Now that the cooler weather has arrived, so has alot of the interest in warmer foods and beverages. There is nothing more “warming” or relaxing than a hot bowl of soup, or hot drink on a cold day – it makes the cold more manageable right?
Well, in alot of Indian families, we have a dish called “Kheer” that is a type of traditional pudding eaten hot or cold, but in my opinion, best at room temperature.
Kheer or Kiru ( Maldivian : ކިރު) is a rice pudding popular in Indian subcontinent , made by boiling rice, broken wheat , tapioca , or vermicelli with milk and sugar; it is flavoured with cardamom , raisins , saffron , cashews , pistachios or almonds . It is typically served during a meal or as a dessert. It is also known in some regions as payasam , payasa , and phirni ,  while in Bengal the payesh is a variation of Kheer.
I remember my mom used to make it with rice when I was younger. I loved it then but now as an adult, I have recently been preferring it with roasted vermicelli instead. And I remember picking out ALL the raisins when younger, and now as an adult, I LOVE eating the raisins because they are like little sponges of the sweetened milk and cardamom. Funny how tastes and preferences change when we get older! (Or – maybe I’ve just realized the error of my ways from NOT just eating the deliciousness already in front of me when I was younger.) :O)
In any case, I love making this Kheer with the roasted vermicelli because the pasta has a hint of starchiness in it that adds a nice thickness to this milk-based pudding. Plus, with the addition of the raisins, mixed nuts and the spices/aromatics like cardamom and saffron, it is really becomes more than just a “rice pudding” and an extremely delicious treat anytime!
A perfect kheer, in my opinion, should have a good balance of liquid so you can drink the sweetened milk, BUT also has a healthy amount of thickness from the rice/vermicelli so you can scoop it up with a spoon and eat it.
Now that I’ve hopefully gotten your attention, here is the recipe for you to try out yourself!
Roasted Vermicelli Kheer (with Mixed Nuts)
Serves: 6-8 people
- 4 cups of milk (whole or preferred type)
- ½ cup of sugar (add more sugar if you want sweeter)
- 1 tsp fresh ground cardamom
- ¼ cup of roasted vermicelli noodles (add ½ cup if you want thicker consistency)
- 5 Tbsp of freshly ground pistachios and almonds (grind together) **add cashews if desired
- Few threads of saffron (8-10)
- ¼ cup of extra whole nuts for garnish (pistachios, almonds, cashews) **optional
- ¼ cup of raisins for garnish **optional OR can be added during cooking process
NOTE: ½ cup of plain cooked white rice can be used in place of vermicelli noodles if desired (add 3/4 cup if you want a thicker pudding consistency)
- In medium sized saucepan or small pot, heat milk, sugar, ground cardamom, freshly ground nuts on medium to low heat until bubbly.
- Lower heat and add vermicelli noodles, and raisins (optional)
- Boil close to 20 minutes on low heat until vermicelli is fully cooked
- Once cooked, add saffron threads and heat another 5-10 minutes or until your kheer has a soft golden/yellow color.
- Turn off stove an allow to cool off for about 10-15 minutes before serving with your garnishes on top. OR you may cool off in fridge for about 1-2 hours until fully chilled before serving.
- Garnish with whole nuts and raisins if desired. ** optional
- Serve in small individual size bowls or cups.
NOTE: Also, if you want to add some “dried fruits” into this dish – chop them up into small bite size pieces and mix in before serving. It really adds a whole new dimension to the kheer and makes it more hearty.
I hope you get an opportunity to make this Kheer in your kitchen. If you do, let me know your thoughts in the comments below or tag me on IG @cmspiceculture.