Saturday, January 13, 2007

KamlaLebur Kheer or Orange Kheer

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...Orange Kheer in want of a better name. Kamlalebu in Bengal, is what is Narangi, Santra or Orange in different parts of India.

Kamlalebu or Orange is a fruit which I closely associate with the mild Winters back home in India. Come winter and the markets would flood with these small round glossy skinned orange colored beauties. The Darjeeling Orange I am familiar with were grown in Orchards in the hills of Darjeeling and would come down to the plains of West Bengal around the months of November-December
By then the finals and later the half-yearly’s would be over and school would break for a reasonably long stretch of winter vacation. Every day after our mid morning bath the ritual would be to head for the terrace or chaat with oranges in one hand and a book in the other.
Sitting there soaking up the soft orange sun, peeling the oranges, popping one koa (or segment) after other , the sweet juice exploding the taste buds and being lost in the novel which had been neglected for the exams or the Anandamela ( a very popular childern's magazine in Bengali) which had arrived just that morning…that was life, warm, sweet and carefree.

My Ma like most other Bengali households would make this Kamlalebur Kheer during these months and serve it as a dessert with luchi & alurdum or by itself. It is pretty easy to make and considering the very little effort that goes into it, it’s heavenly to taste.

What you Need
Whole Milk ~ 1 litre
Sweetened Condensed Milk ~ 1 can
Sugar ~ 1/2 cup

Clementines or Oranges ~ 7 or 8 . I used clementines , you can try with other sweet oranges like mandarin oranges. You can also use canned mandarin oranges.

How I Did It

Peel the oranges and separete out the segments
Take out the transparent thin film/skin and the white thread like thingy from each of the segments and make small pieces
Heat Milk in a deep pan
Bring the milk to boil and then stir it intermittently
Add a can of condensed milk and continue the process of stirring
When the milk has reduced a little add the sugar
Keep on stirring continuously at medium heat till the milk has reduces to almost ¼ the initial volume. By this time the color of the milk would take on a creamy hue and it would have thickened. Continuous stirring is necessary else the milk may stick to the bottom and burn
The consistency is now like smooth kheer
Pour in a serving bowl and put in the refrigerator.
After 2 hours or when it has cooled down add the orange pieces and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours
Serve chilled

Note: I made this yesterday night but it tastes even better when I am having it right now in the morning, all that overnight saoking has made the milk/kheer soak up the orange flavor

Updated on April 15th, 2013: To make a quick and cheater's version of this dish, in a sauce pan add 1/2 cup milk + 1 cup condensed milk. Mix and bring to a boil. Keep stirring and let the milk thicken. will be done in like 15 mins or so. Now pour in a serving glass bowl and chill in refrigerator. Once cool add the orange segments.

Here in the US I was initially and even now baffled with the choice of Oranges offered. Product of various mutation I have a varying choice from Navel Oranges to California Oranges and the Valencia to the Mandarin orange and I still am not sure which I should pick

The closest that I have found to the small, sweet Orange popular in India, known as Kamlalebu in Bengali is a fruit called Clementine. Clementines are commonly called mikan in Japan, satsuma in the UK and Southern United States, and clementine or tangerine in Canada. Its fruit is sweet and usually seedless, about the size of a mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata), smaller than an orange. One of the distinguishing features of the clementine is the distinctive thin, leathery skin dotted with large and prominent oil glands, which is lightly attached around the fruit; enabling it to peeled very easily in comparison to other citrus fruits. They are widely available in the US from November to January-February

What I like about Clementines is that they peel very easily and easily separate into several juicy segments a feature similar to my familiar Orange in India. Since Clementine too is a hybrid but between Tangerine and pomerans, I am not sure if the Orange or Santra or kamlalebu in India was also a Clementine or some other hybrid of orange

I am sending this over for this weeks Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging to Coffe & CornBread. Hope all of you like this simple and delicious dessert

Trivia:It has been proposed that Clementine was "originally an accidental hybrid said to have been discovered by Father Clément Rodier in the garden of his orphanage in Misserghin, Algeria."


