Not long time ago, I had invited some friends for dinner. As a result I was engrossed in deciding on a suitable menu that should be gorged down by one and all. Being a north Indian, satisfying a south Indian palate is not relatively easy as you have no idea whether they will even think of sniffing (smelling is too genteel word for that weird look) food cooked in mustard oil forget about eating. I remember a funny incident when a north Indian family had come down to Mangalore for treatment. They had a kid so did not want to stay in a hotel. After a long search, a family agreed to give them a room on rent wherein they can happily cook. Once the mom was heating mustard oil in order to add some tadka to the dal. It is important that the oil should reach a smoking point before adding the spices. As soon as the smoke filled the kitchen and wafted around the owners’ kitchen, the landlady came running and screaming, ‘Open the window and the doors, the LPG cylinder is leaking……run, run…come out,’. Looking at the commotion the, the tenant-lady came out. She sniffed but couldn't find a trace of any LPG smell. Still perplexed, the landlady came to her and after exchanging some futile glances and Q&A, the mom sheepishly revealed that the smell was coming from the mustard oil in which she was cooking. The landlady was aghast at the fact that how on earth people can cook and eat in such awful smelling oil. So moral of the story ‘One man’s oil….I mean food can be another man’s LPG…no no I mean poison’.
So now you know why I was everything except at peace. After deciding upon the starters and the main course, my heart settled for mouthwatering and subtle sweetdish firni. The best thing about the dish is that it is hassle free and comes out to be ok even by any beginners’ in home cooking. Apart from few ingredients, the main thing that is required is patience while stirring the milk so that it doesn't burn or stick to the pan. So guys here’s the recipe…Bon Appetit.
1 litre full cream milk
4 tbs jeera samba, govindbhog or any aromatic rice
¼ tsp cardamom powder
2 cups sugar
1 pinch of saffron
4 drops of kewra essence
Almonds and pistachios slivers
Soak the rice in water for about an hour. Put the milk on boil. Grind the rice along with some of the milk so that it is smooth in consistency. You can either use whole sugar or powder in a grinder along with some cardamom seeds. If not then you can add whole sugar granules and cardamom powder. Add the rice paste and stir continuously so that no lumps are formed. Cook for 20 min till the paste becomes creamy and rice is cooked through. Add the sugar, cardamom powder and cook. Add the saffron and kewra essence and mix. Remove from heat. Pour in earthen bowls or any dish of your choice. Garnish with almonds and pista. Cool and chill and serve.