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Posted by on Jul 9, 2012 in Dessert, Indian | 2 comments



‘Kheer’ as it is called in North India and ‘Payasam’ in South, is one of the most popular Indian dessert.You must have seen it labeled as ‘Rice pudding’ at  Indian restaurant.It is must have for any festive occasion and at the same time quite simply a dessert for just another day.

Last weekend,i was hanging out with my parents at  google.Among many things we talked, I asked them why kheer is  so popular in India?This is what i learnt from our conversation.

  • Rice grows in abundence in India and parallel goes the dairy business.My grandparents farm rice as one of their main crop and also have cows and oxen.
  • So rice and milk is easily available to people.In old days sweet (dessert )shops were non-existant in villages and even now in remote villages it is that way.So ‘kheer’ is easy and cheap dessert,afforadable to most.Indian homes do not have conventional baking oven like US.So stove top dessert is the way to go.
  • ‘Rice’ (not parboiled)is treasured crop.It is common to sprinkle grain of rice during worship,wedding and death.It germinates few days later,which signifies the beginning of new stage of life.Because of this rice, milk,’kheer’ are deemed worthy for worship offerings.
  • It is very common in India for priest to hand a spoonful of ‘kheer’ at the end of worship.It is called ‘Prasaad’ and is considered pious by faithfuls.


Why do I like it?
Because this is the only dessert i knew of for long time.I remember at my grandparents house,’kheer’ was cooked in ‘claypots’ over ‘chulha’, a clay cooking stove,heated by burning woods through it.Anything cooked using this method is my favorite kind of food.I think smoke and fire adds that touch of flavor which can not be achieved otherwise.Oh i have so many memories of watching it or being a person whose job at times was to make sure wood is burning through the ‘chulha’.
Rice : Any rice but parboiled.I have yet to find the rice,my mom used.So Italian Arborio rice or Japanese sweet rice is what i am left with.
How do Indians eat Kheer?
Kheer could have the consistency of your choice,thin and runny or thick.It thickens as it sits.However i mostly had Kheer with flowy consistency.It is eaten by itself as dessert but at times ‘Kheer’ is also enjoyed by dipping Roti‘ to it.It becomes lazy meal in that case.I prefer mine chilled and thick by small spoonful.
One more thing ..
Though most commonly ‘kheer’ is prepared using sugar but in villages,a lot of times,instead of sugar ,’jaggery’ is used.It doesn’t only changes the color,it also adds the depth of flavor.
Old Tip..
Sugar or ‘jaggery’ is added only in the last minutes because it can curdle the milk,if cooked longer.Jaggery’ is unrefined cane sugar,containing ‘molasses’ and is sold in chunk or pulverized.



Yield: 5-7


  1. 3/8 cup rice
  2. 5 cups milk
  3. 4 cardamom pods
  4. 1/2-3/4 cup sugar


  1. In a pot,add water and wet its surface.It will prevent scorching as the milk cooks.
  2. Add milk and cardamom.Bring it to boil
  3. Add rice and cook it at low.
  4. Add sugar as it thickens,towards the end.
  5. Let it come to the room temperature.
  6. Enjoy.


  1. Cardamom Pods where do I find that?

  2. I get mine from Indian stores or order online.Whole foods should have it.Check specialized food aisle of grocery store.You can sub Vanilla beans but it will alter the taste little,in good way though.


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