  1. Sitting there soaking up the soft orange sun, peeling the oranges, popping one koa (or segment) after other , the sweet juice exploding the taste buds and being lost in the novel which had been neglected for the exams or the Anandamela ( a very popular childern's magazine in Bengali) which had arrived just that morning…that was life, warm, sweet and carefree.'ve made me heavily nostalgic. Those were certainly the days. Especially if you were in a West Bengal-board school, winters would be extra-special due to the long end-of-classes vacation.

    Good Kamlalebu, of the same consistency and sweetness of the Darjeeling ones is tough to find in the US (as you mentioned). Occasionally I will find a box of South African or South American clementines that are nice and sweet.

  2. Sandeepa,DD was reading over my shoulders "that looks really yummy" was her comment. We have plans to make it real soon. I have the same problem, still overwhelmed with all the choice of oranges. The easily peelable oranges that we get back home were called Kamala oranges.

  3. Hi Sandeepa
    Super easy desert. I have never tried bengali cusine, now I got ur blog so will try some from ur's.

  4. Yeah Bongo, those were the days. I really miss soaking up the sun. Not a season here is worthwhile for that either it's too warm or too cold outside

    Indo, This dessert is very easy to make also and Guessing that DD is your 8yr old you can ask her to help you doing this

    Yeah maybe all bengali cuisine may not exactly suit your tastbeuds but the Desserts surely will :)

  5. brought back some fond memories of life in India..How I loved to go on the terrace and read those "amar chitra Kathas" "Mandrake the Magician's comics...and of course, there was always something to eat..Guavas sprinkled with chilis and salt, Jamuns...mangoes..whatever!

    I've been eating a LOT of tangerines lately...and using it in a kheer is an excellent idea.


  6. Orange Kheer sounds good....will try it... never had it before, but won't be long...i be making one soon.

  7. Hi Sandeepa,what a novel idea!! Looks delicious and thank you for the recipe.We just bought a huge bag of Oranges,guess I have make this!!:)) Happy Sankranti!

  8. Sandeepa, beautiful write-up lady as always. Loved reading each and every word of it. Brought back all the old memories. Thankx a bunch and the photos are also as juicey and beautiful as the oranges.

  9. Trupti
    I love the way you share your stories and views in your comments. And the Mandrake, my hubby loves those and Phantom and the other day he was talking about "Bahadur", did you read that ?

    Missed you the last week, good to see you back in circuit

    I am sure you are going to turn this into a one more beautiful creation but be careful about the oranges you use, they should be sweet & small

    Just wrote a comment on your post and now see you here :) Thank You

  10. Sandeepa...well written post..
    Kheer looks delicious..we just brought some sweet navel oranges...will these work for this recipe?.

  11. What a lovely post!!! I love the way you write, almost like talking to us!!! :)

    The combo sounds amazing..... orange and kheer!!!1 Never knew they would go together!!!!! And your first pic of oranges is super!!! Have you seen my painting of orange??? And coincodently, the place where I stay is also called as Mandrin Gardens!!!!! WAH!!! too much of orange heheheeh

  12. My dear friend Sandeepa, great to see your comment. Yea been really busy but meaning to post a recipe later today I hope. Many thanks for passing by and saying hi…it heartens me know to know that I have such lovely friends as yourself…take care and thanks again…my best wishes to you and your family….have a great weekend….catch you later

  13. Love this recipe-kheer with fresh oranges! Will try it sometime for sure! Thanks, Sandeepa!

  14. Sandeepa,
    great sweet.Thanks fro sharing it.It is not only easy to preapare also a bengali traditional sweet.Happy sankranti to u and ur family members

  15. Lovely recipe ..I guess its more of a orange basundi...I can smell the oranges from your pix.

  16. it certainly a very healthy dessert/breakfast! I like the fragrance from its skin!

  17. Coffee,
    Just saw your Still Life, very very beautiful, you are really talented

    I am not very sure, as long as the orange is sweet and you can make small pieces (as in Pic 3) it should be fine

    Vani & DilipJi

    Yeah it's not like "traditional" traditional, but most bengali household makes it during winter

    Thanks for dropping by

    It's too sweet and full of calories for breakfast but I would love to have it any time :)

  18. Very interesting. It sounds like a lovely combination of flavors.

  19. Thanks Kalyn though I think you will not have this because it does not fall in the South Beach category. Can you add splenda instead of sugar to make it South Beach ?

