Roasted Pumpkin Kheer

Roasted Pumpkin Kheer

Kheer with roasted pumpkin and garnished with cashew nuts, almond slivers, pistachios & dried rose petals.

A blog post was long overdue. I had migrated from another platform but I wasn’t happy with how it turned out to be. And I am not one of the technologically-savvy types to figure out things for myself. But it’s always better to start than never.
Despite all this, I have been pretty active on my Facebook and Instagram pages.
Today’s post is on the much-loved dessert known as kheer. The first kheer we all tasted and learnt to cook was the basic milk and rice, sweetened with sugar and embellished with raisins and nuts. The last two were fried in dollops of home made ghee. But before that the milk was infused with cardamom powder or crushed cardamom and crushed Indian bay leaves/tejpatta.
And talking about tejpatta, it was always from the backyard garden plucked in bunches and hung to dry in our kitchen that always had a lingering smell of smoke. We didn’t think about it at that point of time but I think even the milk-based desserts that were cooked in such a kitchen had a hint of aromatic smokiness!!
Anyway, coming back to today’s post. a bunch of vegetables came my way from my sister-in-law. Along with the guavas and a bottle gourd, was a small pumpkin, yellow in its ripeness, and just waiting to be relished! But the first to be devoured were the ripe creamy guavas. Followed by the bottle gourd that was peeled and diced and added to chana dal. Then came the pumpkin’s turn.
I cut it into two pieces, scooped out the fibrous gut and the seeds then roasted the halves in the oven till soft and tender. Both halves were made into kheer on different days. One half yielded just a cup of tender pulp. I have made this type of kheer quite a few times but this is the first time that the pumpkin flesh was fibrous right to its core. The entire flesh looked like saffron strands and that gave the dish its own character. It looked like the thinnest strands of vermicelli went into the making of this dish!
On to the recipe now.
1 litre milk
Condensed milk as per taste
1 cup roasted and mashed pumpkin
3 cardamom pods, crushed
4-5 tejpatta, bruised/crushed
A pinch of saffron strands
2 tablespoons ghee
Cashew nuts
Toasted almond slivers
Pistachios
Dried or fresh rose petals

Take a heavy-bottomed pan add the milk. Put it on medium flame and let it thicken considerably.
Add the aromatics. If you like, these can be removed before the pumpkin goes in.
Take out a tablespoon of hot milk in a small cup and add the saffron. Give it a stir and a little pressing with the back of the spoon against the sides of the cup.
Add the condensed milk and stir. This is as per taste. I don’t like my desserts overly sweet and I only add enough for that hint of sweetness. If you want to skip the condensed milk, you can always add sugar.
Then add the saffron and milk mixture. And then the pumpkin.
Stir well so that no lumpy portions remain.
Soon the consistency will thicken and become creamy.
Remove from the stove and transfer to a serving bowl.
Before serving, heat a pan and heat the ghee. Throw in the cashew nuts and the almonds. Immediately switch off the gas.
Pour this mixture on top of the kheer.
The pistachio bits and rose petals can be used for decorating individual bowls.
Depending on the weather, you can have the dessert warm or chilled.
A note about the roses I am using…all the flowers that I use are home grown and organic. I don’t have much space so I grow my plants in containers. But I store whatever roses I have and can use dried petals through several months of the year.

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