Sweet rice, also known as Kheer, is a thick rice pudding that has been flavored with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. It is sweetened with sugar or condensed milk and served warm or cold. This tasty rice pudding is typically served at Hindu or Muslim religious functions as a dessert. It can sometimes be eaten with puri, which adds another layer of texture and flavor. This is a special recipe, as it belongs to my grandmother. I have yet to taste a sweet rice recipe that is as good as hers. It has the perfect balance of sweetness, creaminess, and flavor.
Being Hindu and growing up in a Hindu home meant helping my mom and grandmother cook traditional foods for our Jhandi's or Pooja's (this is what we call a prayer service). We would invite all of our family members, friends, and neighbors to the prayer service and prepare delicious foods to serve afterwards. My mom would make all of the traditional foods that are typically served at a Hindu prayer services. "Jhandi food" as I like to call it, includes seven different types of curries, rice, dhal puri, roti, along with even tastier desserts/sweets such as peera (fudge), mithai, and sweet rice.
The one dessert that I was always drawn to was my grandmother's sweet rice. It seems this may be an easy dish to make, but the truth is, at any point during the cooking process, things can go haywire. Mishaps such as under cooking the rice, adding too much rice for the amount of milk, and even adding too much sugar are all factors that can mess up the entire dish. Until I made all of the above mentioned mistakes, it made me appreciate my grandmother's careful attention to making gigantic pots of this wonderful pudding without any said errors. Now that she lives in India, it is hard to watch her cook and jot down measurements as she goes, but fortunately for me (and you) my aunt has mastered my grandmother's recipe so I was able to document it for all of posterity. Yes, it's that serious 😉
SWEET RICE / KHEER
- 3 cups water
- ½ cup long grain white rice
- 1 whole cinnamon stick or ½ tsp ground
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom or 2 pods
- Dash of nutmeg
- Dried cherries/raisins/nuts (optional)
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 12oz can of evaporated milk
- Condensed milk to taste (about 7oz)
- Bring 3 cups of water to a medium boil. Add washed rice, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg. Let rice boil until cooked all the way through on medium heat. If needed add more water ½ cup at a time until rice is completely cooked. This step should take about 30 minutes.
- Once rice is completely cooked, it will look soupy, add 1 cup of whole milk and reduce heat to low and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add the desired amount of cherries or raisins/currants.
- Add one 12oz can of evaporated milk. Rice mixture will look loose and watery after adding evaporated milk. Let simmer for 25-30 minutes on very low heat until mixture starts to get lumpy and thick. Stir frequently, but refrain from scraping the bottom.
- When rice mixture is thick and lumpy and has a pudding texture, add the desired amount of condensed milk to sweeten. I added 7oz which is about half of the standard sized tin. Stir and enjoy!