Pez is the simplest of rice preparations. Goan parboiled red rice (Ukade Xitt/Tandool) is used to prepare it. It is a clear soup like gruel. Traditionally, it is cooked in a clay pot (modko) over a wood fired clay stove and served hot in clay bowls with a spoon made from the hard shell of coconut.
To prepare it, you need to first pick the rice, wash and soak in plenty of water and cook the rice till it becomes very tender. It is slow cooked as it is parboiled rice and thick grained. The cooked rice grains do not disintegrate and become mushy in the gruel but retains a slightly firm texture. You can easily and clearly see the separation of the cooked rice grains and the lightly cloudy water (gruel). The gruel does not contain too much starch as the rice grains are unpolished.
The cooked rice along with the water is called Pez / Kanjee / Kanji / Kangee / Canji / Conjee / Congee. It is quite popular in Asian countries and known by different names or /and spelt and pronounced differently in various states of India too.
It is a great comfort food. Many a time, babies are also weaned and fed as their first solid food. It is also given to persons recuperating from illness especially from fever and cold. In Goa, the village folk like to eat their hot bowl of Pez between 10 am and 11 am. Some Goan families also like to relish it in the evenings, before dinner time.
Pez is bland and tasteless by itself so you need to enjoy it with various accompaniments (tondak). We Goans love it with korom (sliced raw mango), chepnichi torra(raw mango water pickle), spiced tangy pickles, dry fish pickle (para) or fresh fish pickles (mole), roasted dry fish, papads, chilli fries and especially popular with kalchi kodi (leftover fish, prawn, meat or sorak with or without vegetables thickened curry of the previous/yesterday). It is absolutely delicious with the accompaniments I have listed above.
During the season of Lent when some may not fast but only observe partial fast or abstinence, do consume Pez with vegetarian pickles and seafood accompaniments. Today’s post is especially for Holy Week. You can cook Pez with any rice you like as all may not have access to the Goan Parboiled Rice (Ukde Tandool).
- 2 cups Goa Parboiled Rice (Ukde Tandool)
- 1 ½ litres Water or as needed (depending on how thin you want the gruel to be)
- Salt to taste
Pick, wash and soak the rice in water in a sufficiently large vessel along with salt for about 25 minutes.
Cook covered until the rice is very tender.
If cooking in a regular vessel then you need to first bring the contents to a rolling boil.
Then reduce heat and cook on low heat until it is tender.
You may adjust the water according to your requirements.
In case you like it with a lot of water and you think the Pez is too thick then adjust by adding hot water.
You may even use your pressure cooker for this for quick cooking.
Enjoy your bowl of Pez with your favorite accompaniments as mentioned above in the foreword.