We call it Indian Rice Pudding in American but it’s more like a cold soup. I’m sharing with you a traditional recipe from one of my favorite cook books.
The movie Monsoon Wedding got me thinking about Indian food. It’s about an arranged marriage in India during the monsoon season which is usually in July. What I loved most about the movie was the portrayal of the leading men (the groom and the brides father.) They were handsome and honorable.
I watched it over three nights. It wasn’t a long movie but it was a busy week.
The book I picked from my collection to match this movie was originally published in 1973 by Madhur Jaffrey. This is a copy of the first printing.
I love this book. I’m not selling it in my Etsy shop, it stays with me! But I’m sure you can find a copy out there. The writing is so real and authentic. Look at what she says… Don’t you dare call it rice pudding! Ha! But does “rice pudding” sound so much better than “Cold Cardamom Basmati Soup?” How could our American taste buds relate? Pronounced KEY-EAR or KEEHD or rhymes with HERE if you don’t have a good Indian accent, which I don’t. 🙂
I just stared at the page when I read the recipe. How could this be? One Tablespoon of rice? HUH? When I made this recipe, I made half, just to be sure not to waste too much milk in case this was some type of publishing error. But it wasn’t. Count on the recipe to make 2-3 servings, max. It was difficult to find pistachios that were unsalted. So I bought salted, and then rinsed them in hot water. It worked just fine. I sprinkled some on top like the recipe specifies but really that crunch was too much. If you put them all in when it’s hot, they soften and are so delicious in the kheer by the time it’s chilled and ready to serve. This is really like a cold soup, often it is considered a milky pudding but not thick at all like the pudding we know. Let’s just stop calling it pudding right now! Ha Ha.
This was a simple twist today on the classic recipe below. I pureed some nice ripe mango and swirled it on the top. I also chose to use Basmati rice. Cardamom is a must and Vark is something I can’t seem to get my hands on. I found the closest thing to an earthenware bowl I could find. Whallah!
My Mom and I used to go to an Indian restaurant in Topeka and for dessert I usually got the kheer with a little dollop of mango ice cream. Something about kheer and mango, it’s a harmony of flavor.
A few minutes ago I sat in the kitchen, … relaxed in the dimness of a rainy evening. I’m pondering love and all the ways it evokes and evolves, or dissolves. That Movie, this Recipe….and ENJOYED every spoonful of this classic and flavorful Indian dessert.
Be sure to use Basmati rice and Whole Milk. 🙂 To reduce the cost, you can use some ground Cardamom to taste in place of the pods.