Mom’s Keer (Pakistani Rice Pudding)

1 litre homogenized milk (whole milk if you’re in the US)

1 litre half and half

¾ cup of dry basmati rice, wash and soak over night

7 green elachi (cardamom pods)

¼ cup white sugar (then adjust to taste while cooking)

handful of slivered almonds

8-10 green pistachios, cut up into small slivers (garnish)

 

Put milk, half and half, and elachi pods into a pot and bring it to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer (lowest heat possible, so as not to burn the milk) and let it cook away for 2-3 hours. Stir occasionally to move the milk fat that forms to the side.  Once the colour of the milk changes from white to off white/pinky, you need to get your rice ready.

Rinse the soaked rice and drain all of the water.  Take a mug full of the hot milk and put it into a blender. Add the rice and blend up the rice so that it becomes teeny tiny pieces, but not completely pureed.

Increase the heat to medium-low (you don’t want to boil the milk..more like a strong simmer) and stir the milk while adding the blended rice mixture. This is where you have to stand for a looong time and stir the milk mixture frequently*. Otherwise, the rice will clump and burn.  Once the rice-milk mixture thickens (should not slide off the spoon), add the sugar and almonds. Stir continuously and once the sugar has melted, taste the milk. The trick to getting the right sweetness is to make the hot milk sweeter than usual, so that when it cools, it’ll have the right sweetness. I added about 3 extra tablespoons of sugar to the hot milk.  Once the keer has thickened to a pudding like texture, remove from heat and spoon it into a dish. Garnish with pistachio slivers. Cool before serving.

*Tip, if you want to avoid the looooonng stove top cooking, you can turn your oven on to 350C and cook the rice-milk mixture in there.  Put the mixture in a oven-safe roasting dish and put it on top of a cookie sheet. Cook the mixture, uncovered, in the middle of the oven. Stir it every 5-10 mins to ensure the milk on the sides doesn’t burn.  Once the milk thickens ((should not slide off the spoon), add the sugar and almonds. Stir continuously and once the sugar has melted, taste the milk. The trick to getting the right sweetness is to make the hot milk sweeter than usual, so that when it cools, it’ll have the right sweetness. I added about 3 extra tablespoons of sugar to the hot milk.

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