Kheer or Rice Pudding, is a dessert everyone from India everyone is familiar with – From North to South and East to West and this is one dessert, which need no occasion and the best part about kheer that makes it such an endearing sweet dish is, almost anyone can make it, and second, you can make a kheer out of most of the fruits and grains – from the famous apple kheer to bottle gourd to jack fruit and even almond that is usually used as a garnish.
The first mention of rice kheer, was derived from the Sanskrit word kshirika (meaning a dish prepared with milk), is found in the fourteenth century, not as a rice pudding but a sweet preparation of jowar and milk.
Rice was said to be a part of all religious function during the Chola dynasty that upheld rice for its life-sustaining qualities. The records of Jagannath Puri talks about how the kheer was tweaked further to create the famous kheer prasad. The Odia version of rice kheer, originated in the city of Puri, in Odisha about 2,000 years ago. It is cooked to this day within the Jagannath temple precincts there. Every single day, hundreds of temple cooks work around 752 hearths in what is supposed to be the world’s largest kitchen to cook over 100 different dishes, including kheer, enough to feed at least 10,000 people.
Here are some more authentic dishes from the Eastern region of India:
Unlike the West where nutmeg became a later addition to flavor the kheer, the Indian version always had the use of spice – prominently cinnamon or cardamom.
Enough history. Let’s get to the recipe 🙂
Here is my version of Kheer:
- 1 litre or, 2 pints whole milk
- 2 tbsp long-grain rice, such as basmati – soaked for 30 mins and then crushed
- 2 whole green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 cup almonds – soaked, blanched and sliced
- 1/2 cup cashews- toasted
- Few more almonds and cashews for garnishing
- Bring milk to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to half.
- Add sugar , cardamom, crushed rice and simmer the mixture until it reaches one-fourth of it’s original volume, and is thick and creamy.
- Mix in the almonds and cashews
- Serve garnished with the toasted nuts and silver leaf