Kheer is one of the most loved desi sweets, which is also one of the most celebrated ones in the culinary repertoire of the country. The sweet rice pudding is slow-cooked and flavoured with spices like saffron, cardamom, etc. giving it a rich and aromatic quality. Whether you like to eat it warm or cold, kheer is a comfort-food that is favoured especially by those with an intense sweet tooth. Kheer is nostalgia in a bowl for so many Indians around the world. There are numerous variations of the plan rice kheer in regions across the country. Some kheer recipes use gur or jaggery, some others add different flavours like rose, mango, etc. Although it is customary to prepare kheer with rice, other ingredients like vermicelli, red rice, makhana or lotus seeds, whole wheat etc. may also be used.
You might have tried several different versions of kheer, but there is one version that you might not have sampled- tal ki kheer. Tal or toddy palm fruit is a fibrous fruit with bright yellow pulp that is often used to make a natural sweetener. The ripe brownish yellow fruit can be easily peeled with hands to reveal a very fibrous flesh that can be squeezed and passed through a sieve to get a smooth pulp. This pulp can then be added to a number of dishes and drinks for a deliciously sweet treat. The fruit pulp is said to be cooling in nature and is also said to be rich in minerals and vitamins, essential for the body. The tal ki kheer or taler kheer (in Bengali) can be easily prepared, once the pulp is squeezed out.
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You may start by heating reduced or evaporated milk in a pan and mixing in some sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, the kheer is going to be ready in just a few more minutes. All you have to do then is to add the fresh tal pulp and then stir it well. Then you may finish off by adding grated coconut to balance the sweetness from the sugar and the tal pulp. You may flavour the kheer will just a little bit of cardamom powder and then cook until the kheer thickens. You may garnish it with grated coconut and serve hot.
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Food YouTuber Ananya Banerjee shows how to make this taler kheer from scratch in this recipe video: