If you’ve ever been to India, or an Indian restaurant, you may have tried Kheer, a dessert similar to rice pudding. But did you know that you can also make Kheer with vermicelli? Either way, you might crave this Indian delight and want to know how to make it. Indian kheer – either the rice or vermicelli version – is relatively simple to make and guaranteed to make you and your guests want more than one serving.
Learn about kheer. Kheer is just one name for a rice pudding-like dessert that is often made in southeast Asian countries like India and Pakistan for special occasions. Kheer is a year-round favorite that can be served topped with any number of things from chopped nuts like pistachios or almonds to spices such as cardamom and saffron. There is no one standard recipe for kheer. Each family and geographic region makes kheer using some variation of the recipe. Kheer is also known by different names including khir, payasam, payasa or kheeri.
Gather supplies. You’ll need to gather the ingredients for kheer before you start cooking it. The recipe is fairly simple, but you may need to go to a specialty food store for ingredients if your local supermarket doesn’t carry them. For kheer that serves four people you’ll need the following ingredients: 1 cup of slightly overcooked rice, 2 cups of whole milk, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon raisins, 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios, 1 tablespoon chopped almonds, 1/8 teaspoon powdered cardamom, and a pinch of saffron. You can use any type of rice, such as long grained or basmati, for this recipe. It’s probably best to not use flavored rice like jasmine or coconut. If you have leftover rice from another dish, you can use it to make kheer. If you are making the rice just for kheer, it’s best to overcook it a little bit to mimic the texture of leftover rice.
Prepare the pan and your ingredients. Before you start cooking kheer, heat the pan and prepare the saffron and raisins so that they’re ready to use as you cook. It’s important to do this before you begin cooking so that your kheer doesn’t burn while you mix the ingredients. Put the raisins in a little bit of water to puff them up. Use any small or medium heavy bottomed pan that you have to cook the kheer. Heat the pan over a medium gas flame or electric stove setting. While the pan is heating up, grind the saffron and a pinch of sugar with a mortar and pestle. Set it to the side.
Cook your kheer. Once you’ve preheated the pan and done the prep work, you’re ready to cook your kheer. Make sure to not leave the pan at this stage so that your kheer doesn’t burn. Add the cup of slightly overcooked rice and 2 cups of whole milk to your heated pan. Lightly stir this mixture. If you like a smoother texture, mash the rice slightly before adding it to the milk. Add your mixture of saffron and sugar to the milk and rice in the pan.
Stir the mixture over the heat. You’ll need to make sure that you don’t leave the mixture in the pan at this point to keep it from burning. Keep stirring the pan until the mixture reaches a consistency that you wish. You should let the mixture thicken over the heat, but you can decide how thick it gets. Some people like their kheer thinner like a creamy soup while others like their kheer thick like oatmeal.
Add the sugar and remaining ingredients. Once your kheer has reached the desired consistency, add the 3 tablespoons sugar and the raisins and mixed nuts. Fold these ingredients into the mixture. Add the sugar before the raisins and mixed nuts. You might want to taste the kheer at this point to see if it needs more sugar. Drain the raisins and add them to the mixture along with the 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios and 1 tablespoon chopped almonds. Remove the pan from the heat and add the 1/8 teaspoon powdered cardamom.