  20. Wow - this looks really yummy. I have been looking for this recipe for a long time. Do you have the recipe for Aam-kheer?

  21. I came to your beautiful blog through One hot stove. This is one lovely recipe which I would love to make. Do you by any chance know what I could use to replace the sweetened condensed milk? This is an old post of yours, but in case you still want to know, The Indian oranges are wrongly called oranges and are actually maderines. Since I have studied botany, i know it for sure. :)
    And Clementines are a variety of maderines.

  22. Got this link thru Nupur and this was one fantastic kheer! I did hv my doubts over citrus n milk combo..but no longer..this sure is a keeper sweet! It surely tastes too good after maturing for a day!!! Thks so much to you and Nupur!

  23. Hello Sandeepa,
    Wonderfully easy recipe! Keep up the great work!!

  24. You have replicated childhood memories so beautifully in this lovely post. Incidentally I just did a post on Orange Kheer on my site.

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Hi Sandeepa,

    Hope I got your name right. :) I am a Bengali bachelor living in South Africa for a while. And although for a lot of years I have eaten in restaurants and had take aways for lunch and supper everyday. Suddenly the Bangali Khaddo Roshik( The food connossiuer Maybe this is not the literal translation. But I believe that we Bengalis are experts in appreciating good food) has come to the fore.
    And even though I had never ever had any relation to the kitchen except to make my self a cup of tea or pour a bowl of cereal I have started to cook and without any recipes to go (Bangali moms only pass their cooking secrets to their daughters sadly not to their sons) by, am using memory of how the things used to taste back home and cook them accordingly. And on top a lot of condiments and oils esp Shorsher tel are not available here.

    I have made payesh, alu sheddho, bangla biriyani, aloo phulkopir chocchori, beguni etc and I think they came out pretty well. I had a few friends of mine taste these and even though none of them is Indian they were all impressed. In fact the ladies were more than impressed :) (Maybe me not having a penchant for hot food made it easier, as everything I cook as called in restaurant lingo here is "mild")

    I was going through your blog and am impressed I think we should make a serious effort to preserve our bengali ranna especially with people staying overseas. So this is a step in the right direction

    A few suggestions, maybe you should add pictures of the food in different stages of its preparation, that way for Noobs like me can get an idea if we are doing it right. Like for your kheer recipe I am not sure about what yoy mean when you say about reducing the milk to 1/4th if I could see how it looks maybe it will make it easier. Although yes a lot of things might not be very clear in a picture but some of them might (Oh I am sorry I saw some of your other recipes and I see that some of them have pics of the food in between as well :)

    Another, maybe I havent noticed it and you actually have it. You should have a section for other visitors to post their recipes and from them you could feature some of them.

    Anyways thanks for all the recipes will definitely try cooking them and will also let you know what I used in lieu of whatever is not available here..

    Wish you, your family and all the readers of your blog "Happy Holidays"........


  27. Thank you for the lovely story and the recipe. I will certainly try this out. One question for you, have you ever tried this kheer in a microwave? Do let me know.
    Thanks again for such a visual treat.

  28. This and roshomalai were by far my favourite desserts, especially when my amma (thakuma) made it! I am lazy, so instead of stirring milk for hours trying to thicken it, I start with a can of evaporated milk, and add half that can of heavy cream and let it thicken. The consistency turns out beautifully, and I add just enough sugar to taste. I find condensed milk cloyingly sweet sometimes. Lovely post, again! Makes me so nostalgic!

  29. Lovely recipe Sandeepadi. I'm going to make it in Mumbai and pass on the recipe to my sister in the US too. I have used evaporated milk to make "basundi" and I've also used half n half + 2% milk in equal proportions. In the latter, one can control the sugar content but of course the fat content remains. Another cheat is to make a fine paste with 2 slices of white bread without the crust and whole milk - then you can do away with the condensed milk, half n half et all and use this mixture + whole milk. One adds the bread paste after the milk has boiled 15-20 minutes. This gives you a delicious cheer without the tediousness and there is no bread taste.

  30. I made this today and it was so delicious. I like how thick and creamy it is. I find many traditional Indian kheer's too much on the thin side for my liking of pudding.


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