Kheer is by far my favourite Indian dessert. No doubt because it is very similar to Sutliash, the rice pudding my grandmother used to make for me all the time when I was a kid. The only difference is that in Sutliash, the only garnishing is sprinkled cinnamon.
Wikipedia: Kheer (Sanskrit: Payasam, Oriya: Kheeri) is a traditional dish in the Indian subcontinent, a rice pudding typically made by boiling rice with milk and sugar. It is often flavored with cardamoms and pistachios. Payasam stands for Nector and is derived from "Peeyusham" which is also called " Amrutham". Kheer is also from Sanskrit word "Ksheer" which means Milk. It is an essential dish in many Hindu and Muslim feasts and celebrations in South Asia, While the dish is traditionally made with rice, it can also be made with other ingredients such as vermicelli (semiya). The recipe for the popular English rice pudding was, in fact, derived from kheer when Britain had occupied India. The north Indian version of rice kheer most likely originated in the temple city of Puri, in Orissa about two thousand years ago. It is cooked to this day within the Jagannath temple precincts there. Every single day, hundreds of temple cooks work around 752 hearths in what is supposed to be the world's largest kitchen (over 2500 sq. ft) to cook over 100 different dishes, including kheer, enough to feed at least 10,000 people. Traditionally the Oriya version of kheer is sprinkled with fried cashews and raisins and served in most festive occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and religious festivals. Although white sugar is most commonly used, adding gur (molasses) made of dates as the sweetener is an interesting variation that is also relished in Orissa. In Nepal, on the fourth month of the solar calendar, it is a tradition to eat Kheer. The dish is also consumed at Muslim weddings and prepared on the feasts of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha. A similar dessert, variously called firni, phirni or phirnee, is eaten in North India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Today, rest South Indian version. The south Indian version, payasam, is an integral part of traditional South Indian culture. In payasam, coconut milk is routinely used instead of milk. The Hyderabadi version is called as Gil e firdaus, and is quite popular. Payasam is served as an offering to the gods in south Indian Hindu temples during rituals and ceremonies. In the southern Indian state of Kerala, people have a particular affinity towards this dish. The payasams served in the temples of Guruvayoor and Ambalappuzha are renowned all over the region. The dish is also a must-have in all wedding feasts. Sometimes, the payasam is mixed with banana, sweet boondi or papadum before eatingaurants offer firni in a wide range of flavours including mango, fig, custard apple, etc.
I was in Chandigarh last month, and at Gurtaj's aunt's place, after a comatose dinner, we were served a huge bowl of kheer - deatht by carbohydrates!!! How could I refuse?! I indulged in it without a trace if guilt. At the end, how much of it do I eat?
It is really difficult to find great kheer - they either make it too watery, or overboil the rice so that it becomes a squishy white mass. It is even more terrible if it becomes too thick.
The best ever kheer I have eaten so far has been made by my friend Madhu. She boils the rice to perfection, and you can see every grain separately. She is generous with the cardamom pods, the dry fruits and the raisins - which I love!
milk- 1 litre
sugar - 4-5 tbsps
condensed milk - half tin
rice - small bowl
green cardamom 4-5 freshly pounded
dry fruits - cashew (broken)
Wash rice and soak in water. Boil milk and add the rice to it. Wash dry fruits and soak in milk. Let the rice and milk cook on slow flame, half hour or so. When slightly thick and rice is thoroughly cooked (take in spoon and mash with finger), add the condensed milk. Stir well. Cook a while then add sugar..one tablespoon at a time. keep tasting or may become too sweet. stir well then add the dry fruits. Keep for 5 more minutes and switch the gas off. Let it cool. chill in fridge. Will become thicker. If too thick add some milk. In the end add the cardomom before serving. Put a few slivers of dry fruit if you want.