Kesar Pista Kheer

“It’s difficult to meet an ungenerous cook. The very heart of the experience of making food is about sharing, nurture, generosity, the giving of pleasure.” -Tamison Day-Lewis

Kesar Pista Kheer

There are few desserts that I could eat anytime of the day. This Kesar Pista Kheer (Saffron Pistachio Rice Pudding) is one of those dishes. Saffron in Indian dishes is used in a variety of sweet and savory recipes. Traditionally it’s often used when guests come to dinner to show hospitality and prosperity. A few stands topped on pulao with slivered almonds or infused into a creamy kheer goes a long way with what is known as the most precious and the most expensive spice in the world.

Kesar Pista Kheer

Slow cooked and infused with flavors of saffron, cardamom and rose water this dessert was often made during special occasions by my Mom in my younger years. Funny enough I’ve never been a fan of rice, or what we call ‘Chawal’ at home. Aside from Biryani and Rajma chawal (kidney beans & rice) this was the only other way I would eat rice as a child. Years later I’ve expanded my liking for rice, although this dish still remains as one of my favorites. I like my kheer semi thick and not overly sweet. The sugar can be adjusted to your taste but I find when too much sugar is added the other flavors get hidden. The rose flavor seems to marry the saffron and cardamom together but if you don’t have it on hand you can skip that step.

Kesar Pista Kheer

Kesar Pista Kheer

Ingredients
4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup basmati rice (wash and soak for an hour)
1 tablespoon sugar (adjust to taste)
7 oz (half a tin) condensed milk
1/3 cup pistachio, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder, coarsely ground
6-8 saffron strands
1/2 teaspoon rose water

Kesar Pista Kheer

Method
Heat milk on medium heat in a heavy bottomed wok/pan. Once warm add saffron and increase heat while stirring for 5-10 minutes to medium high until the milk becomes golden in color. Reduce heat to medium and add pre-washed, strained rice. Let cook for 30 minutes until the rice becomes tender. Stir often to ensure the rice doesnโ€™t stick to the bottom. Once the rice is soft and done, and the milk has reduced to half, add condensed milk, sugar, cardamom powder and pistachios. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat occasionally stirring. Remove from heat, add rose water, mix and let cool before refrigerating.

Kesar Pista Kheer

Serve chilled, garnish with chopped pistachio and rose petal dust.

Enjoy

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