Ever tried rice pudding? If you like it, I’m betting you will love kheer. It’s been years since I made it, and the recipe I use is flavored with nutmeg instead of saffron. Of course, I’ve never had this particular recipe, but it sounds incredible after reading through the list of ingredients. I think I’m looking forward to this more than I was the tandoori salmon I made earlier this week.
Saffron rice kheer also known as Indian rice pudding is a luxurious dessert for any occasion . Gluten free and easy to make.
Most of the ingredients for saffron kheer aren’t expensive or difficult to find. However, there are 2 exceptions: the ghee and the saffron. Ghee is simmered clarified butter that’s commonly used in Indian cooking. I found Organic Valley brand in the dairy section for $6.99 (7.5 oz.). It’s pricey for butter, but it has a unique flavor that I think is worth it.
Next is the saffron. It’s know as the most expensive spice in the world, and I buy it in very small quantities. It’s not something I use often, most recipe don’t call for much, and a small amount packs a big flavor. I found 4 grams of Badia saffron at my local Publix for $4.39. That’s enough for 3-4 pinches of saffron, to give you an idea of how much comes in the package.
Saffron rice kheer is easy to make, but there are a few things you should know. First, make sure to rinse the rice to remove the surface starches. This keeps the rice from clumping when you cook it. Once the water runs clear (2-3 rinses), soak it in cool water for 20-30 minutes. I use a mesh sieve and a small mixing bowl for both rinsing and soaking. The sieve makes it easy and I don’t lose any rice down the drain.
Next, make sure you read the notes at the end of the recipe. The author has a great tip about microwaving the milk for 3 minutes. She says it saves about 15 minutes compared to heating it on the stove. Also, make sure you use a non-stick pot and stir often so the milk and rice do not stick and burn.
Finally, make sure you remove the cardamom pods before you stir in the nuts. The flavor is infused during cooking, and you don’t want to chew on the husks!
I couldn’t find rose water or food-grade rose petals, so I skipped adding them since they were listed as optional. I did sprinkle on extra chopped pistachios and sliced almonds as a garnish.