Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

Good morning everyone,

Kheer is an Indian rice pudding that is a common element of a langar meal (a free meal available to one and all in Sikh gurdwaras).  It has delicate flavours, which vary but generally include saffron and cardamom.  It can also include coconut, though I have not used that in this recipe.

Kheer satisfies the husband unit’s sweet tooth.  Though he is watching his cholesterol, I do make this for him occasionally as a treat.  It took some practice to make a kheer that wasn’t too thick but the good news is that thick kheer can easily be brought back to the right consistency with the addition of a little milk while cooking.

Don’t skip the soaking first!  Soaking your rice helps it cook well in the milk and will reduce your cooking time significantly.

Kheer

1/2 cup basmati (or other long-grain) rice
5 cups full fat (3.25%) milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
3 – 4 strands of saffron
6 or 7 almonds, chopped
6 or 7 cashews, chopped
8 or 10 raisins (optional)

Rinse the rice under room temperature water until the water runs clear.  Soak the rice in enough lukewarm water to cover (about 1 1/2 cups) for 30 minutes.  Drain well and set aside.

Add milk to a heavy bottomed pot.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add the rice.  Reduce heat to medium-low and allow the rice to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once the rice is cooked, add the remaining ingredients.  Stir until well combined.  Allow kheer to simmer for 6 to 7 minutes.  The kheer should have a medium consistency, and fall easily off a spoon together.

Serve the kheer warm or chilled.  It will thicken more if chilled, so you can reduce the final simmer time to about 2 – 3 minutes to account for this.

Tips

You can easily reduce the sugar in this recipe by half, or substitute the granulated sugar for raw sugar or honey.

If you want to add coconut flakes to this recipe, add it early with the rice so it has time to soften a little.  Shredded, desicated coconut can be added (1/4 cup for this recipe) near the end of the cooking time.

You can skip the nuts as well in this recipe.

Some people add a little ghee to the kheer, but I try to avoid doing that as it adds cholesterol to a dish that is already mainly milk.

I have been told that this recipe can also be made with almond milk or soy milk though I have not tried that.  If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

Until next time,
Peace and love,
Himmat

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