Kheer…The Indian Rice Pudding

So here is the all time favourite! Its a delicious…creamy…rich…luxurious dessert! I am yet to come across any Indian who doesn’t like(i love) this yum sweet! When it comes to adding variations to it there are basically three…almond( badam), cardamom( elaichi) & saffron( kesar). When hosting an Indian dinner party, its the best dessert as it can be prepared well before time…and served either chilled or hot! As you wish! But beware…if you are counting your calories this is not a dessert for you..but then very few Indian desserts are calorie friendly! So when you plan to make this dessert remember…you need patience as well as time! But its definitely worth all the time! I personally like the saffron/kesar flavour the most…which one is do you prefer??

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Ingredients
1/2 cup rice( basmati)
2 lt. Milk( non skimmed)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup chopped almonds(optional)
1/4 cup dried coconut flakes( optional)
1/4 cup raisins
1tsp cardamom powder or few strands of saffron or 1/2 cup almond paste.
1 tbsp ghee/oil

How to make it
Wash the rice and soak overnight In 1/2 lt. Milk.
After 8 hours of soaking drain the milk out of the rice through a sieve. Now bring all of the milk to a boil.
Simultaneously melt the ghee in a heavy bottomed deep sided pan.
Add in the rice and sauté till the rice are translucent.they will look something like shown below.

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Now add in the boiling milk and keep stirring on medium flame till the rice is cooked and when you press a grain of rice between your fingers it mashes completely.

Add in the sugar and stir till it dissolves. ( if you add the sugar before the rice is cooked, they wont cook more as adding the sugar retards the cooking of rice!)

Next add in the flavouring of choice along with all the dry fruits.

For cardamon kheer: simply add the cardamom powder.
For almond kheer : add the almond paste! Plus an additional 1/2 cup milk!
For the saffron kheer : soak the saffron in 1 tbsp of warm milk, and then grind with mortar and pestle till it is well dissolved and rich saffron in colour. Add this milk to the kheer.

Once you have added the flavouring and the dry fruits allow the kheer to simmer away on low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 10 minutes so that it does not stick to the base.

Allow it to cool and then serve garnished with chopped nuts, as you desire hot or chilled!

PS: the kheer thickens on cooling, so you will have to moderate it according to your preference, but a consistency resembling condensed milk tastes the best!
To moderate the consistency you add some milk, or to thicken it let it simmer for a bit longer.

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