Kheer! The word brings back so many memories. Special days, auspicious functions or a celebration- this simple yet mouthwatering Indian dessert was always an essential part. Ma would make this with whatever rice was available but Gobindbhog was one variety which heightened the taste of this dessert to a different level. It was also one of the first desserts which I learnt to make , simply because it was so easy to put together. I remember the house-help being sent off to buy buffalo milk from the local dairy (we would usually consume cow’s milk for other purposes) whenever kheer was on the menu.The thick variety of milk was imperative to making a good kheer. And even the thick milk was boiled and simmered for a good 15-20 minutes with constant stirring to thicken it further before adding raw rice to it and slow cooking the mixture for another twenty minutes or so. And while on regular days it would be sweetened with sugar but come winters and especially during Chatth Puja, gur (jaggery) was used. And I have to say the latter variety tasted so much better.
Fast forward twenty odd years and the art of making a good kheer is still not lost on me. While on a leisurely day I do not mind spending time in the kitchen and make kheer just like Ma would, there are days when one is yearning for this sweet delight but doesn’t have the luxury of time to put it together. It is also hard to find the small grained fragrant Gobindbhog rice here so one has to make do with either Basamati or other rice. And that is what I did until I discovered how amazing was leftover sushi rice for Kheer. Yes, you heard me right! It works wonders for two reasons- One, the starch content is higher than regular rice and it adds to the creaminess of kheer and two, leftover rice hardens up just enough when refrigerated overnight so it is almost like adding raw rice to milk and yet because it is not really raw (and quite starchy), it cooks really quick with milk resulting in that perfect Kheer.All this, in 20 minutes flat.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the proportion of rice to milk. In this I added 1 cup of precooked sushi rice to approx 500 ml UHT milk. It is always safe to reserve some rice and milk on the side. If the kheer gets too runny add kheer and let the mixture cook for another 5-7 minutes and if it gets too thick add milk and cook for the same time. Also, I advise using UHT milk compared to regular milk because it is thicker and creams up pretty well with little boiling. If you are not in a rush however, you could very well use any kind of regular milk that you have at hand.
Now, as I mentioned before, Gobindbhog is the best rice to make kheer as it is really fragrant. However since I couldn’t find any here and still wanted a fragrant kheer I added some crushed green cardamom, bay leaf and saffron while boiling the milk
And last but the most important part, if adding jaggery, DO NOT add when the heat is on, because that will lead to curdling of milk and spoilt kheer. So, once the rice is cooked and you see that milk and rice have come together well, you can turn off the heat and then add crushed jaggery. Thats it! You can then either enjoy your kheer right away or refrigerate and eat it chilled. It tastes great either way. By the way have you tried dunking hot ghee smeared chapati into your kheer? Try that next time, it tastes heavenly!
- Precooked and refrigerated Sushi rice- 1 cup
- UHT Milk-500ml
- Jaggery, chopped fine-1/2 cup or as per sweetness desired (if using sugar, you could use lesser quantity). I used Nolen Gur but any variety is fine.
- Green cardamom-3 pods
- Saffron-1 pinch
- Nuts/Dried fruit of choice for garnish
- Take milk in a deep thick bottomed pan and bring to boil
- Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes on a medium-low flame with constant stirring
- Then add precooked rice and mix
- Reduce the flame to low and cook with intermittent stirring till you see the milk and rice come together nice and well, the rice grains are almost translucent and the kheer starts to look creamy. This should take about 7-10minutes
- Turn off the heat and let the it sit for 2 minutes, then add finely chopped or crushed jaggery.Chopping or crushing jaggery helps quick and even mixing