Rice Pudding (Kheer)
Jaggery, which is dehydrated sugarcane juice, is a by-product of sugar refining. Golden brown and with a maple syrup-like flavor, it is used in Indian desserts and candies. Brown sugar, palm sugar, maple syrup or maple sugar may be substituted, although they do not accurately replicate jaggery's flavor. Pieces of silver foil, known as vark, are used primarily to decorate desserts and sweets at banquets, wedding feasts and festivals. The sheets are sold in Indian grocery stores.
- 4 cups milk
- 4 cups light cream
- 1/2 cup basmati rice, preferably small-grain
Gobinda Bhog or brown basmati rice,
- 3/4 cup light-colored jaggery or light
- 4 green cardamom pods
- 1/2 tsp. saffron threads, crushed
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 6 pieces silver foil, each 2 inches square
Meanwhile, pry open the cardamom pods, remove the seeds and grind them to a powder. (This is best done using a mortar and pestle; you can also wrap the seeds in plastic wrap and crush them with a mallet or rolling pin.) Discard the cardamom skins. Add the cardamom, saffron, raisins and almonds to the cooked rice mixture and mix well. Transfer to a bowl, let cool, then cover and refrigerate until chilled.
Spoon the pudding into small dessert bowls and garnish with silver foil.