Heroic Indian Rice Pudding (Kheer)

We served this rice pudding as for desert at our Indian welcome dinner the night before our wedding.  When I was planning the menu I tried to pick recipes that would not be too crazy to make in large quantities.  I mostly did a good job, but this recipe would be an exception.  This is a good recipe for Kheer, but I do not recommend trying to make it for 100 people.

I asked my friend Bethany to make it for this event because I know that it was going to be hard. Bethany and I have cooked and eaten thanksgiving together for…I don’t even know how many years.  She started spending holidays with me when she went to undergrad in Boston, not too far from me but way too far from her family in Texas to go home.  She is now in her second year of med school (just around the corner from me) and she took some time off in between…so this year will be our 7th Thanksgiving together…I think?  Anyway, the point is that I trust Bethany’s cooking ability.  I knew that this recipe, made in a giant quantity, was going to take a full day of continuous attention and I knew that Bethany could be trusted to do it.

What I did not factor for was a moody electric stove and thin bottomed pans.  At the last moment, half of the kheer burned.  Bethany heroically started another batch… and half of that batch burned too (although not as badly and we just ate it for breakfast the next day)!   There are a few upsides…Bethany smelled really good and had beautiful skin after steaming her face and hair with cardamom scented milk for a day AND the desert was delicious.

Chris’ aunt told us that her two favourite dishes of the weekend were the rice pudding and the corn fritters the day after the wedding.  The corn fritters also required some heroic large-scale frying from my friend Tony…leading me to conclude that Chris’ aunt enjoys the flavour of effort and heroism in her food.  This recipe does not require heroism if you are just making one batch, but I do recommend a heavy bottomed pot.


adapted from Classic Indian and Vegetarian Grain Cooking by Julie Sahni

  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1/2 cup basmati rice
  • 1/8 teaspoon (we added WAY more) ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flaked coconut
  • sultanas (golden raisins) for garnish
  • Sliced almonds for garnish
  •  and fresh blackberries (if you’ve got ’em) for garnish
  1. Combine half of the milk and the rice in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Lower the heat a bit and cook on a gentle boil for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick and burn.  At the end it should be the consistency of light cream.
  3. Add the remaining milk and cardamom.  Continue cooking at a gentle boil until the pudding is thick.  Stir constantly to prevent burning.  This will take about an hour.
  4. The original recipe says to add the sugar and coconut and cook for another 15 minutes BUT we this is when our pudding would consistently burn.  I think that it is probably wiser to add the sugar and coconut and turn the heat off.  Just stir it rigorously to help the sugar melt in the hot pudding.
  5. The recipe also says to refrigerate the pudding but we all liked it warm, so garnish it with sultanas, almonds and fresh berries and eat it!

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s