Kheer or payasam is a creamy, mildly sweetened rice pudding, flavored with aromatic saffron and cardamon powder. Easy to make, this rice pudding is one of the most popular Indian dessert served on various occasions to celebrate. Perfect balance of sweetness and richness in a bowl!!!
Kheer or payasam is made with basic pantry ingredients such as milk, rice and sugar. It is flavored with aromatic saffron and cardamon powder gives this kheer a divine taste and flavors.
WHAT IS KHEER
Traditionally, kheer or pudding is made by boiling milk, sugar and rice. Flavored with some green cardamom, saffron, and some nuts such as almonds, pistachios, raisins. This is one of the simplest and the most basic pudding recipe that I have grown up devouring. I remember, my mom used to make this rice kheer quite often.
However, you can also make kheer from other ingredients such as vermicelli, semolina, tapioca, lentils such as moong dal (split mung beans), chana dal (yellow split peas) or some nuts and/or fruits such as carrots, jack fruit, bottle gourd. Possibilities are endless!!!
WHAT RICE TO USED TO MAKE KHEER
I grew up eating kheer made with aromatic Basmati rice and we just love it. Though Basmati rice is a preferred rice for making kheer, feel free to use any good quality, aromatic rice for this recipe.
8 DIFFERENT WAYS TO FLAVOR THE KHEER
Flavoring the kheer is optional. You can enjoy this rice pudding without adding any flavor, it would still taste divine. However, if you choose to flavor the kheer, here are some of the flavors that go well with the kheer:
GREEN CARDAMOM - The most common flavoring used in kheer and in most of the Indian desserts.
SAFFRON - This is not a common one, but I absolutely love to add saffron in the kheer.
ROSE ESSENCE - Few drops is all you need for a pleasant flower aroma.
FENNEL SEEDS - This is yet another flavorsome spice, used to flavor sweet and savory dishes.
CINNAMON - sweet, spicy, warm, comforting flavor. I specially like it during winters.
VANILLA - Add few drops of essence for a warm, aromatic and gentle flavors.
NUTS - nuts have their distinct flavor and add nice flavor to the kheer. I like the flavors of almonds, pistachios, and raisins.
FRUITS - Fruits add a nice refreshing flavor to this simple rice pudding. In winters, I pair it up with some apples and cinnamon for a warm and comforting kheer. During summers, I like to top it up with some fresh berries (strawberries, blueberries) and fresh mangoes, when in season.
HOW TO MAKE RICE PUDDING (KHEER) IN INSTANT POT
I love to make kheer in Instant Pot. This is hands down, one of the BEST rice pudding recipes. This kheer requires zero monitoring and turns out amazingly creamy. Thus, preserving the authenticity of this recipe. Sharing my recipe of making rice pudding or kheer in Instant Pot.
I like to soak the basmati rice for around 30 minutes. Soaking the rice prior to cooking, does boost flavor and consistency of this kheer. This is the only time consuming part in this recipe, rest is basically dump and go.
Rinse the rise couple of times, until water runs clear. Soak the rice in enough water for around 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain the water and keep the rice aside.
Add water to the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Note: Do not skip this step. Adding water does help prevent sticky bottom.
Add milk, rice, sugar, cardamon powder, saffron. Mix well. Note: Do not add condensed milk and almond powder at this point.
Close the lid with vent on sealing position.
Turn on Instant Pot to PORRIDGE mode for 20 minutes on high pressure. When instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally, around 10 minutes.
OPTIONAL - Using a wire whisk or handheld mixture, whisk the mixture to a desired consistency. This will break the rice grains, thus adding to the creaminess of the pudding.
OPTIONAL - Turn on Instant Pot, saute mode (more), add condensed milk, almond powder and nuts. Mix well. Cook for additional 2-3 minutes. Turn off the Instant Pot.
Garnish with nuts. Enjoy rice pudding, aka Kheer!
INSTRUCTIONS FOR STOVE TOP KHEER
Follow the same recipe as discussed earlier, bring the milk to a boil, reduce the heat and cook until kheer thickens and the rice is cooked. Keep stirring occasionally to avoid any sticky bottom. Use any heavy bottom pot or a dutch oven around 8 quarts. Rest of the recipe is same as Instant Pot.
TIPS FOR MAKING DELICIOUS RICE PUDDING (KHEER)
Using water and milk for cooking kheer helps prevent burnt bottom.
FULL FAT MILK - creaminess in the kheer comes from the fat in the milk. Full fat gives a nice creamy texture to the kheer without adding any cream. However, you could use low fat milk but the kheer may not be as creamy.
ALMOND FLOUR - adding almond flour is optional, you could also add some handful of crushed almonds, will work just fine or make it nut-free, will totally do.
CONDENSED MILK - adds a nice caramelized flavor and sweetness to the Kheer. However, it is totally optional. You could adjust the sweetness by adding some more sugar.
Kheer thickens as it cools down. Before serving add some more milk, reheat and serve the kheer.
