Kheer is an Indian rice pudding made from rice and milk, infused with aromatic spices such as cloves and cardamom. It is commonly made during Indian prayer ceremonies or eaten as a snack. The origin of kheer in the Hindu culture is mentioned in Ayurveda scriptures which means it has some healing or nutritional value. Cloves, milk, rice are all very nourishing ingredients and have a wonderful effect on the mind and body. An interesting fact was that the Romans used their own version of kheer as a stomach coolant! I can see how that could be the case. Eating cold kheer has always felt very nice in the belly to me.
One fantastic combination with kheer is puri. You just cannot go wrong mixing fried dough with boiled rice! In all seriousness, I do not know why it works, it just does. During prayers (puja) little bite sized pieces of puri with kheer is distributed to everyone. As a kid, I always set it aside to eat last. It was not my favourite back then but I grew to love it immensely as an adult. I guess being a child, you only want to eat the mithai (sweets) for the sugar rush.
I often make kheer to pair with masala chai as a tea time snack. In Fiji, we love our tea time probably more than any other time of the day. Delicious snacks, tea and a good catchup with family at the end of a work day is very therapeutic. I love to eat my kheer cold, kept in the fridge for at least a few hours. It feels more like a dessert this way and because I always put in sultanas, they also swell up nicely by absorbing the milk and pop in the mouth with every bite.
A few things to keep in mind when making kheer:
- Cook on low heat as you want the milk to simmer and get absorbed into the rice, not dry up in a few minutes and burn
- Make sure your rice is thoroughly washed to avoid any excess starchy residue
- Do not use basmati or brown rice for kheer, it will not absorb any flavours. Instead use Jasmine, calrose, long or medium grain rice. I use Jasmine rice for its aroma and ample starch content but find that long grain rice tastes the best
- If your rice is difficult to cook, pre-cook the rice with some water, before adding the milk
- Keep a close eye on the cooking process to make sure the kheer does not dry out too quickly. Add more milk if necessary.
2 Tbsp Ghee
1 Cup Rice, Washed and Drained
2 Litres Milk
½ Cup Sugar (¼ cup if you like it less sweet)
¼ Cup Sultanas (Raisins)
½ Tsp Cardamom Powder
6 Chopped Almonds (Skin Removed)
- Heat the ghee in a pot and add rice. Cook for 2minutes on low heat
- Add the cloves, milk and sugar and stir to combine the flavours
- Let it come to a boil, add sultanas then cover and simmer till the rice is cooked
- Stir the kheer every few minutes or the rice will begin to catch to the bottom of the pot
- Check to see if the rice is cooked by pressing it on the back of a spoon with your finger (make sure it’s not too hot)
- When the rice is cooked (the kheer should be thick and creamy with a little excess milk), turn off the heat, add cardamom powder and almonds, stir and remove from heat
- Serve at room temperature or cold, by itself or pair with puri or tea
Note: The rice will continue to absorb the milk after the heat has been turned off so be sure not to dry out all the milk and let it cool while saturated.