Region Northern and Central India
Also Called Payasam (in Southern India)
Descriptive English Name Indian Rice Pudding
Served Piping hot. Can also be refrigerated and served cold (not frozen).
Cooking Time 25 minutes
India boasts of a variety of sweet desserts to pamper the sweet toothed. One of the most common desserts is a very simple preparation of rice and milk. This pudding, called "Kheer", is made with either toasted vermicelli or rice and is my favorite Indian dessert. No wedding or festival is complete without Kheer on the menu. This creamy and sweet stovetop pudding is fairly quick and easy to prepare.
Kheer recipes have evolved to suit regional and personal preferences. Every part of India has its own version of Kheer. The essential ingredients are milk and sugar, but you can vary your Kheer by replacing rice with vermicelli, semolina, and even carrot. Kheer made of almonds is also a popular variation.
3 - 4 cups of whole milk, diluted with 1 - 2 cups of water (The proportion of water will determine the thickness of the Kheer.)
1 cup rice (it is best to use an Indian variety like basmati rice)
1 cup condensed milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon raisins
1 tablespoon of dry roasted cashew nut pieces. (Cashew nuts can be substituted with almonds or pistachio)
1 teaspoon finely powdered elaichi (cardamom) seeds
- Boil the rice in the milk on a medium flame until the rice is cooked.
- Make sure you stir frequently; otherwise your milk may burn at the bottom of the vessel.
- Add the condensed milk, sugar, raisins, and nuts. Stir till the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens.
- Add the cardamom and serve hot.
- Give your Kheer a flavor of the East by sprinkling a few strands of saffron over it. You could also add slivered almonds and pistachios.
- If you do not want to slave in the kitchen, use cooked rice leftover from the previous meal. Make sure that your cooked rice did not have any salt in it.
- You can serve Kheer either piping hot or cold. Cold Kheer tastes divine with shavings of almonds and pistachios.
- If you are counting the calories, you can replace milk with a non-dairy product. Use sugar-free supplements instead of sugar and you have an instant low-cal dessert.
- Alternative natural sweeteners are honey and rice syrup.
At one extreme, Kheer can be as dense as shown in the adjoining picture. Usually Kheer is much more fluid than this, but some people prefer to keep cooking on low heat until the milk thickens. I prefer Kheer of a medium consistency, but my family members prefer very liquid Kheer -- the kind you could drink in a cup!
Note: Kheer recipes can be of many different types. Make sure to visit some of the other kheer recipes we have here: