If I could marry a spice, it would definitely be cardamom. Fragrant, slightly sweet, aromatic, mysterious, but at the same time, inviting…What’s not to like?
My feelings about cardamom explain my love for kheer, i.e., Indian rice pudding. I had some at a restaurant years ago and I was blown away. I didn’t even know that I liked rice pudding until that first spoonful of kheer. Then, I was hooked.
The other secret ingredient in kheer is rose water. It also has a very distinct, perfume-y flavor, but it balances well with the cardamom. Rose water is delicate and cardamom is richer, so it’s not like they’re constantly competing for attention.
I sound like I’m writing a romance column for spices. Maybe I am.
ANYWAY. A word to the wise about this recipe: It says to cook the rice, milk and sugar for 20 minutes, but I found that it look a lot longer. I left the mixture on the stove for about 45 minutes before it started thickening up. It could just be a weird quirk of my electric stove, but it’s worth watching the rice as it cooks.
I’m a big fan of Vulture‘s Best Songs of the Week column. I like Dee Lockett’s write ups of new music. She always has something insightful and snarky to say about songs and artists. Here’s one of her recommendations that I’ve been jamming out to lately.
Kheer (slightly adapted from here)
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 cup Basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon rose water
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped pistachio nuts
Bring the coconut milk, milk and sugar to a boil in a large saucepan. Add Basmati rice, and simmer over low heat until the mixture thickens and the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Stir in the cardamom and rose water, and cook for a few more minutes. Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with almonds and pistachios. Enjoy!