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Roh Di kheer (Sugarcane Juice Kheer)(Sugarcane Juice And Rice Kheer)

Lohri Diyan Sab Nu Lakh Lakh Wadhayian !

ਲੋਹੜੀ ਦੀਨ ਸਬ ਨਵੀਂ ਲੱਖ ਲੱਖ ਵਾਧਿਆਨ

A lot of people are unaware of that the word Lohri comes from ‘Tilohri’ i.e. ‘til’ meaning sesame and ‘rorhi’ meaning jaggery/gur. In due course, the festival was just referred to as Lohri. Both Sesame seeds and Jaggery warm and cleanse our body and rejuvenate (refresh) us for the New Year. Jaggery, Rewdi, gajak, til ki chikki , popcorns , puffed rice (Murmura) (Kurmura) are offered to the divine fire , is a way of people paying respect and gratitude to the Lord of Fire and nature. It is believed that the God of Fire on this day helps cleanse all the negativity from our life and blesses us with immense prosperity. Basically both Jaggery and sesame seeds keep us warm during winters and are prodigious immunity boosters.

Lohri is celebrated all over India , especially in Punjab with great fervor and enthusiasm. A festival full of ardor. Lohri is celebrated to mark the Harvest Season especially the Rabi Crops. In Punjab Peanuts, radish , mustard and sugarcane are grown in plethora and  copiousness and is harvested. Lohri is a festival where families and loved ones gather together , light the sacred bonfire which a beautiful ritual, sing folk songs, dance on the beats of dhols and enjoy gorging on delectable Sweets and various foods. Children go to each door of the homes in Punjab and sing ..Sunder Mundriye Ho! Tera kaun vicharaa… Ho! Dullah Bhatti walla !!

An assortment of sweet treats and savoury dishes too are prepared and relished along with the loved ones on this festival. Usually the delicacies and food have an incorporation of sesame seeds and Jaggery in it.

Winter vegetables and fruits are also used extensively in the food dishes.

In various states of India they are known by various different names.

Lohri in Punjab. It has various other traditions amalgamated and blended in it.

Makar Sankranti is known by various names:

Magha Ra Saza in Himachal Pradesh

Magh Bihu (Bhogali Bihu) in Assam

Khichdi Sankranti in Uttar Pradesh

Sankranthi in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh

Thai Pongal in Tamil Nadu

Poush Sankranti in West Bengal

Uttarayan in Gujarat

Makra Sankranti in Maharashtra, Odisha, Goa and Karnataka.

Roh Di Kheer…

The tradition of cooking this lip-smacking  ‘kheer’ is well documented in the Punjabi literature. As the old saying goes  ‘Poh ridhi, Magh khadi’ is prevalent even now, meaning meaning kheer is prepared on the last day of the month of Poh “Lohri” and is eaten on the first day of the next month of “Magh”. It  is cooked on last day of Punjabi calendar month ‘Poh’ and relished on the first day of  the month ‘Magh’. ‘Roh di kheer’ is prepared by slow cooking rice in the sugarcane juice. It is served cold the next morning , eaten in breakfast with curd, some people also add a little red chilli in the curds.

As per the Punjabi calendar, ‘Magh’ marks the end of winters and the beginning of bright summers.

This sweet or kheer is a delicacy from Punjab where sugarcane is grown in plenty. The kheer is slow cooked with various aromatics that enhance the sweet earthiness of the kheer…. with sugarcane juice and fragrant rice, mixed nuts, lightly toasted peanuts, flavoured with green cardamom Powder, sprinkled with rock salt and garnished with  Almonds and Cashew nuts. A speciality that is made during the winter festival of Lohri, it is considered to have a calming effect on the stomach. Although traditionally it is prepared over a coal stove or Mitti di Angidhi or Chulha, it can also be made on a gas stove, on a low flame.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 to 1 ½ hours

Refrigeration Time: 01 hour if  consumed on the same day / overnight if it has to be consumed on the next day

Serves: 4

Ingredients and Quantity:

Sugarcane Juice- 10 cups

Basmati Rice- ½ cup

Green Cardamom Powder- 1/4th tsp.

Almonds, lightly toasted: 1 tbsp.

Cashew nuts, lightly toasted- 1 tbsp.

Roasted peanuts, skinned- 1 tbsp.

Rock Salt- a pinch

For the Straining:

Muslin cloth for straining the sugar cane juice- ½ metre.

For the Clarification Process:

Milk – 1 tbsp.

For the Garnish:

Almonds, lightly toasted: 1/2 tbsp.

Cashew nuts, lightly toasted- 1/2 tbsp.

Dried and Edible Rose Petals- 2 tsp. (Optional)


In the villages (Pind) of Punjab, this delicacy is prepared on Mitti Di Angithi. But since cities do not have this kind of a facility we may prepare it on a gas stove on a low flame. Strain the Sugarcane juice through a muslin cloth. Pick, wash and drain Rice. Set aside.

In a heavy bottomed deep pan, add sugarcane juice bring it to a boil. Add Milk to it. You will see that after a few minutes the impurities will float on the top of the juice. With the help of a ladle discard the impurities and add rice.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours till the sugarcane juice is slightly thick in consistency and the kheer is velvety and smooth. Ensure that you stir the kheer occasionally. Add green cardamom powder to it.
Add almonds , cashew nuts and peanuts to the kheer.

Sprinkle a pinch of Rock Salt. Mix Well. Remove from the flame. Let it cool.
Pour in the Traditional Kulad / Kasoras / Earthenware pots. Refrigerate for 01 hour and serve chilled garnished with almonds and Jaggery.

Chef Tips:

  1. It is usually prepared on the night of Lohri Festival , chilled and consumed in the morning of Maaghi also known as Makar Sankranti in Breakfast with yogurt or curd.
  2. You may use Broken Basmati Rice for this preparation.
  3. Do not add sugar or jaggery in the preparation of this kheer as sugarcane has loads of natural sugars in it.

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