Rice Kheer (Rice Pudding)

Hello everyone! Here I am after a long break (over 3 weeks) from blogging. I am back - rejuvenated and almost charged to start posting some new recipes here. Three weeks ago we finally shifted to our own place from my brother's place which was our home for all these months. While I was very excited to finally start setting up my own home and settle down, there were streaks of sadness when we said goodbye to one of the most generous families I've known. My brother and his family made sure that our stay at their place was more than comfortable and we had great times together. The good part is that we live within walkable distance of each other's homes now and meet each other every weekend. I am super glad about that as now I can finally start baking big batches of goodies which can be shared with them. 

While on this much needed break I am glad that I didn't feel compelled to post a recipe despite my really busy schedule at home, infact I welcomed the peace that comes from not having to check the computer every now & then for comments, messages and such. I do apologize however to all those of you who have taken the trouble to email me - please rest assured that I will get to each of your mails & respond to them one by one. Hey, by the way, contacting me is a lot easier now. Click on the 'Contact Me' tab right above this page, below the header and you can write me a mail directly without having to logging into your email account. However, please ensure that you write the correct email id if you want me to reply to your mails (I don't spam, trust me!)

Today's recipe is long overdue. It was prepared eons ago - when I was in Mumbai to be precise. I have tried it several times over after coming to Dubai as well and is the present 'hot-favourite' amongst my family. Really simple and one that requires minimal cooking skills. The availability of condensed milk makes life easier these days isn't it? I wanted to post this recipe for Eid & Dussehra - two festivals that were celebrated across the world last week, however, since my little fellow along with his cousins had Eid holidays and so we planned a lot of activities & outings for them and blogging was put on the back burner once again. Anyway, who needs an occasion to eat sweets right? 

Kheer is one of my favourite Indian desserts. Although I never liked kheers and payasams during my childhood I never spare them now - whether they are served for parties or I make them myself at home. They taste great in any temperature - hot, cold or at room temperature. I hope you make this & like it too. Enjoy!

Rice Kheer
Prep time: 5 mins | Cooking time: 15-20 mins | Serves 4-6

1. Wash the rice in 2 changes of water till the water runs clear.
2. In a heavy bottomed pan heat the milk and add the rice to it. Reduce the flame to a simmer and let the rice cook until the milk is reduced to half the quantity. Stir in between to avoid the rice from forming lumps or to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
3. When the milk has reduced to half, add the condensed milk and mix well, continue to simmer for another 5-7 minutes before adding the water - this is to adjust the consistency.
4. .Continue to simmer until the rice is soft and the kheer thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Add powdered cardamom and stir. You may add the saffron (or any other flavouring) at this stage. Simmer for a minute, add the ghee, stir once and turn off the flame.
5. Serve hot or warm or chilled (see notes).

1. This kheer is prepared with any short grained rice like jeera samba (jeera rice), ghee rice (also known as neichoru ari in Malayalam) or doodh malai rice.  You may even use short grained sona masoori rice. Do not use basmati or any other variety of raw rice like kolam as they are grains that cook fast & turn mushy. You may use any variety of hard rice that is short grained in nature or the one that retains its 'bite' and doesn't turn into a paste if overcooked.
2. Unless you are very health conscious use more than 3 tablespoons of ghee to enhance the flavour & aroma of this kheer.
3. Addition of saffron strands is purely optional but recommended. It not only imparts a great colour but also a lovely aroma and mild taste to the kheer. You may add 1 drop of rose essence (or 2 drops of rose water) or any natural (not synthetic) essence/extract to the kheer to enhance its flavour.
4. If you wish to serve it chilled, allow the kheer to cool down completely before placing in the refrigerator. Also, pls note that rice kheer tends to thicken after a while so before you serve heat it on a simmer if using a gas stove, add 1/2 cup of warm milk to dilute the consistency or just place kheer in a microwave safe bowl and microwave it before serving - just make sure you stir it evenly to avoid hot spots caused by microwave heating.

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