can add raisins or nuts to make the recipe more fancy. Mom decided we should add raisins, almonds and cashews.
Almonds soaked in warm water for easy removal of skins



We used 2 1/2 liters of full-cream buffalo milk (as we no longer have a Cow... we buy milk from a family friend). We added about half a cup of Basmati rice (normal rice will do just fine) and let it cook until the milk has reduced and the rice gets cooked.

Rice cooking in milk -- Kheer

As the rice cooks in the milk (which normally may take up to 45 to 50 minutes), the raisins and chopped nuts were added halfway through the cooking process.

Kheer cooking (Rasins and Nuts added halfway through cooking process)
Once the Kheer was done, it was taken off the stove and allowed to cool. It was time to get started on the puda or poora. Making it is not that simple as Mom uses a very traditional method that dates back many generations. The only concession she had made towards modernization is the use of the gas stove. (I remember we used to make it on kerosene stoves years back and Mom says they used to make it on wood-burning stoves in her day.)

There are many things that need to be prepared before the I started the actual cooking of the sweet pancakes. First of all, I needed the puda or poora batter. To make the batter, Mom used atta or wheat flour, a sugar syrup which was made using Shakkar (unrefned brown sugar) and water. Ordinary sugar will do just fine.
sifted Atta or Wheatflour

Shakkar dissolved in water

Atta or Wheatflour being mixed with the Shakkar solution

Puda or Pooda batter ready

The next item I needed wass a pair of Peepal or Pipal leaves. The leaves are used to create a sort of shaper or spreader for the puda or poora batter. If you are skilled with the use of a ladle to spread batter, then you will not need the use of the leaves. I, however, have gotten used to using the leaves and I kind of like the feel of using something traditional.

Two Peepal or Pipal leaves are needed (washed and clean)

Put one Peepal or Pipal leaf atop another

Bend both Peepal or Pipal leaves without breaking them

with the stems of the Pipal or Peepal leaves, make a hole on the upper portion of the leaves

Allow the Pipal or Peepal stems to pass through the hole

trim the Peepal or Pipal leaves with scissors
Once the Peepal or Pipal leaves have been shaped and readied, it is time to prepare the other little things like the special stick Mom likes to use (using a brush will do just as well but we do like to follow the old ways).
Stick covered with cotton cloth (clean and washed)
Then, after all the stuff I needed were ready, I heated the Tawa or Tava (flat round griddle). 
Tawa or Tava being heated on stove 
As we use a tawa or tava that is definitely a lot older than I am, it is not "non-stick". To make it "non-stick" I brush the surface with ghee or clarified butter (unsalted butter will do just fine).
Ghee or Clarified Butter

Heated Tawa or Tava being greased with Ghee or clarified butter via the stick
Once the Tawa or Tava is hot and greased, I started making the Puda or Poora with a vengeance ;)

I took a bit of batter using a small steel bowl...

Taking a bit of Puda or Poora batter
Poured the batter onto the heated and greased tawa or tava...

Batter being poured on the heated and greased tawa or tava

I shaped or spread the puda or poora batter with the shaped Peepal or Pipal leaves... I tried my best to make it nice and round (I rarely succeed, the best I can do is something that looks kind of round... LOL)

Spread the Puda or Poora batter using the Peepal or Pipal leaves

I then greased the sides of the puda or poora batter with ghee (clarified butter) using the very fashionable stick ;)...
Using the stick to grease the sides of the puda or poora batter with ghee or clarified butter

The sides of the puda or poora batter needed to be loosened very gently using the sharp side of a knife (its easier to do it if the edges are browning)...
Allow the batter to cook until the edges start to brown

Loosen the puda or poora sides with a knife

Loosen all sides of the puda or poora
 Once all the sides have been loosened, I slip a spatula under the puda or poora...
Slip a spatula under the loosened puda or poora
I flip the puda or poora so the other side gets cooked...

Flip the puda or poora to cook the other side

When both sides are golden brown, the puda or poora is ready
Once both the sides of the puda or poora has been browned, I lifted off them the tawa or tava and placed them on a plate.

After I managed to make about 6 to 7 pudas or pooras, Mom took them, along with some Kheer to the Gurduwara. They were offered to God, of course. A small amount of Kheer and a puda or poora was given back to Mom so we could mix it with the rest that we had at home.

The puda or poora was served with a bowl of kheer. We enjoyed having a delicious lunch... even our canine family members loved them. :)

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Posted by: Bames Pabla
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