I’ve never really been a rice pudding kind of gal. It’s just not something I ever crave or think of. There is one exception though – the rice pudding at Vij’s.
Besides it being sprinkled with gold flakes, it is infused with greed cardamom and is so creamy and delicious; I always look forward to ending my meal with their rice pudding. It’s indulgent, yet not too rich or heavy, and it possesses a subtle sweetness.
I finally decided to take the plunge and make my own version of kheer, or Indian rice pudding.
Rice pudding, as I’ve discovered, is easy as pie. There is minimal effort involved and can be made in a hurry if you need a last minute dessert. There are only a few elements in rice pudding: rice, milk, sugar. You can make a very simple, albeit traditional, rice pudding this way. But to further elevate it, you can switch up the types of rice, veganize it with milk alternatives, and even incorporate other mix-ins, extracts and infusions.
In terms of kheer, my version is infused with green cardamom pods, cinnamon and saffron and topped with a good amount of sultana raisins and blanched almonds. Let’s not forget the finishing touch of rosewater to really bring this dish together. It’s a departure from the standard rice pudding which is what I love so much about it.
In my initial research, I was weary about the rice to milk ratio but one I made it, I could certainly see why. Basmati, a long-grained rice typically found in Indian and Persian cuisines, is the preferred rice varietal in this dessert and like any rice, expands quickly with liquid. The flavour itself lends a subtle coconut flavour but personally, I feel the flavour from the toppings and mix-ins are more dominant. You get creaminess, you get crunchiness, you get bite – there is a lot going on! It’s a perfect ending to a spicy, accompanying Indian meal.
KHEER - serves 6
¼ cup basmati rice, soaked for 1 hour
1 can coconut milk
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
6 green cardamom seeds
2 cups almond milk
slivered almonds, sultana raisins, toasted coconut flakes
Drain the soaking basmati rice and pour into a small pot with the coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon stick, saffron and rose water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
As soon as the mixture begins to thicken, slowly dribble in the almond milk and cook until you reach your desired consistency. If your kheer because too thick, feel free to add in more milk.
You may serve this hot or cold but always topped with almonds, sultana raisins, coconut flakes and a splash of rosewater.