Kheer stays fresh in refrigerator for about 4-5 days.
FAQ FOR RICE PUDDING (KHEER)
HOW TO MAKE KHEER VEGAN / DAIRY-FREE - substitute full fat milk with nut milk like almond milk or full fat coconut milk.
HOW TO MAKE KHEER NUT-FREE - For a nut-free rice pudding, simply skip all the nuts and the almond flour. Instead you can use some pumpkin seeds, chia seeds for garnish. It will still taste delicious.
HOW TO MAKE KHEER SUGAR-FREE - For a sugar-free Kheer, substitute sweetener of your choice instead of refined sugar and condensed milk. Add the sweetener after the kheer is cooked, at the end.
HOW TO SERVE RICE PUDDING (KHEER)
Kheer can be served warm or cold. Either way this rice pudding tastes delicious.
I sometimes like to serve kheer with some Gulab Jamun, yet another Indian dessert.
Enjoy this Indian dessert, Kheer with your loved ones and cherish good moments!!
Here are some more Indian desserts for you to enjoy!!
Carrot Halwa , quick and easy carrot halwa.
Sweet Potato Halwa , delicious and healthy dessert made with sweet potatoes.
Basundi , thickened sweet milk flavored with some cardamom and saffron.
Lauki Ka Halwa , delicious bottle gourd halwa
Here are some more recipes:
Dal Makhani – creamy, flavorful, dal made with black gram lentils, kidney beans
Sarson Da Saag – mustard greens tempered with onion, garlic and some Indian spices
Homemade Ghee –rich nutty flavor, nourishing and aromatic, homemade ghee
Bharwa Bhindi – okra stuffed with some Indian spices
Aloo Gobi – simple, easy, delicious Potato Cauliflower curry
Carrot Halwa, quick and easy carrot halwa.
Broccoli Cheddar Soup – thick, creamy soup made with broccoli, cheddar cheese
Strawberry Jam – 3-ingredients, super easy, finger-licking homemade Strawberry Jam
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Kheer / Rice Pudding
- ½ cup white Basmati rice
- 6 cups full fat milk
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup sugar, (as per taste)
- ½ teaspoon green cardamom powder, (around 5-6 green cardamon pods)
- 15-20 strands of saffron
- ¼ cup almond flour (optional)
- 2 tablespoon condensed milk (optional)
- 8-10 almonds, chopped
- 1 tablespoon raisins
- Handful of silvered almonds, pistachios, (nuts of choice)
Instructions for Instant Pot Rice Pudding (kheer)
- Rinse the rise couple of times, until water runs clear. Soak the rice in enough water for around 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain the water and keep the rice aside.
- Add water to the inner pot of the Instant Pot.Note: Do not skip this step. Adding water does help prevent sticky bottom.
- Add milk, rice, sugar, cardamon powder, saffron. Mix well.Note: Do not add condensed milk and almond powder at this point.
- Close the lid with vent on sealing position.
- Turn ON Instant Pot to PORRIDGE mode for 20 minutes on high pressure. When instant pot beeps, let the pressure release naturally, around 10 minutes.
- OPTIONAL - Using a wire whisk or handheld mixture, whisk the mixture to a desired consistency. This will break the rice grains, thus adding to the creaminess of the pudding.
- Turn ON Instant Pot, saute mode, add condensed milk, almond powder and nuts. Mix well.
- Cook for additional 2-3 minutes. Turn OFF the Instant Pot.
- Garnish with nuts. Enjoy rice pudding, aka Kheer!
Instructions for Stove top Rice Pudding (kheer)
- Follow the same recipe as discussed, bring the milk to a boil, reduce the heat and cook until kheer thickens and the rice is cooked. Keep stirring occasionally to avoid any sticky bottom. Use any heavy bottom pot or a dutch oven around 8 quarts.
- If you are not using the almond flour and condensed milk you can reduce the milk by a cup. Use 5 cups of milk instead of 6 cups.
- Tips for making delicious Rice Pudding (Kheer) - please refer to the post discussed earlier.
- FAQ for Rice Pudding (Kheer) - please refer to the post discussed earlier.
- How to make Kheer vegan / dairy-free? – substitute full fat milk with nut milk like almond milk or full fat coconut milk.
- Nuts: Some like to use roasted nuts in the kheer. To roast nuts, turn on Instant Pot on saute mode, add 1 tablespoon of ghee (or For vegan use oil) and saute the nuts for about a minute. Remove the nuts and save it for later. Continue with the recipe.
- How to make Kheer nut-free? – For a nut-free rice pudding, simply skip all the nuts and the almond flour. Instead you can use some pumpkin seeds, chia seeds for garnish. It will still taste delicious.
- How to make Kheer sugar-free?- For a sugar-free Kheer, substitute sweetener of your choice instead of refined sugar and condensed milk. Add the sweetener after the kheer is cooked, at the end.
- Kheer stays fresh in refrigerator for about a 4-5 days.
Nutrition values are my best estimates. If you rely on them for your diet, use your preferred nutrition calculator.
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