Classic Indian rice pudding

Classic Indian rice pudding

By
From
I Love India
Serves
4-5
Photographer
Martin Poole

Most Diwalis, my parents threw a party, and Mum always made an Indian dessert to end the meal. Kheer was one of her regular choices; it is cooling, light and normally just a small bowl hits the spot. There are a lot of different types of kheers (carrot, mango, orange, beetroot, pumpkin), but rice is the most traditional. We always eat this chilled, so it is made the night before, which is so helpful. But when I was filming, the (non-Indian) director insisted it was his favourite Indian dessert… but that he only ever ate it warm. I’m not sure if this was a British rice pudding/Indian kheer hybrid – or if there are others who eat it warm – but I leave you to decide how to eat yours. If you are serving it warm, you can reduce the amount of sugar to taste (chilled foods need that bit more).

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 litre whole milk
21/2 tablespoons basmati rice, washed well and soaked for 1 hour
large pinch ground cardamom, or to taste
pinch saffron threads, plus more to serve (optional)
6 tablespoons condensed milk
10 almonds, blanched and finely chopped
10 unsalted pistachios, finely chopped

Method

  1. Heat the milk in a heavy-based saucepan over a low heat, bringing it to a simmer. If the heat is too high, the milk will rise in the pan. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring often, then add the rice. Cook gently, stirring often, for about 1 hour, or until the rice is soft. Stir often, scraping the base of the pan to make sure the milk does not catch.
  2. About two-thirds of the way through, add the spices and condensed milk and continue cooking until the rice is soft and the milk has thickened. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  3. Once cool, chill in the fridge overnight.
  4. Stir in half the nuts, sprinkle with the remaining nuts and a little more saffron, if you like.
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