Make Bengali Chaler Payesh (Rice Kheer) using my easy traditional recipe. Serve it for festivals, weddings, or special occasions (vegetarian, gluten-free).
Here are a few more Bengali recipes that you can try at home – Basanti Pulao, Tok Dal, Bengali Style Veg Pulao, Orange Kheer, Bengali Masoor Dal, Kosha Mangsho, Bengali Chicken Curry, Bengali Aloo Dum, and Bengali Chicken Rezala.
About Chaler Payesh
Payesh is the Bengali version of North Indian kheer. It can be made using various ingredients but Chaler Payesh (Rice Kheer) is the most popular variation.
When we say only payesh, it is understood that we are talking about the rice payesh and not any of the other versions.
Chaler payesh is a must-make dessert in Bengali households for special occasions like birthday parties, auspicious occasions, weddings, anniversary celebrations, announcements of some important results, etc, and festivals like Durga Puja, Diwali, Holi, etc.
This traditional melt-in-your-mouth rice pudding has a buttery taste and a pleasing aroma from the use of Gobindobhog rice, a variety of short-grain rice popular in West Bengal.
This payesh recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free and can be easily scaled as per your requirements.
Milk – Use whole milk (full fat milk) for a creamy and rich texture.
Rice – This dessert is traditionally made using Gobindobhog rice. It is short-grain rice with a slightly sticky texture and an incredible aroma.
If you cannot find it, then use any short-grain rice to make it.
Ghee – For the most authentic taste, try to get Bengali Jharna ghee. It is available in most Indian grocery stores. If not, then use any good quality ghee to make it.
Sugar – Adjust according to your taste.
You can replace sugar with date palm jaggery,, brown sugar, nolen gur, or coconut sugar.
The payesh sweetened with date palm jaggery is called khejur gurer payesh.
When made using nolen gur (new jaggery), it is called nolen gurer payesh.
Cardamom Powder – Do not skip cardamom powder, as it adds a beautiful flavor and aroma to the payesh.
Nuts – Add dried nuts like cashews, unsalted pistachios, and almonds to add a nice crunch to the otherwise creamy payesh.
You can also add dry fruits like raisins, cranberry, etc to this Bengali style rice pudding recipe.
You can also add a few bay leaves while cooking the chaler payesh. Bay leaf lend a beautiful and distinct flavor to this Bengali dessert.
A sprinkle of rose water over the ready payesh takes its taste to the next level.
How To Make Chaler Payesh
Rinse 3 tablespoon of Gobindobhog rice with water and soak it in ½ cup of water for 15-20 minutes.
Drain the water and mix the rice with 2 teaspoon ghee. Set aside.
Heat 1 liter of whole milk in a heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Stir very frequently to avoid scorching at the bottom of the pan.
Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low.
Add the rice to the pan and cook until the rice is nicely cooked and the payesh has thickened (35-40 minutes). Stir frequently while cooking.
Add ¼ cup sugar and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Add ½ teaspoon cardamom powder and mix well.
Check for sugar and add more if needed.
Garnish the payesh with 10-12 chopped cashew nuts, 10-12 slivered pistachios, and 10-12 slivered almonds. I also like to use some dried rose petals for a pop of color.
Serve hot or chill for a few hours before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
To make vegan payesh, replace the dairy milk with thin coconut milk or any other plant-based milk like oat milk, cashew milk, almond milk, etc. Cook only on medium-low heat otherwise the milk might curdle.
Chaler Payesh can be stored in an air-tight container for 3-4 days, in the refrigerator.
Enjoy it chilled or warm it up in a microwave or pan.
If it has thickened, then add a little milk while reheating to adjust the consistency.
Payesh is not freezer friendly! The milk will split while thawing, which will ruin the taste and texture of payesh.
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Bengali Chaler Payesh Recipe
- 3 tablespoons Gobindobhog rice (or any other sticky short-grain rice.)
- 2 teaspoons ghee (preferably BengaliJjharna ghee.)
- 1 litre whole milk (full-fat milk)
- ¼ cup sugar (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- 10-12 chopped cashew nuts
- 10-12 slivered pistachios
- 10-12 slivered almonds
- Rinse the rice with water and soak it in ½ cup of water for 15-20 minutes.
- Drain the water and mix the rice with ghee. Set aside.
- Heat milk in a heavy bottom pan over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Stir very frequently to avoid scorching at the bottom of the pan.
- Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low.
- Add the rice to the pan and cook until the rice is nicely cooked and the payesh has thickened (35-40 minutes). Stir frequently while cooking.
- Add sugar and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add cardamom powder and mix well.
- Check for sugar and add more if needed.
- Garnish the payesh with cashew nuts, pistachios, and almonds. I also like to use some dried rose petals for a pop of color.
- Serve hot or chill for a few hours before serving.