To go hand in hand with the entrance of spring is some sweetness in the form of one of my favourite desserts, kheer. You may know it by another name which is rice pudding. Creamy and rich, it’s traditionally flavoured with cardamon but my version is more about highlighting the star of the dish, milk. My attempt was personalised with coconut, almonds and pistachios but I think it’s up to you to add whatever toppings you like best. Good things take time, this saying definitely rings true with for this dish as the cooking is a game of patience but the end result is well worth it. I think it will be the perfect new dessert to try this Easter with family and friends.
Serves 8-12 people
- 1 cup long grain basmati rice (approx 150g)
- 4 pints whole fat milk
- 350ml lukewarm water (to be added to milk)
- 21g unsalted butter
- 150g granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp desiccated coconut
- 50g flaked almonds
- 25g pistachios
- Give your rice their beauty sleep the night before, wash and soak them overnight to deliver softer grains when cooked.
- Begin by boiling some water in a pot and when it’s bubbling mix the rice in. You’re looking to soften the grains completely. My rice took around 15 mins over a high heat to completely soften but remember to test the grains by pressing one between your fingers. My mother often says that when cooking white rice “watch out to not overcook the rice grains, your not making kheer”, in this case, it’s the opposite.
- This stage offers some fun, drain your rice into a large bowl. Next, using a potato masher crush the rice grains. Don’t be afraid to really go for it as the smaller the rice pieces, the smoother the kheer will be. Before you dispose of the starchy water, it can also be used a face wash (make sure to let the water cool before using). Generations have praised the power of rice as a beauty ingredient for brightening and firming the skin so give this homemade version a try.
- Now it’s almost time to marry the rice and milk together, first place your milk on to boil in a large pot. Add the lukewarm water as well, this helps to prevent your milk from burning as it cooks. Eventually, the water will evaporate leaving a thick and creamy mix. When boiling, stir in your rice and coconut. I chose to add the coconut at this stage as I wanted the flavour to disperse throughout the pudding but you can also choose to add it as a topping instead. Switch the heat to low and leave the magic to happen over 2 – 2½ hrs.
- However remember to keep stirring the mix and keep an eye on it, I find it helpful to set reminders to check every half an hour to avoid burning the kheer. Checking the thickness of the pudding is another method to understand how much more cooking time is needed, the rice and milk should have bound together to make a rich and thick cream.
- One of the best things about this dessert is it works hot or cold, so if you can’t wait for it dive in straight away or let it cool to share later. It also keeps well in the fridge for up to 3 days (trust me, you’ll have eaten it all by then). Garnish with nuts or dried fruits of your choice or even saffron if you’re feeling fancy. Whatever you choose, your taste buds are sure to enjoy it.