Updated: This blog post has been re-edited, re-photographed and re-published with a different title.
Orange in milk ? Would not it get curdled ? That was my first reaction when Ma mentioned about something called “Kheer komola“. She makes beautiful payesh, just perfect, the best one and of all the payesh variety she has ever made for the festivals or simple homey occasions, ” kheer komola ” however has never surfaced, until that day. It so happened that one of our family friends had sent us huge crate of oranges from Darjeeling, and in the hot and humid Indian summer, they were likely to survive another few weeks.
Sitting in the cosy corner of our terrace, in my favourite nook, with a fiction in one hand, and oranges in another, I loved to spent my afternoons, reading and eating … soaking the warmth of winter sun. Days were so carefree and blissful. Besides soaking the winter warmth and all those romanticism associated with such a secluded and solitary space, reading on a terrace has its other charms too, like neighbourhood watch, really ??? Nah.. it was my favourite pastime to keep watch on some lesser known events of neighbourhoods, peeping through the corners of my terrace, I can watched practically everything while others could not even saw me. That used to give me such childlike excitements.
When it was no more possible to read in the fading glow of setting sun, brimming with the day’s gossips , I collected my books, the scattered peels of oranges, some of it I used to bookmark the page I was reading ,and rest I carefully collected in a small plastic and gave it to my ma, she would then dried the peels under sun until they become brittle, then she would ground them to a fine powder and with the help of few spoon of almond oil, she would make a fine herbal face mask for me, simple, pure and without any chemicals. Life has changed so much since then, I can not relate to those fabulous days anymore, it seems now a fictional story from another era, in another time.
Similar to our beloved ” kheer komola” there is another recipe called “Basundi” – a traditional Gujarati and Maharashtrian (western Indian) sweet dish and is prepared by thick and creamy milk or rabdi and garnished with almonds and pistachio nuts. Though basundi is different from kheer komola, but when you flavour the basundi with juicy oranges, the differences melts to resemble close cousins.
Short, simple and sweet way to end your dinner, “kuch meetha ho jaye” for not so chocolate crazy nation, milk based deserts are always welcome with an open heart. When the dessert screams oranges, on high citrusy notes mellowed by the rich and creamy condensed milk, this is one beautiful and classic dish which will impress you at once.
Recipe: Orange basundi or kheer komola
Summary: Orange basundi / kheer komola is a thick rich and creamy milk based chilled dessert infused with the citrusy and juicy oranges.
- Milk: 4 cups
- Condensed milk: 1 cup
- Oranges (sweet): 2
- Green cardamom powder: ½ tsp
- Orange segments: 3-4
- Orange rind: 2 optional just for garnish
- Boil the milk and reduce it to 1/4 th measure till it become thick and creamy like rabdi.
- It will take almost 45 minutes, so lower the heat and let it reduce to half, stirring after every 3-4 minutes.
- When the milk reduced to half, you will notice change in the color too, absorbing creamy hue all along.
- Add the condensed milk and boil for another 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle the cardamom powder, give it a stir.
- Sprinkle some saffron threads over the warm milk and let it cool at room temperature.
- Once it is cooled to room temperature, refrigerate it for 3-4 hours.
- Meanwhile, extract the juice of two oranges and strain it through a mesh filter.
- Keep some of the orange segments for garnishing, if you want you can cut the orange rind or grate the zest of orange for garnish also.
- Take out the chilled milk from the fridge, add the orange juice, check for the tartness, if needed add more or less depends upon the tartness you prefers.
- Garnish with the sliced orange segments and the orange zest or rind.
- Serve the chilled kheer komola or orange basundi simply as dessert or sometimes many prefers to relish it with fried puris.
You can try the same recipe with sweet and juicy mangoes or pineapple or you can serve simply without any fruity flavours.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 2
Culinary tradition: Indian (Marathi / Bengali Cuisine)
Have Happy Weekends ahead !