Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kheer (Rice Pudding)

Kheer is an extremely flavorful Desi Rice Pudding made from just 3 ingredients. It is very simple to make, easy to tweak a little bit to suit your own tastes, and truly delicious. Being the food lover that I am, this is also ONE of my many favorites! I learnt this recipe from my sweet mother who learnt it from my Naani (grandma) ... so it is a very generational family recipe.

Kheer is very popularly eaten on Eid (religious festival for Muslims). Every Eid, my family has a tradition of serving delicious warm Kachoriyaan and sweet chilled Kheer for breakfast. Honestly I've had Kheer at so many different places, from people's houses to fine restaurants, but I love the way my mother makes it. I'm not a fan of Saffron at all so I hate it when people put Saffron in Kheer, therefore this recipe has no Saffron. Plus there is this delicious creamy consistency of Kheer that my mom taught me, which is the way I like my Kheer best!

- 2 cups Rice
- Milk: 24 generous tbsp. in 6 cups of water if using powdered milk OR 6 cups liquid milk
- 1 3/4 cups Sugar
- Raisins (Optional)
- Boiled Pistachios or Almonds for garnish (Optional)

Fill a nice big dish with water and rice and set them to boil. 

While the rice is boiling, in another dish mix together the milk and the sugar. Set the dish on heat and keep stirring to make sure that the sugar fully dissolves in the milk. Wait for it to come to boil once, then pull it off the heat and leave it to cool.

Keep boiling the rice until they completely break down. They should become fat and swollen, and break down so much that they look as if mashed. You can see that they swelled up, and I over boiled them until they looked like they were mashed. It is very important that the rice are completely boiled because the better they are boiled and broken down, the better and creamier the consistency of Kheer will turn out.

Drain any excess water from the rice once they are boiled, and leave them to cool.

Once cooled, in batches put some rice and some milk & sugar mixture into a blender and blend thoroughly. According to the settings I have on my blender, I 'blend' once, and then 'liquify' at least once (or twice if you feel the need). Making sure the rice is completely blended in with the milk and there are no solid grains left, pour each batch into a big dish. 
As you can see while pouring, it has already become thicker and creamier.
Optional: Add the Raisins/Kishmish. Set it on low heat. Let it boil a little bit once and immediately remove from heat, make sure you keep stirring it all the time to avoid the bottom most layer burning. If you let it cook during this step for too long it will become a bit too thick, which would ruin the creamy texture.

Delicious Kheer is now ready! Pour it out in a serving dish, or individual smaller dishes like I did. Smaller dishes make it easier to serve in front of different sets of guests on Eid Day without ruining the garnish. Plus they wouldn't feel like you gave them leftover Kheer if there were no spoon trails in the dish you serve!

Optional, Garnish with Almonds or Pistachios (boiled), whichever and whatever suits your taste. The way mom has taught me, I boil the almonds and pistachios first until they look like they've become fatter, then peel off their skin and chop them up to spread over my Kheer.

Kheer is ready to be served, whether warm or chilled in the fridge. Just make sure hungry people (like me) don't sneak into the dishes while they're chilling! Personally, I prefer my Kheer to be chilled reaaaaally nicely!

Happy Cooking!
- S. Ali

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