Ah, kheer! Just hearing the name of this delicious dessert makes my mouth water. Kheer, also known as “chawal ki kheer”, is a quintessential Indian dessert that has been enjoyed for centuries across different regions of South Asia. Often called paal payasam in southern India and kheer in northern India, kheer is universally loved and coveted by all who try it. It’s made with aromatic basmati rice, simmered in creamy milk, and flavored with a heavenly blend of cardamom, saffron, and nuts. It’s a dessert that’s as comforting as a warm hug and as satisfying as a big bear hug. Every spoonful of this luscious pudding feels like a celebration of life, and its sweetness is enough to make anyone feel like a kid again. Whether you’re a foodie or just someone with a sweet tooth, kheer is a dessert that you simply cannot resist.
Kheer is a popular dessert during special and festive occasions, such as weddings and religious ceremonies, in households across India. Kheer is a good luck dessert and is believed to bring prosperity and happiness. The word “kheer” is used in North India, while in South India, it is known as “payasam” or “paal payasam.” It is also referred to as Indian-style rice pudding or creamy rice pudding in English. The recipe may vary slightly in different regions of India, but the main ingredients remain the same. You can use Basmati rice, white rice, or even tapioca pearls to prepare kheer, along with full-fat milk, almond milk, or coconut milk. The addition of saffron strands, green cardamom powder, rose water, kewra essence, or maple syrup, enhances the flavor of this dessert. You can serve kheer hot or cold, and garnish with rose petals or nuts of your choice.
You can trace the origin of Kheer, or Indian rice pudding back to ancient India. The word “kheer” is a derivative of the Sanskrit word “Ksheer” which means milk. It is believed that kheer was first made in South India, where rice and milk were readily available. Over time, the dish became popular throughout India and various versions of the dessert were created, using different ingredients and cooking methods. The traditional kheer recipe involves cooking rice grains in whole milk on medium heat until the mixture reaches the right consistency. With the advent of modern cooking techniques, you can now easily make kheer using an electric pressure cooker or an instant pot. This method involves pressure cooking the rice and milk mixture for a shorter period of time, resulting in a creamy texture. You can also make vegan kheer using almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew milk.
The recipe for kheer has evolved over a long time and has many variations, including vegan kheer, carrot kheer, and vermicelli kheer. The cooking process is easy with a heavy bottom pan over medium heat, an electric pressure cooker with a porridge button, or high-pressure setting. Instant Pot kheer recipes have also become popular, making it an easy dessert to make in today’s fast-paced world. While there are many variations of kheer, the basic ingredients and cooking process remain the same. A good kheer recipe requires patience and a long cooking time to achieve the right consistency. You can adjust the sugar amount to suit your taste buds. You can serve Kheer warm or chilled, and you can also store it in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator for a few days.
Ingredients For Kheer Recipe
This is the main dairy ingredient and provides the base for the creamy texture and rich flavor of the kheer. Most of the Indian dessert recipes like this kheer recipe, carrot pudding, or gajar halwa require whole fat milk. You can substitute it with almond milk or coconut milk according to your own preferences.
The grains in this recipe serve as a thickening agent and give the kheer its signature texture. Rice also contributes a subtle nuttiness to the flavor.
The sweetener in this recipe is essential to balance out the richness of the milk and to provide a pleasant sweetness to the dish. You can substitute it with brown sugar too.
Cardamom adds a fragrant and slightly floral flavor to the kheer, enhancing its aroma and providing a distinctly Indian flavor.
Cashews, raisins, and almonds
These nuts add texture and provide a crunch to the dish. They also contribute a nutty and slightly sweet flavor to the kheer.
Ghee is Indian clarified butter. You need it to fry the nuts and raisins. You can add nuts and raisins without frying, but frying elevates their flavor to a whole new level. It also adds a subtle richness to the kheer.
Step By Step Instructions For Kheer Recipe
Firstly, soak 4 tbsp rice in water for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, drain the water and grind the rice to a smooth paste, adding some water if necessary.
In a heavy-bottomed pan, pour 500ml whole milk and add the rice paste to it. Stir it continuously to prevent the formation of lumps.
Then cook the mixture on low heat until it comes to a boil.
Add 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp cardamom powder to the milk mixture and stir well.
Then allow the mixture to boil again and then simmer it for a few seconds.
Keep it on medium-high heat and stirred frequently to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Transfer the kheer to a serving bowl.
Heat 1 tsp of ghee in a small pan and add 2 tbsp of cashews and 2 tbsp of raisins to it. Fry them until they turn golden brown.
Pour the fried cashews and raisins over the kheer.
Finally, sprinkle some slices of almonds over the kheer.
Serve the kheer hot or chilled and enjoy the delicious dessert.
You can serve kheer either hot or cold, depending on your preference. To serve hot kheer, reheat it on medium heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. For chilled kheer, let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before serving. Once ready, you can serve it in individual bowls or cups and garnish with your choice of toppings, such as sliced almonds, chopped pistachios, rose petals, or saffron strands, which not only add to the visual appeal but also bring in additional flavors and textures to the dish. You can also pair kheer with other desserts or snacks, such as gulab jamun, bombay halwa, or samosas, for a complete meal experience. So, whether it is a festive occasion or a regular day, kheer is a versatile dessert that you can customize to suit your taste buds and enjoy with family and friends.
To store kheer, first let it cool to room temperature. Then, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate it. You can store kheer in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Before serving, reheat the kheer in a pan or microwave until it reaches the desired temperature. It is important to note that kheer can thicken in the refrigerator, so you may need to add some milk or water to adjust the consistency before reheating. Additionally, if you leave the kheer at room temperature for too long, it is best to discard it to prevent foodborne illness.
Kheer is a creamy rice pudding and is one of the most popular desserts in Indian cuisine.
The main ingredients in a rice kheer recipe are rice, milk, and sugar.
It is important to stir the kheer regularly and scrape the sides and bottom of the pan to prevent the rice from sticking to the pot.
Yes, you can make vegan kheer by using plant-based milk like almond milk or coconut milk instead of dairy milk.
Natural pressure release is a setting in the instant pot that allows the pressure to come down on its own, without manually releasing it.
Yes, kheer is a common dessert in Indian households and people often make it during special occasions or festivals.
Yes, full-fat milk is better for making kheer as it contributes to the creamy texture of the pudding.
The high pressure setting is used to cook the rice in the instant pot quickly and efficiently.
American rice pudding is typically uses regular milk and a larger amount of sugar compared to Indian kheer, which uses full-fat milk and a smaller amount of sugar. American rice pudding often adds eggs as well.
Kewra water is an extract from the flowers of Pandanus tectorius. It acts as a flavoring agent and also adds a distinct aroma to the kheer.
Generally, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of sugar is enough in a cup of rice kheer, but you can adjust the amount based on personal preference.
Basmati rice is typically used for making kheer as it is long-grained and has a subtle flavor that complements the other ingredients.
Enough water should be added to the kheer to cook the rice until it is soft and tender. The exact amount may vary based on the recipe.
Scraping the sides of the pan while making kheer helps prevent the milk from sticking and burning, which can affect the flavor and texture of the pudding.
Yes, low fat dairy milk can be used instead of full-fat milk, but it may not result in the same creamy texture.
Hi! I’m Ravi Kumar.
I am a husband, father of 4, board certified neurosurgeon, and a lover of South Indian Food!
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