It is 1 am. You are listening to this. You are flipping through his web album, staring at his pictures. So many He-s. You cannot decide which one is your favourite. The one where he is at the TT table, his eye on the ball, the one where you can see the filigree of veins on his arm. Or the one where he is looking out at the sea, his body framed by a fossilised tree.
R is engaged to R
176 people like this.
So you sigh and sigh and sigh and sigh. You wish you had said something. Something other than “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps“
And then you get up. You walk to the refrigerator. You open it and you say something that rhymes with luck. You curse yourself for having been greedy. For having munched down your last bar of Lindt 85% Cocoa. Curse yourself even harder because you are on a diet.
So you make this. You make this because you know it will take an hour. And you want something to comfort you. You break some rules. You want to be a good girl no more. You don’t want to soak the rice. You don’t want to boil the milk. You put the water on boil and you add the rice. You add the milk. And you stir and stir and stir and stir. You think about your first memory of this. Of you and your sister. Of that big house with big people. Their big laughter. Your father’s people.
You remember your little sister and her big frown. You remember how she screwed up her face when people called you twins. You remember sitting cross-legged on the terrace with her. With your other cousins. Waiting for the bhojji to start. Waiting for someone to place a leaf plate in front of you. You are hungry. You have been running up and down the house all day. Up and down and up and down and up and down. It is May. Your cousin is getting married. You have lost your first tooth.
You think all this and you stir and stir and stir and stir. You add the cashew-nuts and raisins. And you sigh. You remember the array of dishes in front of you. How the dali almost scalded your tongue. How your sister lifted the khajuri from her tamata-khajuri khata (date and tomato chutney) and placed it on your plate. How you wondered why that leaf bowl beside your plate was still empty. How you saw a steel balti swinging by you. You remember the balti stopping before you and this being dropped into your bowl. “Paaess“, he had said. You lick the dali-bhata off your fingers and dip your fingers inside the bowl. It is hot. You do what your mother does before she plunks those tiny spheres of dalma-bhata into your sister’s mouth everyday. You blow on it. Phu-Phu-Phu. You love this stuff. You love its velvety texture. You love the fact that your sister picks out all the kaju in her bowl and places it in yours. You ask for a second helping.
You turn off the heat and add the jaggery. And you stir and stir and stir and stir. You sigh. You decide to taste a spoonful of the payesh. And you smile.
Rice : 3-4 tablespoons
Milk (full fat) : One litre
Sugar : According to taste, plus some more for making the caramel
Date jaggery : A small piece
Cashew nuts : 8-10
Raisins : 8-10
Cardamom : One pod, crushed
Ghee : One tablespoon
-You can make this even if you don’t have date jaggery available. Add some date syrup at the end. Or do what my mother does. Increase the amount of caramel. You will end up with a payesh that looks and tastes almost like the real thing.
-You can use normal basmati rice in place of gobind bhog. Just make sure you cook it till it breaks down.
-You can boil and reduce the milk to a half, cook the rice till it breaks down, and then combine and cook them together. This would be quicker, I think.
-Some professional cooks in Orissa add creme as a shortcut. I wouldn’t recommend that.
Tap on the first picture to see a step-by-step demonstration. There are typos in some of the pictures. I have not been able to edit those. Do overlook them.