Komola Payesh literary translating to orange rice pudding is a winter specialty! Creamy rice pudding flavored with aromatic cardamom, bay leaf and fresh orange juice along with pulp. It’s luscious, melts with mouth and the orange pulps adds a refreshing sweetness.
Komola Payesh – Orange Rice Pudding
This perfumy refreshing rice pudding, Komola Payesh is a quintessential Bengali classic.
Some prefer to make kheer instead, where there is no rice added. Just thicken milk flavored with orange.
I will share that someday soon. But this week for Makar Sankranti Special, I wanted to celebrate rice by making chaler payesh (rice pudding) with komolalebu (oranges)!
In my world any Bengali festival must include Payesh. My all-time favorite dessert and while my preference will always be Kejur Gurer Payesh, winter must be celebrated with oranges. And so Komola Payesh felt like the right choice here.
What do you need for Komola Payesh?
Short Grain Rice : A rice variety that is traditionally used for this pudding is called “ Gobindo bhog” or “Kali jeera rice” both of which are non-sticky short grain rice, with a beautiful aroma.
I have seen several varieties of Kali Jeera Rice in Amazon, you can check it out. But you can also locate these in your local Indian stores. Some Indian stores sells these variety of rice.
Whole Milk: I don’t compromise with fats or taste when it comes to Payesh. So whole milk is what I will always recommend.
Sugar: White sugar is what you should be using but brown sugar will work fine too. And if you absolutely must, then yes honey can be a substitute as well. Traditional recipe will call for only sugar.
Green Cardamom and Bay Leaf: Adding bay leaf in rice pudding is not common in rest of India. But Bengalis love bay leaves, in both their savory and sweet treats.
Fresh Orange: Use both the juice and the pulp. You can make it as much orange loaded as you want.
Can you prepare Rice Pudding in Pressure Cooker?
Rice pudding is a labor of love and I will never use insta-pot or pressure cooker. It’s a feeling for us Bengalis and we take the whole process very seriously.
It has to be always prepared on a heavy bottom pan, simmered and slow cooked until the milk is thickened, and the rice is cooked through with the perfect sweetness.
I don’t use condensed milk or powdered milk. It is prepared with only whole milk that is first simmered to thicken a bit before adding the rice.
When do you add the Orange?
Now this is the trickiest part. If you add orange while the pudding is still warm, then it will curdle, and the pudding will be inedible.
You prepare the payesh (rice pudding) and let it cool down to room temperature. And then you add the juice and the pulp and mix it around.
Serve it freshly prepared and cold or room temperature, if you are like me who doesn’t enjoy cold payesh.
If you have never tried this Komola Payesh, then this winter you have to give this orange rice pudding a try. You might make it all winter long.
Komola Payesh (Orange Rice Pudding)
- 1/3 cup short grain rice
- 1 liter whole milk
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup cashew
- 2 bay leaves 4 green cardamoms
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup orange pulp plus more for garnish on top
- Wash the rice a few times and then soak it for 15 minutes.
- In the mean time pour the milk into a heavy bottom pan. Drop the bay leaves and the cardamoms.
- Now bring the milk to boil and then reduce to medium heat. Keep stirring occasionally as you simmer the milk for 15 minutes.
- Drain the soaked rice and pour to the milk and keep stirring occasionally as the rice cooks. (DO NOT ADD SUGAR AT THIS MOMENT)
- As the rice cooks do not increase the heat, keep stirring occasionally. It will take about 15 to 20 minutes for the rice to be cooked through. You don’t want the rice to get mushy so keep an eye.
- Once the rice is completely cooked through, switch off the heat and add the sugar, raisins and cashew. Stir it to incorporate the sugar completely and then cover the pan for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, stir it around and give a taste. If you prefer payesh much sweeter then feel free to add more sugar.
- As the payesh cools down it will thicken a little bit more. So if at this point it already looks very thick, then add little milk to loosen the texture.
- Once the payesh has completely cooled down to room temperature, add the orange juice and orange pulp and fold it to the payesh to evenlt distribute it.
- Serve with few more orange pulps on top as garnish.