Indian Rice Pudding or Rice Kheer with basmati rice, saffron, pistachios and raisins, a delicious dessert full of big flavours. It's very easy to make with a few handful ingredients, and it's a real treat for everyone in the family.
Rice pudding is a timeless dessert that does down well with absolutely everyone in the family. It's creamy, indulgent, comforting, and very easy to make at home with little prep. As a child, rice pudding was a dish we all couldn't have enough of, and it's still a great favourite with my family.
But unlike the classic rice pudding which is made with rice pudding rice, or arborio rice, this Indian rice pudding recipe is made with basmati rice and spices to get a delicate exotic flavour.
The saffron adds a lovely pale yellow colour and a subtle fragrance, while the cardamom takes it to the very next level. Add chopped pistachios and raisins, and you have the ultimate comfort food for all ages.
I cannot decide which version I like most, the classic recipe or the kheer recipe, they are both delicious just the way the are. I also made rice pudding in the slow cooker and that went down a treat too.
- basmati rice - I used regular basmati rice, but jasmine rice can work too
- milk - full-fat or semi-skimmed
- saffron - it adds flavour and colour too
- sugar - I used caster sugar, but granulated sugar is also ok
- cardamom pods - use a sharp knife to split them for extra flavour
- pistachios - either salted or unsalted
- raisins - or any other currants
If you omit the saffron, the rice pudding will have a white colour, rather than pale yellow - the more saffron you use, the darker the yellow.
Pistachios can be swapped for chopped almonds or any other nuts - you can either use them only for decoration, or mixed with the pudding too.
Step-by-step photos and instructions
- In a large pan, add the milk, saffron and split cardamom pods and bring it to a boil
- Rinse the rice with plenty of cold water until the water runs clear
- Add the rice to the milk, and leave it to simmer on a low to medium heat until the rice is nearly tender - that can take up to 20 minutes
- In go the sugar and raisins, and give it a good stir
- Leave it to simmer until the sugar has been dissolved, the rice is cooked, but there is still some liquid left
- Garnish with chopped pistachios, and remove from the pan, but still leave the lid on for 2-3 minutes for the rice to soak up all the flavours
- Serve warm.
Make sure you use a non-stick pan, as the milk and rice can make the pan quite hard to clean up afterwards.
If you have extra time, you can soak the rice in cold water for up to 30 minutes, that will make the rice quicker to cook and creamier.
You can also add ghee or butter to the milk when it first boils, this will make the pudding really indulgent and extra flavourful, but that's completely optional.
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Indian Rice Pudding
- ½ cup basmati rice
- 4 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon saffron strands
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- 3 cardamom pods
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup chopped pistachios
- Rinse the rice with plenty of cold water until the water runs clear.
- In a large pan set over a medium heat, add the milk, saffron strands and cardamom pods slightly split and bring it to a boil.
- Bring the heat to a low to medium, add the rice and give it a good stir.
- Leave it to simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is nearly tender.
- Add the sugar and raisins, and continue to cook it until the rice is cooked through, and there is still some liquid left.
- Add the chopped pistachios, remove the pan from the heat, but still keep a lid on for 2-3 minutes so the rice can soak up all the flavours.
- Serve warm.
- Make sure you use a non-stick pan, as the milk and rice can make the pan quite hard to clean up afterwards.
- If you have extra time, you can soak the rice in cold water for up to 30 minutes, that will make the rice quicker to cook and creamier.
- You can also add ghee or butter to the milk when it first boils, this will make the pudding really indulgent and extra flavourful, but that's completely optional.