Chai Spiced Indian Rice Pudding

August 9th is National Rice Pudding Day!  It is fitting for this Queen of all Comfort Foods to have its own day to be celebrated.  In honor of this, we would like to offer our own twist on what in India is called Kheer (or Kir).

Not only is it a great way to use up leftover cooked rice, it can be dressed up or dressed down to suit your mood.  In India, it’s often served chilled at weddings, richly and subtly flavored with saffron and cardamom.  Or it can be as simple as rice cooked with milk and a little sugar, the ultimate comfort food for children (of all ages) with a little sniffle or upset tummy.

We would like to offer a version that is especially creamy and is flavored with Tipu’s Chai (of course!).  In India, you would most likely be using Basmati rice, which has a lovely fragrance and flavor.  For the sake of creaminess, we used white Arborio rice, the kind used to make risotto.  Since there was no leftover rice in the fridge, we made up the Arborio rice using the following recipe:
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a saucepan.  Add 1 cup of Arborio rice and toss to coat the grains.  Sauté on low heat for 1-2 minutes but do not brown the rice.  Add 4 cups of hot water, one cup at a time.  As the liquid gets soaked into the rice, add the next cup, stirring frequently.  It should simmer for about 20-25 minutes as you add the water.  After adding the last cup of water, bring to a simmer, cover and remove from the heat, allowing to cool and fluff up.

Arborio Rice

Now to make the pudding. 

Into a heavy bottomed saucepan, measure 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of whole milk.  Bring this to a simmering boil and cook, stirring frequently so it doesn’t get stuck on the bottom of the pan.  (If you are going to add vanilla bean, add it now but don’t forget to take it out before you serve!).  Cook the rice and milk until the milk has reduced by half and the pudding is thickening up.

Simmering the rice and milk

In the meantime, pour some hot water over the raisins to plump them up.  Chop your nuts and, for added flavor, you can toss them in a dry frying pan until they begin to brown slightly.

Ingredients for kheer

When the pudding begins to thicken, add the sugar, raisins and Tipu’s Chai Now – The Simple Life.  Stir to thoroughly incorporate the spices and remove all clumps of Chai.

Adding chai

If you are going to serve it hot, pour into bowls and garnish with the nuts to keep them crunchy. 

Kheer is especially delicious served cold.  To serve it cold, stir in the nuts and place in the pudding in individual serving bowls.  Cover with cling wrap, pressing the wrap down onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skim from forming.  To serve, garnish with a few chopped nuts, a dried apricot or sprinkle with nutmeg.

Finally, a word about the versatility of this lovely sweet.  Be creative! 
• You can use any kind of leftover rice but if you want to use brown rice, cook it with a bit of extra water and a longer time than normal so it is not chewy.  White Basmati, Jasmine and Arborio are wonderful choices. 
• You can use any kind of nuts and dried fruits for variety and to dress up the humble pudding.  However, we always use golden raisins and light colored fruit because the dark raisins end up looking like bugs in your bowl of pudding!
• Experiment with alternative sweeteners like honey, agave syrup or rice syrup and adjust the quantity until you get the sweetness you like. 
• And if you do cook with a vanilla bean, don’t forget to retrieve it before serving.  Or you can offer a prize to whomever finds the bean in their bowl!

Rice Pudding with Chai

Chai Spiced Indian Rice Pudding (Kheer)
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Cooked Rice (any kind, the softer the better) – 1 cup
Whole Milk (soy or almond milk OK too but go for creamy) – 2 cups
Sugar – 4 tbsp or to taste
Tipu’s Chai Now – The Simple Life – 1 tsp
Golden Raisins (or other dried fruit) – 2 tbsp
Chopped Pistachios – 2 tbsp
Chopped Almonds – 2 tbsp

Method:

In a heavy bottomed pan, combine the milk, sugar and rice.  Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and simmer, stirring frequently until the liquid has reduced by half and the mixture is creamy and beginning to thicken.

Meanwhile, soak the raisins in a little bit of water to help puff them up.  Chop nuts into small pieces.  Lightly toast nuts if desired.

Once it reaches the desired thickness, add in the Tipu’s Chai Now – The Simple Life. Mix well.  Adjust sweetness or spiciness to taste.

Drain water from raisins and discard.  Add in the dried fruit and nuts.  Serve hot or cold.

Garnish with nuts, fruits or a sprinkling of nutmeg.
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  • Posted by Varada
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