My grandmother’s rizogalo (rice pudding) is ingrained in my memory for ages to come; she made it so often and always sent up half a dozen or so bowls for us to devour. When the smell of cinnamon would waft up the stairs from her apartment to ours, we knew what was coming! Her recipe was simplicity at its best: milk, rice, sugar and a dash of cinnamon. I’ve made it often and rarely veered from her always-delectable version.
Until now. I brought home a bag of Basmati rice the other day and I was immediately inclined to use it in a sweet recipe as opposed to a savory application. I also had a small jar of cardamom pods (entirely under-used and neglected) nestled away in my pantry and as I often associate cardamom with Indian sweets and also had that Basmati rice, I decided an Indian rice pudding was in order.
I found this recipe on a site called Blue Jean Gourmet. Simple, fast and exactly what I was looking for, the family didn’t even let it cool adequately before spooning it all up. My impressions? I will never use a rice other than Basmati to make rice pudding. Using plain old rice in the past, I’d always find half-cooked grains with too much bite mixed in with the fully-cooked rice. It wasn’t pleasant. But this, oh, this Basmati rice pudding was utter perfection.
Kheer – Indian Rice Pudding
Makes 4 small (4-inch) ramekin servings
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup basmati rice, rinsed
1/4 to 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 cardamom pods, finely ground
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
In a medium pot, heat the milk and vanilla over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, rinse the rice, drain and add the rice to the milk, stirring to combine with a wooden spoon.
Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, about 30 to 35 minutes. Check the rice for doneness and once cooked through, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the cardamom, then swirl in the sweetened condensed milk (add more or less as desired). Serve warm or at room temperature.