Orange kheer is an edible journey worth taking. Called Komlalebur payesh or komola kheer in Bengali and santre ki kheer in Hindi, the kheer recipe is simple to make and requires few ingredients, and is so much lighter than most other kheers!
Kheer is a mainstay of Indian festivals. I don’t think there's ever a year I don’t make kheer in some form. So, when I say that orange kheer is one of the best, I mean it.
One spoon of this creamy kheer komola, and you automatically sink into that luxurious after-dinner mood where thoughts begin to roam gracefully free of the trammels of our noisy minds.
WHAT IS KOMOLA KHEER?
Kamla lebu is orange in Bengali, or as my household knows it – santra. Payesh is kheer. So, Komlalebur payesh is basically a kheer (milk pudding) made out of oranges.
Like chena murki, this fruit is also a popular Bengali sweet dish and is often made at the start of winter’s grip when the seasonal fruit floods the market.
Both the taste and texture of orange kheer are refreshing, full of citrusy brightness that makes you pause and then puts you in the most cheerful mood. Considering that it’s ridiculously easy to make, the kheer is heavenly on the palate.
REASONS TO LOVE THIS KHEER RECIPE
(Partly) make-ahead dessert
Needs a handful of ingredients
Rare made with oranges Indian dessert
Great recipe for beginners as requires no skill
HOW TO MAKE ORANGE KHEER?
Step 1: We start by cooking full-fat milk and cardamom powder in a thick-bottomed pan on a low flame.
Step 2: Let it simmer and cook, stirring ever so frequently, till it’s nice and thick and reduces to one-third.
Step 3: Take it off the heat, add sugar and stir to dissolve.
Step 4: Allow the reduced milk to cool to room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator to chill.
Step 5: While the milk for orange kheer cooks, peel your oranges and cut them into small pieces.
Step 6: Stir the orange segments and orange zest into the chilled, creamy milk.
Step 7: Garnish with pistachio bits (for that lovely contrasting green), a few orange segments, and vark.
Final step: Serve!
- Take your time when peeling the oranges; save the skin for the zest but remove the pith. Also discard the seeds and thin, white membranes that cover each orange segment.
- I always say that when a recipe has a few ingredients, you really need to make them count. For this Bengali dessert, milk is high on the totem pole. Use full fat for the creamiest result.
- Stir as often as you can, so the milk doesn’t stick to the pan.
- Every kheer recipe asks for a patient wait while the milk cooks languorously. Since I made the orange kheer super thick, almost like a velvety custard, it took about an hour and a half.
- It can take longer depending on the consistency you want and the temperature of your stove. Keep in mind that the milk does get thicker as it cools.
A SHORTCUT RECIPE FOR KHEER
A faster way to make santre ki kheer is to use cornstarch slurry. If you started with 1 liter of milk, when it’s half in volume, whisk in a slurry made of a tablespoon of cornstarch and a tablespoon of cold milk. Add more if you want a thicker kheer.
The slurry works well to reach that perfect consistency. But this step is at your discretion. I make it both ways, with equally good results.
HALVE YOUR EFFORT
I like to split making komola kheer into two days. On the first day I just cook and reduce the milk, and then the next day I add in the oranges.
Not only is it easier on me, but it also gives the kheer time to properly chill, which is crucial because the milk will curdle if you mix in the oranges while it’s still hot.
STORING KOMOLA KHEER
Orange kheer keeps well for a day or two when stored in the refrigerator. Any longer and the taste will become tangier. Don’t freeze the kheer. It will curdle as it thaws. You can’t reheat santre ki kheer for the same reason.
Oranges: You want yummy citrusy ribbons running through the rich cream, so opt for the juiciest and sweetest oranges you can get your hands on. They should be fleshy and firm. Kinnow works well, and so do Malta, Mandarin, and Nagpur oranges.
Condensed milk: Sweetened condensed milk will lend more depth and dimension to your fruit kheer. If you opt for it, remember to adjust the sugar because the condensed milk will be sweet.
Add-ons: The flavor profile of orange kheer is very clean, and that’s what makes it so peachy keen. But if you want to add more character, accent the flavor with orange blossom water or even rose water.
Nuts: The gentle nuttiness of pistachios bring out a symphony of flavors in orange kheer. That said, they are my preference, and don’t let them limit you. Use the nuts of your choice. Fill it up with almonds if that’s where your love lies.
MORE MILK KHEER RECIPES
Suji Cashew Kheer/ Semolina Pudding
Carrot Seviyan Payasam (Carrot Vermicelli Kheer)
MORE ORANGE RECIPES
Orange Kheer | Santre Ki Kheer
- 1 ltr Milk, full-fat
- 1 tsp Cardamom powder
- 2-3 Oranges
- 1 tsp Orange zest
- 50 gms Granulated sugar
- Pistachios, Vark ( silver leaf), Orange segments for topping
- Combine the milk and cardamom powder in a thick-bottomed pan.
- Bring it to a boil on medium heat. Lower the heat and cook the milk, until it is reduced to 1/3 rd. Keep stirring and scraping the sides of the pan frequently.Milk would have thickened and changed color. The key is to cook on low heat.
- Add sugar. Stir well until dissolved.
- Take the pan off the heat and cool the milk. Refrigerate for a few hours to chill it.
- In the meanwhile, peel the oranges, and remove the membrane and seeds.
- Roughly chop the flesh.
- Add the chopped orange segments ( save some for topping) and orange zest to the chilled milk. Mix well.
- Transfer to your serving bowls and decorate with extra orange segments, chopped pistachio, and vark.Serve and enjoy!
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