Challenge #33 – Indian Food
Eight years ago, I met an amazing man. Seven years ago, I met his amazing family.
His father moved to the US in 1976 from Kolkata, in eastern India, to go to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin. A few years later, he went back home, got married, and moved his new wife back to the States with him. She knew practically no one, not even her husband, really, but they set up a life together.
Fast forward around 5 years to when my husband was born. Growing up, his mother made him Indian food all of the time; however, neither he nor his younger brother like it.
Cue my marriage. I love Indian food. I call my husband’s mother “mom,” and she treats me as if I am truly her daughter. She always offers me a different snippet of something to try when I am at her house (which is like twice a week – they live 7 miles away and are the greatest baby sitters!).
When this challenge was posted, I let her know about it right away. And she helped me with this recipe.
My in-laws’ culture has a custom for children when they hit 6-7 months. It’s called an Annaprashan, and it’s essentially the first time the baby eats rice. There is a huge party with food, drink, and gifts. All of the women wear their finest saris. The baby wears a sari of sorts with a shawl over her head, gold bracelets on her arms, and a bindi just above her eyes.
At this ceremony, the mother’s brother (I don’t have one, so my dad took that place) feeds the baby her first food – payesh.
Payesh is a rice pudding dish made with cardamom and bay leaves. Throw in some raisins and cashew pieces, too. My daughter loved it, and so will you.
- 4 c milk
- 4 cardamom pods (shells removed, seeds slightly crushed)
- 2 Indian bay leaves (different from American bay leaves, go to an Ethnic food store for these)
- 1/3 c. Basmati rice
- 1/2 c. sugar
- dried fruits and nuts
- Bring milk to a boil in a large, wide, sauce pan. Add cardamom seeds and bay leaves. Allow to boil around 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add rice. Boil, reduce heat to medium and continue boiling around 20 minutes. Stir frequently.
- When rice is cooked through, but before it turns gummy, add sugar. Mix well.
- Remove from heat. Add fruit and nuts. Allow to cool, and refrigerate. Serve chilled. Garnish with fruit and nuts if desired.