I’m back with another recipe from Sarla Razdan’s Kashmiri Cuisine: Through the Ages (the first one was fried pumpkin flowers). Because the blog is severely lacking in desserts, I’m very pleased about this kheer (rice pudding) dish. In my house, there was not a large range of Pakistani desserts to choose from. My mother would generally create Western dishes, aside from sawaiyyan and gajar ka halwa (see out Izzah’s clever Instant Pot recipe) (my personal favourite was the “KitKat dessert” that was cake rusk doused in black coffee and topped with cream and crushed KitKat).
South Asians, for example, have varied emotions regarding desi delicacies. They eat a lot of dairy and sugar and don’t eat a lot of the fruits that are available in the area. They are, however, the ideal way to end a festive day if properly prepared. Kheer, like sawaiyyan, is a festive dessert offered at weddings or during Eid. It’s something I’d usually have at functions rather than at home, though I know that kheer in various forms is highly popular at home. I’ve always favoured sawaiyyan to kheer, but this adaption may have persuaded me otherwise.
Razdan added raisins and crushed cashews to the original recipe. I’m not a big fan of raisins in my kheer, and I didn’t think the cashews added much. I also cut the sugar and saffron somewhat. A pinch of saffron will give the dish the desired soft tint and scent. Razdan’s inclusion of desiccated coconut, on the other hand, was a game changer. It gave an otherwise plain dish a much-needed depth of taste.
- ½ cup basmati rice soaked overnight
- 8 cups whole milk
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ cup almonds slivered
- ¼ cup desiccated coconut
- ¼ teaspoon saffron crushed
- 3 cardamom pods cracked
- Break the soaked basmati rice with your hands.
- Add milk and rice to a large pot. Bring to boil, about 3 minutes, and let it simmer on low heat for 40 minutes while stirring often.
- Add sugar and keep stirring, about 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and let it simmer while stirring for another 8 – 10 minutes.
- Place in serving bowl and top with slivered almonds for garnish. Let the kheer cool down to room temperature before putting it in the fridge. Serve cold.