Our Kalabhaater payesh

Our Kalabhaater payesh

This simple recipe from Sujata’Di, one of our farmers and a brilliant cook, is nothing short of delightful. The lovely caramel, popcorn flavour and the glutinous texture of the rice celebrate that what the good earth has to offer.

Ingredients: for 4-6 servings

  • 100 gms Kalabhaat
  • 1.5 lts full fat milk
  • Seeds from 3-4 green cardamom; toasted and lightly crushed
  • 60-75 gms fine sugar
  • 20 gms Kalimpong ghee
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Salt, a pinch



  1. Wash the rice thoroughly in a few changes of water.
  2. Lay the rice flat to dry for at least 15 minutes.
  3. While the rice is drying, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer it to reduce. Frequently, keep on stirring the milk, while it is reducing to ensure that the milk doesn’t burn.
  4. In a separate pan, over medium heat, toast the rice in the ghee. Stir them until the rice begins to pop and you can smell the nuttiness in the rice-ghee mixture: about 35-50 seconds.
  5. Once the rice begins to pop, add 200ml of water to it and cook to about 3/4th done: 15-20 minutes. Check if the rice is almost cooked. Add a pinch of salt and the bay leaves. Reduce the heat to low.
  6. When the milk has reduced to about 1lt, turn off the heat.
  7. One ladle at a time, add the milk to the rice. Stir occasionally. Gently turn up the heat to medium.
  8. Check for consistency, if it is too runny, don’t worry as it will thicken up; and if it thickens up too much, add half a ladle of warm water, at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Add the sugar at this point in stages, checking for your desired sweetness.
  9. Throughout this whole process of adding milk and adjusting the consistency, the rice will get cooked. Sprinkle the toasted-crushed green cardamom seeds. Give it a stir and turn off the heat. Cover and let it rest for a couple of minutes before serving.
  10. You can serve it warm, at room temperature or chilled. Tastes best next day, though.



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