Describe a Traditional Meal – IELTS Cue Card
Describe a traditional meal
You should say:
- what it is
- how you prepare it
- what ingredients are used to prepare it
- and explain why you enjoy it.
India, with its incredible variety of spices, is a home to millions of delicacies. In every nook and corner of the country, one can find a variety of food to challenge their taste buds and sense of smell. As I have a sweet tooth, I am going to share about my favourite sweet dish – payesh. It is a traditional dish in India which is prepared during special occasions like birthdays, marriages, baby showers, or any important celebration as prasad. As far as I can remember, I came across it on my first birthday and instantly fell in love with the tasty dish.
Payesh is a rice-based pudding and is known by different names in different parts of the country. It can be the kheer of North India or the payasam of the South. It has a very subtle taste and the basic ingredients are ghee, rice, milk and sugar. It has a thick consistency and is normally white in color. Some of the ingredients may vary depending on the taste of the maker or the occasion or season in which it is made. Rice is considered sacred as it represents the prosperity of the country and as a result, it is part of every auspicious event. A special type of rice named gobindobhog, which is a short grain rice with a pleasing fragrance, is used by people of Bengal. But nowadays, rice is being replaced by vermicelli, millet or even oats that is considered one of the healthy options by most Indians today.
Sugar is also losing its position to other sugar- free supplements and jaggery due to the health conscious youth. To add flavour to the main dish, a variety of items are used like almonds or other dry fruits, coconut, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon powder or other dairy products like quark. Sometimes, rose water and rose petals are added to give the dish an aromatic touch and make it as pleasing to the eyes as to the tongue.
Kheer or payesh takes about forty five minutes to one hour to prepare. The process is quite simple. The maximum time is needed to boil the milk properly. The ghee is heated before the milk is poured into it. Until the milk starts boiling and the consistency thickens, the rice cannot be poured into it. When the milk is ready, the rice is put into it and is left like that until it has become soft. Frequent stirring is required during the process so that the food is not burnt at the bottom. Ultimately, the sugar is added and mixed well with the rice and the milk. When the payesh is ready, the other savory ingredients like raisins, cashews, and coconut are added before taking it down from the oven. The end product can be decorated with crushed nuts and rose petals on the top.
Payesh is normally served either in the beginning, that is, if it has been offered to the gods during worship or at the end as a sweet dish to end the feast with sweet memories. I like this preparation because it is quite simple to make compared to the other sweet dishes. In spite of that, the taste is mouth-watering and the aroma of the rice and milk mixed together will tease all your senses. I feel that it is best eaten cold and it will leave you wanting more.
- delicacies – something pleasing to eat that is considered rare or luxurious
Eg: The royal chef prepared a number of delicacies from all over the world for the Prince’s birthday.
- Nook and corner – in all the places or corners
Eg: My sister looked for her favourite dress in every nook and corner of her room, but could not find it.
- consistency – the way in which a substance holds together; thickness
Eg: The batter of the cake did not have the right consistency and so the cake became sloppy.
- Auspicious – attended by good fortune
Eg: On the auspicious occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, she bought her own house.
- Quark – a type of low-fat curd cheese
Eg: The doctor told Meena to feed quark to her daughter every day when she fell ill.
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