Rice Pudding (Kheer) is quintessential and probably the easiest of all Indian desserts. Originally made with rice, milk, sugar, and nuts; this recipe is made vegan by using homemade almond milk.
A wise man once said, “Life is short, eat desserts first.” And I am not the one to contest it :-). Especially during the winter months when sweets are an essential course and almost a snack too during the day. I am currently on a 6 weeks volunteering journey and while I do not have access to a kitchen to cook, I am definitely enjoying my share of sweets everywhere I go.
Since I am volunteering this entire month, I know that there won’t be time to write and share on the blog during January. This might be the only post till I return home end of Jan and I thought the first recipe of the New Year should be a dessert and what better than a vegan alternative to the traditional Indian kheer.
What is Kheer?
Kheer is the Hindi word for milk pudding. The 3 key ingredients for kheer are milk, grain, and sugar. Usually, there are additional flavors like cardamom, cinnamon, saffron, nuts, raisins, etc. While the milk pudding can be made with different types of grains like rice, vermicelli, millets, and fox nuts; the most common grain is rice.
The recipe is also very simple — soaked rice is cooked in milk with sugar until the desired consistency is reached. I love to add some cardamom, saffron, and nuts for additional flavor, color, and texture. I actually am very biased towards cardamom though, everything else is optional :-). Kheer, for me, always has a distinct cardamom aroma and taste.
Dairy Replacements for Milk Pudding
I made this rice pudding last month for a meditation gathering and everyone loved it. I used almond milk for a vegan replacement for milk. You can use any plant-based milk for this recipe but because we add lots of almonds to kheer, I felt almond milk will be better. I also added oat milk for a thicker texture.
With almond milk, the pudding is super rich in nuts. However, I cannot claim that it is healthy because it surely is a dessert with sugar but instead of regular white sugar, I’ve used organic brown sugar.
Is Kheer served hot or cold?
Kheer or Indian rice pudding is delicious both hot or cold. Winter months make warm kheer a bowl of comfort and in Summers, cold kheer is a delight.
I hope you try this recipe, the next time you are looking for a quick homemade dessert. The ingredients are pretty common in every household and it takes just about 30 mins to make it.
Vegan Indian Rice Pudding (Vegan Kheer)
Ingredients (1cup = 240ml; 1tbsp = 15ml; 1tsp = 5ml)
- 3 cups almond milk
- 1 cup oat milk
- ¼ cup Basmati rice
- 4 tbsp organic brown sugar adjust the quantity according to taste
- 2 tsp cardamom powder
- a few strands of saffron
- 8-10 pistachios hand-pounded to powder
- Rinse the rice in water for 3-4 changes. Soak Basmati rice in water, while you heat the milk.
- In a small bowl, soak the saffron strands in 1-2 tbsp of water.
- In a deep pot, bring milk to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low to simmer the milk. Drain the rice and add to the simmering milk. Cook for 10 mins until the rice is soft.
- Add sugar, cardamom powder, and saffron water. Cook on a simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the kheer is of desired consistency. Some like it very thick and some like it a bit watery.
- Taste and adjust for sweetness, stir in the powdered pistachios. Serve hot or allow to cool before putting it in the refrigerator and serve chilled.
- Recommended Plant-Based Milk options for Kheer: Almond milk, Coconut Milk, and Cashew milk.
- Nutritional Information is approximate information for 1 of 4 servings.
- To store: Allow the kheer to completely cool down before storing in the refrigerator. It will stay good in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- To Freeze: Freeze in airtight containers for up to a month. Might become a bit watery on defrosting.
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