One of the most popular desserts across India is the famous and easy to make rice pudding: Kheer. There are many versions depending on region and even from family to family. Here’s one of Mrs Balbir Singh’s favourite North Indian kheer recipes which uses almonds and green cardamoms. Kheer has always been one of my favourite comfort foods on cold winter evenings at home in Delhi or London. Sometimes we change it up and use pistachios instead of almonds.
It’s also the perfect time of year now to try making your own, as kheer is also traditionally made for the mid-winter Hindu festival celebrated across India and Nepal called Makar Sankranti. The festival marks the transition of the Sun to Capricorn (Makar) during the winter solstice (Sankranti) in the northern hemisphere. Also, as one of the few Indian festivals based on solar rather than lunar events, most years it is celebrated on the same day January 14th, with some exceptions when it falls on the 13th.
Mrs Balbir Singh’s Kheer Recipe
Indian Rice Pudding with Almonds and Cardamom
60g Basmati Rice
1100ml Full Fat Milk (preferably Jersey Milk)
1 tsp Green Cardamom Pods, crushed
30g Almonds, chopped
15g Sultanas or Raisins (optional)
4 drops Kewra Essence (Pandan Water) or can substitute with Rose Water
You can use one or a mix of any of the following optional garnishes for an added flourish:
1. Boil the rice in the 120ml of water until is cooked and the water has evaporated.
2. Heat the milk in a large heavy-bottomed non-stick pan, add rice and crushed green cardamom pods and simmer on a low heat for about 1 to 1½ hours stirring occasionally until the milk has reduced by about half.
3. Remove and discard the cardamom pods and then mash the rice. Then stir frequently until it is of a creamy consistency. Add 100g sugar and stir further until this is dissolved. Taste and if you would prefer it sweeter add more sugar to your taste and stir until this too has dissolved.
4. Cook until the mixture becomes a little more creamy. Then add the kewra essence (or rose water) and the chopped almonds and mix well for a few minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
Serve hot or cold by spooning into individual bowls and decorate with optional garnishes mentioned above if required. Tastes even better the next day if covered with cling film and cooled in the fridge.
© Mrs Balbir Singh Limited
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