Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pistachio Almond Cardamom Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

Pistachio Almond Cardamom Kheer 

(Indian Rice Pudding)


2/3 cup basmati rice
4 pods cardamom
1 1/2 gallon whole milk
4 cups sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp kewra water
1/4 cup unsalted pistachio kernels, coarsely crushed, + for garnish
1/4 cup slivered amonds, + for garnish


In a mortar and pestle, crush the pods of cardamoms and extract the black seeds.
Slightly grind the basmati rice in a mill. (I use a coffee grinder that I exclusively use for grinding spices).
In a stock pot, pour the rice and milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Cover. Stir frequently over low heat for about an hour. The rice should be tender. Stir in the sugar and the cardamom seeds. The sugar will thicken the mixture. Cook for another 20 minutes.
Remove from the stove and let it cool down to room temperature. Add the kewra water and the nuts.
Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or better overnight.
Serve chilled, topped with slivered almond and pistachios. Yields: 8


It's better to make it overnight so that the rice pudding has time to set. It has to be served chilled.
Always make the rice pudding a little sweeter because the cold cuts down on the flavor.
Kewra water is an extract distilled from pandanus flowers. It's often used in Indian food. To me, the fragrance is like a combination of licorice and rose water.
You can add any flavorings you want, kewra water, rose water or a pinch of saffron ground in a mortar and pestle and dissolved in water.
I decorated the top of the kheer with sliced almond for the picture, but I used slivered almond in the pudding itself. Slivered almonds are skinless and I think that blends better when mixed in the kheer.
And if you're hesitating between a rice pudding and crème brûlée, make a fusion rice pudding brûlée. Just sprinkle some sugar as you would do for a crème brûlée, then caramelize the sugar using a blow torch.
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