Sugarless rice pudding(Cheppi kheeri)

Cheppi (bland taste) kheeri (kheer in Marathi means ‘payasam‘ or ‘pudding’, the dish I am referring to is ‘kheeri‘ the difference may be because there is no sugar in it) is a festival dish. At my native it is usually prepared as the offering to god on the next day of Janmashtami. (I explained about Janmashtami rituals yesterday, I have uploaded some of the pictures that I had clicked last year on Janmashtami).

On Janmashtami all the decorations are done as shown here, the next day, some rituals are followed to take out these decorations. The poojari (or bhatmam) goes to the places where he had kept the saligram and bala-krishna statue previous day. He does the pooja and offers ‘cheppi kheeri‘, ‘cow’s milk’, ‘venti randayi‘ to god. After the offerings are done, bhatmam takes off the decorations and takes his saligram and bala-krishna statue back with him. The tulsi and other decorations are discarded near ashoka katte(a round stone structure beneath the tree where the poojas are offered).

Venti randayi is a side dish prepared by cooking chana and colocasia leaves and stems (venti literally means stem) in coconut gravy. Usually a few pieces of leaves are tied into knots and put into the dish, this is the specialty of the dish). Following is the picture of the leaves being cut (taken during Janmashtami 2005 at my native, last year I didn’t know I would be writing this post, otherwise I would have taken the detailed pictures).

Cutting colocasia leaves and stems for ‘venti randayi

Cheppi kheeri‘ looks like Rice congee, but since coconut or milk is used, it looks completely white. The main aroma of this dish comes from ‘turmeric leaves’ (haldi panna). These leaves are grown at home and usually used in variety of dishes for their aroma. (I do not think these are available outside India).

Ingredients:
1 cup dosa rice (or any normal white rice)
3/4 cup fresh coconut
1-2 turmeric leaves

Method:
Cook rice. Grind coconut with enough water to smooth paste. Add this paste to rice and cook. Tie each turmeric leaf into a knot and add to the dish. Cook for around 5mins.
People like it to eat with or without salt. The leaves are discarded while eating.

Serves : 3
Preparation time : 15mins

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