This easy rice kheer or chawal ki kheer is probably the most popular Indian dessert there is. Made with long grained basmati rice and sweetened with condensed milk, it's simple enough that you can make it often, and elegant enough to serve to guests!
This is another recipe in my festival menu for this year. I know everyone has a preference for how they like their kheer to taste. I definitely like my grains intact, with a thick milky base and my kheer served lukewarm. No matter what you like, this rice kheer recipe will definitely deliver.
Chawal ki kheer or this rice pudding can be made in two different ways - one where the milk is simmered till it thickens and forms a rabri like base; and this one where the milk is thickened with condensed milk which also sweetens the kheer.
I love this version where the kheer is made with condensed milk because:
- Its faster so you don't have to spend hours stirring and simmering the milk
- You still get the creaminess of kheer with the caramell-y flavor of condensed milk
- There is no risk of overcooking rice where it gets mushy
Traditionally, kheer is made with basmati rice. Aged basmati is fragrant and its long grain adds texture to this kheer. However, you can use short grained rice too if that's what you have. Just be mindful of how long you cook it, so that it doesn't break down completely and turn to mush.
Kheer has so many forms. It's probably one of the most versatile desserts there is. You can easily switch the rice for vermicelli, broken wheat, tapioca pearls (sabudana) and even lentils. In the south, it's also called payasam and is made with coconut milk and jaggery which also makes kheer vegan.
Kheer: Served hot vs. cold
I like my kheer lukewarm and it's really a personal preference. Some people like kheer served warm and some prefer it chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours before eating.
Whatever you do, make sure to top it with lots of nuts. They add some crunch and so much texture and flavor.
And that lovely yellow you see? Pure saffron. Don't let anybody fool you into adding food coloring to kheer or skipping the saffron.
- 1 liter Full cream Milk
- ⅓ cup Rice washed and soaked for 10 minutes
- ½ cup Condensed Milk filled to the brim
- ½ teaspoon Cardamom Powder
- 10-12 Saffron Kesar(strands)
- 2 tablespoons Raisins
- ¼ cup Cashew / Almonds / Pistachios chopped and mixed
- Soak saffron in 2 tablespoons warm milk for 15 minutes.
- Pour milk in a heavy bottom pan. Drain the rice and add it to the milk.
- Bring the milk and rice mixture to a boil on high heat and then reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 45 minutes, stirring frequently till the milk thickens and the rice gets cooked and homogenizes slightly in the milk.
- Rub the soaked kesar with your finger to release both its color and flavor and add it to the kheer. Add the condensed milk and cardamom powder and cook for another 5-8 minutes. Add the raisins and chopped nuts and mix. Cool slightly before serving. Or if you prefer, refrigerate for a few hours and serve it chilled.
- Rice: Basmati rice is preferred while making rice kheer because of its flavor and texture. But you can substitute it with short grained rice, but be mindful of how long you cook it.
- Soaking: Soaking the basmati rice helps remove excess starch as well as reduces cooking time. It also makes the rice softer and fluffier, perfect for kheer.
- Saffron: Crush and soak saffron in warm milk, this helps it to release it's aroma and colour.
- Refrigerating and Storing Kheer: Kheer can be refrigerated for 4-5 days. As it chills, it thickens in consistency because more milk is absorbed by the rice. You can thin it by adding more milk to it before serving.