Happy Makar Sankranti, Botnevri Kheeri - Guest Post 1

After displaying my collection of books here bought during my last trip, today I would like to mention about my recent and priceless addition to Konkani/ Amchi cuisine and that is "The Konkani Saraswat Cuisine" book. Though the FB page of the book mentioned its availability through Sapna Book House in Bangalore, I tried to meet the author, Mrs Asha Satish Philar and was lucky enough to get an autographed book from her. It was like dream come true meeting her, holding her hands, talking to her and the excitement got dugna when we [me and family] got to relish some delicious snacks and goodies prepared by aunty herself. 

About the book I must say one of the best book presented so nicely with collection of numerous recipes and colorful pictures to drool on. The recipe titles are listed in Konkani as well as English for recollection/ better understanding in case of non-amchis, and for quick search they are indexed alphabetically too. Newbies who find difficult to know about the ingredients mentioned in the book can refer the glossary section listing out its equivalent in English, Konkani and Hindi languages. It covers some special sections such as Home remedies, Festival menus, Babies and new mothers, Papdis and vadis, which I feel will be really useful to nuclear family in those special occasions. The recipes are with detailed cooking instructions, tips, after notes, possible substitutions and with accurate measurements [ which I feel not very easy task].  In short, I felt its not just new learners out there but whoever loves to cook should possess this book. 

After returning back home [post India trip], I browsed through the content section of book to locate a sweet recipe and prepare for Sankranti/ Pongal [which is celebrated on 14th January]. When I reached page no 169 I read about "Botnevri Kheeri". Though the name was new to me,  I remembered seeing the photos posted by Asha aunty some time back, those tiny nevris (karanjis) dipped in kheer. I eagerly wanted to try this but looking at the steps felt it to be an elaborate one that required proper planning and execution with great minuteness. With no experience for this particular recipe, I felt I should try this some other time. Browsing through further recipes, an idea popped up in mind  - why not ask Asha aunty to do a guest post for Flavors and Colors. I have been wanting to host a series of guest posts where in the guests would share some delicious unique recipes or the recipes which they have mastered [ the art of preparing them]. Thought why not start the series with this first festival of the year 2014. When I messaged Asha aunty, she instantly agreed and happily chose the above unique recipe itself with step by step photos. Thank you so much Asha aunty. 

Here is what she has to write:

My dearest Aparna,
Its such an honour to post a recipe in your esteemed blog, http://flavorsandcolorsbyaparna.blogspot.com/ 

"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother "
 ~ Abraham Lincoln.
I have learnt a lot of cooking from my dear mother, late Smt. Susheela Aroor by just watching her do when young. 

Today the 13th January 2014 marks the 2nd Anniversary of the release of my cookbook " The Konkani Saraswat Cookbook!" . The second edition of the cookbook was launched on 18th October 2013 which makes it clear how people have loved and accepted my humble work. I thank all my friends and dear ones for their fond wishes and encouragement throughout. With Pongal festival in the offing, I chose this unique exotic kheer "Botnevriyan Kheeri or Kheer With Small Nevris" for this very first festival of the year 2014  - recipe to be my guest post on your blog !  

This kheer was made occasionally as its very elaborate and the most delicious among the kheers and I name it the "Queen of the kheers!" The other reasons for liking it is because I had prepared this kheer once while writing my cookbook and the joy of making it and narrating the procedure with precision was immense. Next time it was prepared to offer as nevidya [Prasad] on the auspicious day of Vijaydashmi, 9th October 2010 when the first true copy of the cookbook was offered to Goddess at their lotus feet and we seeked blessings. My first joy in holding my creation was unsurmountable, eyes moist with exuberance, we, my husband and I were so excited. All fond people, my parents, my in-laws and all elders, their love and blessings rushed through my mind and we felt blessed. 

Here is the recipe fondly passed on to me by my loving mother ... sharing with you all today.


For the Casing
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tbsp ghee

For the filling
1 cup coconut, grated finely or ground
1/2 cup jaggery, grated finely

For the Kheer
3 cups coconut milk
2 cups jaggery
1 tbsp rice flour, make a paste with little warm water
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
3 - 4 cups water


Mix all the ingredients for the casing, except the ghee to a smooth paste and steam cook to make a stiff dough, or cook the batter over a low flame until it is thick and forms a mass.

To make the nevris, grease your palms with oil or ghee and knead the dough until smooth. Make balls of the dough the size of a large berry. To make the filling, mix the coconut and jaggery to make a moist mixture. Divide the filling into as many heaps as there are balls. Now take a ball at a time and pat it on left palm to make a small puri about 1.5 inches in diameter. 

Place a little coconut filling on one side of it and fold the casing over to form a crescent shaped nevri. Press down the sides to seal the nevri. Finish all the nevris in the same way. Place them on a greased metal plate and steam cook for about 15 minutes on low heat.

Now to make kheer, boil water and jaggery in a heavy bottomed pan till the jaggery dissolves. Strain it of any impurities, then reheat it over a low flame. Add the rice flour paste and cook, stirring every now and then [to prevent the paste from getting burnt at the paste] until the jaggery syrup thickens a little. Add some water if necessary. Slide the steamed nevris into the syrup and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and stir gently so as not to break nevris. Turn off the heat and add cardamom powder.

Botnevri Kheer is ready to serve. Enjoy !

Thank you Asha mayi for taking your time out, sharing an almost forgotten recipe and writing such a lovely post for readers here.

I am also happy to do this post on a date when it coincides with the 2nd Anniversary of the cookbook. Congrats on this achievement and wishing you many more success and feathers in your cap !

With this sweet post, I wish all my readers 
A very Happy Makar Sankranti,  Lohri and Pongal !!!