For me the mere mention of kheer conjures up delicious bowls of sweetened milk laced with raisins, cashews and pistachios. I remember the sweet smell of the cardamom pods being crushed in my mom’s small mortar and pestle. My siblings and I would hang around the kitchen, waiting for my mom to finish her pooja and “naivaidya” (The first offering for the gods), so we could eat the delicious kheer.
In every Indian household, kheer is a popular dessert that is made during religious occasions, for special guests and sometimes if there is too much left over milk. Out here in the good old USA, I don’t get a lot of occasions to make kheer but when I do, I make the much thicker and decadent version of my mom’s recipe.
½ cup basmati rice
6 cups of whole milk
1 tbsp ghee
½ cup of sugar
¼ cup raisins (I use gold and dark)
1 tbsp cashew nuts
5 – 6 cardamom pods
Wash the rice thrice under cold water, drain the water and keep aside.
In a heavy bottom pan heat the ghee and toast the rice for a few minutes on medium heat.
Add the milk and bring it to a gentle boil. With the heat on med-low, let the milk simmer and bubble. Keep stirring the pot from time to time to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning.
In about 30 minutes the milk should reduce to about half. Add the sugar and raisins and stir. Continue to boil the milk till the kheer thickens, another 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, crush the cardamom pods to a powder.
Take the kheer off the heat once the desired thickness is achieved. I like it super thick.
Sprinkle the cardamom powder on the kheer and stir to combine.
Transfer to a serving dish and chill.
Just before serving, fry whole cashews in ghee till golden and garnish on the kheer.