Cool Indian Rice Pudding

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Rice pudding is a perennial favourite, following us throughout life. Some childhood memories invoke thoughts of a sweet crust concealing delicious, piping-hot creamed rice, but in the case of my school dinners what I actually remember is a congealed mass of bloated bumps. Some assert that India was the birthplace of rice pudding. True or not, kheer is the most refined form of rice as a dessert. It is aristocratic and delicate, touched by the magic of cardamom dust and blessed with whole milk.

Over the years as I watched my Uncle Abbu luxuriate in each spoonful of kheer, pudding envy set in. He’d discovered the joy of kheer long before I had, and he’d not had to endure the porridge of wallpaper paste set before me in the school canteen. So before baking yet another regular rice pudding, try its more elegant cool ancestor. Once tasted you’ll make sure it’s kheer to stay.

Kheer Indian Rice Pudding

How To Make Kheer

Serves 4

  • 2 litres whole milk
  • 60g plain white rice, soaked for 10 minutes then rinsed
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 160g unrefined sugar
  • 5 green cardamom pods, seeds extracted and pounded into powder
  • 2 tbsp crushed almonds and pistachios, for garnishing

Using a large pan, heat the milk (reserving 3–4 tbsp for later) until bubbling but not boiling, then reduce the heat and add the rice. Simmer for 20 minutes until the rice has soaked in the milk and broken down. In a separate bowl, mix the cornflour and the reserved milk into a paste. Add the paste to the simmering rice and stir well, not letting any lumps form, and keep stirring until it thickens. Spoon in the sugar and cardamom dust and bring to the boil. Once bubbling, take off the heat and leave the kheer to relax. Dish out into small bowls and sprinkle the surface with the crushed nuts.

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