Published On: July 31, 2018 07:54 AM NPT By: Rejina Basnet

Prepping a staple dessert

Prepping a staple dessert

Kheer is a luscious milky dessert, considered a principal Nepali dessert during religious celebrations. Be it festivals, birthdays, family gatherings or just to fill your appetite, you can rely on kheer as your sweet companion. Serve it steaming hot, or chilled, they both flaunt exquisite flavors. If you fancy your pudding a tad savory, you may also serve it with a pickle of your choice. However, consuming it without additional condiments is advisable. 

The Nepali calendar includes special events, every month, to relish the culinary delights of the country. 15th of Shrawan is rightfully dedicated to rice-puddings, and is known throughout Nepal as ‘Kheer khane din’. 

A look back into history suggests that the culture of celebrating this day commenced a long time ago. Cultural expert Nirmala Pokharel, says, “Being an agro-based country, our culture, and tradition, is interconnected and inseparable from nature. Shrawan is the time of the year when farmers finish paddy plantation. It is believed that this practice, of eating kheer on 15th of Shrawan, started to give the farmers a little break from their hectic field duties and to celebrate their achievements. If we look from a religious point of view, the custom of eating ‘kheer’ started from the ‘Vedic’ times, as the consumption of kheer during ritual ceremonies are mentioned in the ‘Veda’.”

Kheer is primarily made up of rice, milk, and sugar. However, there are some ingredients that can elevate the flavor and aroma of your kheer and are equally beneficial for your health. 

It is certainly one of the most common spices found in the Nepali kitchen. Adding a few pieces of cloves onto kheer not only gives it a distinctly strong and pungent taste, it has some amazing health benefits as well. It has anti-cancer and anti-bacterial properties and helps control the blood sugar level.

Adding Saffron to kheer gives it a rich honey-floral flavor. Although it is one of the most expensive spices in the world, its values and benefits are beyond the price.  Regular consumption of saffron gives amazing health results such as the promotion of good digestion and respiratory system, prevention of hair loss and enhancement of skin. 

Dry fruits: 
Dried fruits such as raisins, dates and dried coconuts are an excellent source of iron as well as energy-booster. They are the most common ingredients used to add texture to desserts.

Pistachios contain a wide collection of nutrients such as carbohydrates, protein, amino acids, fats, and minerals. They are also rich in vitamins and have low calorie compared to other nuts.

Also known as ‘queen of spices’, cardamom is famous for its sweet and spicy zest. It promotes digestion and cardiovascular health. Additionally, it also fights against depression and asthma and acts as an appetite enhancer.  

Cinnamon powder can be stirred with milk and rice to produce sweet and savory taste. It gives out a pleasant aroma. Besides the amazing flavor and fragrance that it adds to the desert, it has an array of health benefits including reduction of high blood pressure and cholesterol, anti-diabetic properties, and enhancement of dental health.

This buttery sweet nut is packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is cholesterol free and can help fight against diseases like diabetes and cancer.

Almonds are often used as toppings in kheer. Besides its taste enhancement properties, it is also a good source of nutrients that are important to boost the brain. It comprises vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids.

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