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Recipe: North Indian Style Kheer for Diwali

Diwali is around the corner and I am back with yet another delicious festive recipe. Of course, you don't need a reason to prepare this dessert. Preparing and savoring it, turns any normal day into a special one. Perfect sweet dish for any type of party - birthday, family get togethers, new year etc. and none of your guests could resist themselves with just a single servingšŸ¤¤. 

You can check out the recipe of other varieties of sweets like basundi, rava laddu, dry fruits laddu and sweet pongal in "Recipes" section of this blog. You can find the links to those posts at the end of this post. 

Kheer/ Payasam is a sweet dish, very popular in Indian households. It is made with milk, rice/ vermicelli/ tapioca/ dal/ bulgur wheat/ semolina, dry fruits, sugar or jaggery. Today's recipe is rice kheer or rice pudding, prepared in the North Indian style. With slight variations kheer is made in South India too and called as paramannam or arisi payasam or ari payasam or akki payasa. 

Over the time, in every house, every recipe gets slight variations/ adaptations, in accordance to their taste buds. Cooking is all about enhancing and experimenting. Isn't it? So, this is my version of rice kheer. Hope you like it!! 

This recipe needs as little as 5 ingredients and is prepared by slow cooking method. Hence it is time consuming. For the measurements specified in this recipe, it takes anywhere 1 to 1.5 hrs, depending upon the cooking vessel, heating system and quantity of milk you use. But it is totally worth the time. I suggest you start cooking the festival spread with kheer. By the time you complete preparing rest of the items, kheer will be ready. If you don't intend to offer kheer to deity, you may cook it the previous night and store it in refrigerator too. Kheer tastes yum while served chill.

Ingredients:

  • Rice - 1/3 cup
  • Milk - 5 to 6 cups
  • Ghee (clarified butter) - 1 tbsp
  • Saffron - 8 to 10 strands
  • Sugar - 3 tbsp
  • Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cashew nuts (chopped) - 1 tbsp
  • Almonds (chopped) - 1 tbsp

Procedure:

  • Wash 1/3 cup rice thoroughly in water, until the water is clear
  • Soak rice in water for half an hour
  • Take a heavy bottomed vessel and once it is hot, add 1 tbsp of ghee
  • Drain out water, add rice and fry until it turns aromatic (by this time, the rice will also start to splutter). You can skip frying rice in ghee, but I suggest not to skip as this step enhances the texture and flavour of the kheer.
  • Add 5 to 6 cups of milk to rice and boil on high flame. You may increase the milk quantity depending on how thick or thin you want your kheer to be. With my measurement, the kheer is neither thick nor thin.
  • Once the milk starts to boil, reduce the flame to low or medium and mix well
  • Take 1-2 tbsp of the boiling milk in a small bowl and soak 8-10 saffron strands in it
  • Allow the rice to cook (uncovered), while you occasionally stir the kheer, to avoid burning at the bottom. To speed up the cooking process, you may also use a lid to cover. However be extra vigilant as the milk may froth and spill over. I bet, you don't want to end up cleaning a messy stove.
  • During this process of cooking, milk tends to solidify. As and when it starts to solidify, scrap it from the sides and bottom of the vessel and add it back to the kheer
  • Once the rice is 80% cooked, add saffron milk, 3 tbsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cardamom powder, mix well and continue to cook
  • With further cooking, rice breaks down into fine pieces. This indicates, the kheer is well cooked 
  • Add chopped nuts and mix
  • Switch off the flame, transfer kheer to serving bowls
  • Garnish with chopped nuts, saffron strands and serve the kheer either hot or cold

 Tips:

  • I used sona masoori rice variety in my recipe. You may use Basmati rice too. I heard Bengalis use a special variety called Govindho Bhog rice and it brings in a lot of flavour to kheer. I haven't tried it though. 
  • You can also use full fat milk if you wish to. I use 2% as the full fat milk makes the kheer too creamy. I don't particularly like that taste and it is very heavy, making you feel too full.
  • Since rice gets cooked in milk, this recipe doesn't call for more sugar. You may also use brown sugar in place of white. However, brown sugar alters the taste.
  • I add saffron to give more flavour and richness to the dish and it is totally optional
  • You may use your choice of nuts and add them raw. But if you prefer, you may roast them in a tablespoon of ghee before adding. 
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Below is the video recipe. 


Recipes of sweets on Manu's Medley.

  • Click here for Rava Laddu (Semolina Laddu)
  • Click here for Sweet Pongal (sakkarai pongal)
  • Click here for Dry fruits laddu
  • Click here for Basundi

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