Mina's Pistachio Almond Cardamom Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)


If you've been to an Indian buffet, you've probably had some kheer. This kheer is a regular rice pudding made with Indian spices. Cardamom, almond and pistachio are common flavorings in Indian desserts. It was flavored at the end with kewra water. You can also add a touch of saffron water to give a yellow color to the dessert as well.

Every culture that uses rice as a starch has some form of rice pudding. In France, it's called le riz au lait. In Vietnam, it's chè đậu trắng, a black eyed pea sticky rice pudding. And of course, there is good old American rice pudding, usually topped with nutmeg, mace and cinnamon.

Mina is Lulu's cousin. We had a potluck going on this weekend and she brought desserts. And as a food blog addict, I had to post it.


Yields: 8 servings

2/3 cup basmati rice
4 pods cardamom
1 1/2 gallon whole milk
4 cups sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp kewra water
1/4 cup unsalted pistachio kernels, coarsely crushed, + for garnish
1/4 cup slivered amonds, + for garnish


In a mortar and pestle, crush the pods of cardamoms and extract the black seeds.

Slightly grind the basmati rice in a mill. (I use a coffee grinder that I exclusively use for grinding spices).

In a stock pot, pour the rice and milk and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer. Cover. Stir frequently over low heat for about an hour. The rice should be tender. Stir in the sugar and the cardamom seeds. The sugar will thicken the mixture. Cook for another 20 minutes.

Remove from the stove and let it cool down to room temperature. Add the kewra water and the nuts.

Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or better overnight.

Serve chilled, topped with slivered almond and pistachios.

I tried to capture a cardamom seed, it's the black thingy at the bottom right of the nuts.


It's better to make it overnight so that the rice pudding has time to set. It has to be served chilled.

Always make the rice pudding a little sweeter because the cold cuts down on the flavor.

Kewra water is an extract distilled from pandanus flowers. It's often used in Indian food. To me, the fragrance is like a combination of licorice and rose water.

You can add any flavorings you want, kewra water, rose water or a pinch of saffron ground in a mortar and pestle and dissolved in water.

I decorated the top of the kheer with sliced almond for the picture, but I used slivered almond in the pudding itself. Slivered almonds are skinless and I think that blends better when mixed in the kheer.

And if you're hesitating between a rice pudding and crème brûlée, make a fusion rice pudding brûlée like Sophie. Just sprinkle some sugar as you would do for a crème brûlée, then caramelize the sugar using a blow torch.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on February 8, 2009.


Thank you so much for the comment on my blog,& thanks for telling me about this recipe.
I'm sure the Pudding tastes so good with basmati rice & cardamom.

zainab Website Link
[ Posted at 9:03 PM on 9/23/09 | Reply ]
[-] notes - Guest-joyce
What's the goal for the end? Is it the most custard-y possible while having a sheen?

when the mixture looks more thick but still wet and starts to bubble... is it within a few minutes right after that you want to take it out?

Getting cardamoms in each bite, they're way more intense than soft flavors of saffron and rose water, kinda weird combo.

5 quart glass pot only fit half a gallon of milk. Took more stirring and a lower temp to keep the bottom from sticking. Could've added more milk? My rice was did not get so tender but everything softened a bit overnight too.
[ Posted at 8:44 AM on 1/16/11 | Reply ]
ooh, had this for breakfast like hot oatmeal- yum!
[ Posted at 4:42 PM on 1/26/11 | Reply ]
Hi have never tried the combination of almonds and pistachio before - will try it as it looks delicious!!

Shobha Krishnan Website Link
[ Posted at 9:37 PM on 8/24/11 | Reply ]

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