Arborio rice pudding with almonds, cardamoms and saffron


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Simply put, Kheer, as it is known in India. It’s a very popular, quite a favourite amongst all, and relatively easy dessert to make at home, be it for a festive occasion or just if you have a craving to eat something sweet and creamy. It’s gluten-free and vegetarian, just with basic ingredients milk, sugar and rice and flavourings of saffron, fragrant cardamom and almonds. One can add pistachios too. Nowadays, there are trendier versions incorporating exotic fruits and flavours.

The kheer I made today, is for the start of our New Year in our Hindu calendar, being celebrated today. The traditional recipe incorporates white Basmati rice. I decided to use arborio rice. Arborio rice is predominantly used in risotto. I used it, just so because it has a higher starch content, thus making the pudding, thicker and creamier.  Instead of adding almonds simply as a garnish, which I have done, I also added almond meal or finely crushed almonds while cooking the pudding.

Its best served chilled and enjoyed on any day!

Servings 6-8

Ingredients :

Whole milk – 4 cups

Arborio rice – 3/4 cup. Do not soak it.

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Sugar – 3/4 cup. Adjust it according to one’s taste

Finely crushed almonds or almond meal – 1/2 cup

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Green cardamons – 6 to 8. Remove skins and take out seeds. Or use store bought crushed cardamom

A pinch saffron

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A little crushed, dried rose petals, optional

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Ghee or clarified butter – 1/2 tsp.

Chopped almonds, a handful

Add the milk to a large, deep saucepan or Dutch oven.

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Bring to a boil on medium to medium-high heat, stirring constantly, so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. When the milk comes to a boil, add the rice and crushed almonds or almond meal.

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Reduce heat to low, and stir. Stir continuously in the beginning, making sure there are no little lumps of rice forming. Try and separate the rice grains. Keep stirring at intervals. Crush cardamom seeds, rose petals and saffron together. Add it and stir well.

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Arborio rice takes a little longer to cook. The mixture will thicken as its cooking. Cover with a lid after 20 mins and cook further, till the rice is cooked and creamy.

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Do not let it over thicken. Keep checking. Remove from heat and add sugar. Stir very well.

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In the meantime, in a small pan, heat ghee. Add the chopped almonds and roast for a minute, to get a nice toasty flavour.

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Pour the pudding in any serving bowl. Garnish with the toasted almonds.

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Set in refrigerator to chill for a few hours.

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Serve when you are ready for some yummy dessert 🙂

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