Kheer: The King of Comfort Desserts

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A staple at my house, and many others every Ramadan and Eid, kheer has become the picture of warm comfort food for locals.

One might call Kheer the subcontinental version of sweet rice pudding. Made by cooking milk and sweeteners together with rice, it can also be made with semolina or saviyaan. Kheer is also known by many other names such as payesh, phirni or fereni, and also comes in many flavor variations with cultures featuring dried fruits or golden raisins or saffron in the sweet pudding.

Personally, I love it without the frills, simple and wholesome; just rice, milk, sugar and some rough, whole spices to give it a bit of a musky scent. Below you’ll find my mother’s kheer recipe, it’s  simple, and goes perfect with a hot cup of milk-tea on a rainy evening.

Cooker discretion is advised: It’s funny, as wholesome and easygoing as milk looks, it’s a very high-maintance ingredient. Dear Readers, last time, this year, I attempted to make kheer, and destroyed my pot in the process! The burnt milk not only made a mess of the kheer, but it also created an almost bee-hive type pattern on the bottom of my pan. Has this ever happened to you?

This year, I showed kheer who’s boss and avenged my destroyed pot! Try out the recipe below and write to tell me about variations to it that you love.

Ingredients:

2 liters milk

¾ cups washed rice

3 tablespoons sugar

3 cardamoms

3 small sticks of cinnamon

A handful of chopped pistachios and almonds

 

Method:

  1. First steps first, wash the rice. Any type of small polao rice would work well with kheer.

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  2. Put the milk and the rice into a large pot, and set it on top of the stove on medium heat (You can use any type of pot, but I think this pot shape is quite milk-friendly). Constantly keep stirring it until it comes to a light-simmering boil. Be careful not to leave it unattended as the milk can easily burn.

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  3. Once it comes to a light boil, reduce the stove to a low flame and let it cook, stirring occasionally for about 60 minutes. You want the rice to cook properly and the kheer to thicken.
  4. When it’s been on the stove about 40 minutes and has had time for the rice to cook, add the spices.
  5. Near the end, add the sugar and let it cook on low heat for the final five minutes.
  6. At this point, you can make your next move depending on what type of texture you would like. If you want it to have a bit of a bite to it, don’t stir too much and take it off the heat. If you want it to be more creamy, you can take a wooden spoon and stir to break the rice apart.
  7. Pour the kheer into a serving dish and sprinkle chopped nuts on top as garnish.

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Happy cooking, dear readers!

 

-A

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