My grandma used to make sabudana kheer on days when she observed fasts, not so much otherwise.I remember skipping meals and tucking down quite a number of bowls of it on those occasions.
Like most puddings, this one does not require much effort in cooking since soaked tapioca cooks pretty fast. It was not the cooking time but the wait till sunset that got me impatient. Despite the fact that I wanted to lick it right away from the pot as soon as it was ready, we waited until prayer time. She would then ladle the kheer in bowls and spoon over generous amount of ghee sautéed raisins and almonds.
This luscious kheer is as comforting as a rice pudding, but much more smooth, almost custard like.The fluffy, opaque tapioca pearls melt down in the bubbling milk, naturally thickening it, become translucent and get pleasantly chewy as the kheer cooks. You can smell the mellow aroma of the starchy pearls and the saffron, the starch from the tapioca also makes the consistency silk-like.
Kheer forms a quintessential part of indian cuisine. It is a perfect accompaniment to spicy food and is usually a must during religious celebrations and festivals as offering to God.Wedding and special occasion menus are incomplete without certain kind of kheer, making it the most popular way of rounding off the meals.
I am such a huge fan of puddings and fail to understand how can somebody (like my husband ) doesn’t want to eat it. There’s something so comforting about a gooey, warm bowl of kheer, redolent with an aroma of saffron with nuts adding a texture.
Go imaginative with the kind of aroma you want to flavor this pudding with, I have tried, vanilla, orange zest and rose-water. It tastes as wonderful with each of them.
- 1/3 cup sabudana (tapioca)
- 2 tsp ghee
- 1/3 cup nuts of choice ( I used sliced almond &raisins)
- 3 cups whole milk
- 2 whole cardamom pods
- 10-12 saffron strands grind the saffron with a pinch of sugar and soak in 1 tbsp warm milk
- 1/2 can (7oz) condended milk or to taste
- Wash the tapioca pearls 1-2 times in water, drain the water. Add the tapioca pearls to a bowl, add 1/2 cup of water and set aside for 2 hours. The tapioca pearls will plump up as they soak. The time of soaking depends on quality of your sabudana, it can take upto 10 hours to soak.Make sure that after soaking, the tapioca pearls are soft and can easily be squeezed between thumb and finger. Drain the water(if any) after soaking. Set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed pot, melt the ghee on low. Add the nuts to it and sauté for about 20-25 seconds till you smell the aroma. Take out in a bowl and set aside for garnish.
- In the same pot, add the cardamom seeds and slowly pour the milk. Set the stove on medium and let milk come to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the milk reduce for 20-25 minutes. You will need to stir and scrape sides in between to make sure that the milk is not sticking to the bottom.
- Once the milk is reduced a little, add the soaked tapioca to the pot and mix well.
- Cook on low – medium heat for 30-35 minutes with continual stirring till you see that tapioca pearls have started to become translucent and are cooked through. The kheer will thicked and become silk like consistency as you cook it.
- Add the saffron milk at this point mix well. Let cook for another 5-10 minutes on low till the tapioca are cooked through. You can pinch one of the pearls between fingers to check that they are soft. When the kheer is thick enough(thicken it more than you think, since condersed milk will thin it out),mix in the condensed milk, simmer for another 5 mins(keep an eye since the kheer gets little sticky) and then take off the stove and let cool down for 10 minutes.
- You can mix the ghee sautéed nuts. Serve the kheer warm or cold garnished with more nuts (if desired) .
- Depending on the size and quality, you will need to soak tapioca pearls for 20 minutes (smaller variety) or up to 3-4 hours(larger variety).
- You could use a combination of cream & milk or half and half depending on how rich you want the pudding.
- The amount of milk in the recipe can be varied as per desired thickness of the pudding.
- Cooking time of tapioca pearls will depend on variety and how long it takes them to swell up and is cooked through.Please adjust accordingly.
- The pudding thickens up as it sits but you can thin it out with little warm milk if serving next day. You can boil up the milk, add to the pudding and reheat