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Sydney, Australia
My musings and meanderings on childhood - mine juxtaposed with that of my kids'. Everyday incidents and images from our life in Sydney turn my thoughts towards my own wonder years growing up in Bandra, Bombay, India.

24 June 2013

Milking it for All it's Worth

"Don't forget to boil the rice for lunch while I take C1 to her piano class," I told B as I rushed out the door.

B boiled the rice, alright! He boiled enough rice to feed a starving multitude. He boiled it so much, I could picture the long Basmati grains gathering together en masse for protection, pleading, “Save us!” as they congealed in a gluggy mess... Safety in numbers and all that.

I must clarify that B can cook a Masterchef-style three-course French meal, but a simple dal and rice will leave him stumped.

So, instead of having to force-feed the family rice for a week, I decided to make kheer (Indian rice pudding). As I stood in front of the stove, stirring the fragrant cardamom seeds into the scalding milk, chopping up the almonds, cashews and pistachios, my thoughts turned to my Uncle C and his 'milk moment' that has gone down in Pereira clan history...

A bowl of Kheer hits the sweet spot for an afternoon treat
Thanks to my Nana living at our D'monte Street cottage, the house always welcomed a steady stream of visitors. An aunt dropping in for a chit-chat, a neighbour coming across for a chinwag, cousins with their boy/girlfriends dropping in on their way home from college to say hello...

They would all sit around the square table in the "middle room" (not the hall) and one story would flow into another. This particular afternoon, Uncle C, back home from his early morning shift at GKW, had put the milk on the stove. (These were the days when milk was delivered to your front door in glass bottles with stripey alfoil covers and had to be boiled before use.) Knowing that a watched pot never boils, he returned to the middle room to join in the conversation with the rellies. The hands of the clock tick-tocked along...

Long after everyone had said their goodbyes, Nana and Uncle C went into the kitchen to find that not only had the milk boiled over ages ago, the a milk chatty (vessel) had a big, fat hole burnt right through it! While he thought there's was no point crying over spilt milk, the family has never let him forget the time he forgot about the milk.
Are you – or anyone in your family – noted for burning your meals? Any kitchen catastrophes? Have you ever made any version of rice pudding? What’s your favourite rice dish?


  1. Hehe it's funny that you mention rice because I find it quite difficult to make rice without a rice cooker! I think I've finally hit on the right method but it took many pots of gluggy rice to get there! :P

  2. You're right, Lorraine - getting the amount of water correct is so important when cooking rice. The thing is, growing up in India, we ate rice for lunch pretty much daily, so that's the first thing most Indians learn to cook.


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