Tarana is a rice flour based dessert from Odisha. Very very unique to Odisha. The finely ground rice/rice flour is cooked in simmered milk and sweetened with sugar or jaggery resulting in a buttery smooth desert that’s not only light in texture but also gluten free and vegetarian . Tarana is good on your palate as well as on your digestive system. If you are lactose intolerant, you can use almond milk or oat milk. Tarana takes literally 30 minutes to make and can be served warmed up or chilled and the taste is very similar to Khira Gaintha|Kheer Puli |Milky Rice Dumplings
Honestly speaking, I haven’t heard about Tarana until my sister told me about it. She knows I love my Odia desserts or any dessert that’s rice based. Its her recipe and I followed it to the T. I usually mess around the recipes and add my personal touch to it (call me control freak) but not with this Tarana recipe. I wasn’t in slightest doubt about the taste nd texture of this dish. She knows my taste very well or else she wouldn’t have nudged me to try it.
Also, what great timing, right? Today is Utkal Divas and I’m getting to celebrate Utkal Divas with this very Odia dessert. Oh just to let you know, don’t confuse Tarana with Rose Pistachio Phirni. In Phirni, the rice is coarsely grinded, but here in the Tarana dish, the rice flour is used.
Now a little history on Tarana – while making Manda Pitha (Rice Dumplings with Coconut Filling), the dough or the ‘khali’ sticks to the walls of the container. Instead of throwing away the scrapings, the cooks pour milk and sugar into the pot and mix the scrapes of the manda pitha dough in it. That’s the origin of Tarana. It’s flavored with green cardamom and bay leaf.
Here is the recipe –
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 3 cups milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tea spoon cardamom powder
- 1 cup sugar
- edible rose petals (optional)
- Boil 2 cups of milk. Then simmer for 10 minutes once it comes to a boil
- Add the bay leaf, sugar and cardamom powder into the simmering milk
- Mix the remaining 1 cup milk with 1/2 cup rice flour and make sure there are no lumps
- Slowly add the rice flour mixture into the simmering milk and keep whisking to void lumps. This step is very important. You have to keep whisking the milk in low heat or else it will take seconds to burn the dish
- Once you notice Tarana started to thicken up, you can lower the heat even more and keep stirring for another 7/8 minutes
- Turn off the heat and cover
- Enjoy chilled or warm