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Bhavika & Gurjeet's Kesari Kheer

Recipe By: Shef Bhavika & Gurjeet A.

Serves 4

Bhavika & Gurjeet's Kesari Kheer

One Whiff of Kesari Kheer or rice pudding is enough to bring you back to a place of comfort. That place for me is my home in India, surrounded by my loved ones. Since I was a child, my mom and I have shared our passion for cooking, and our favorite sweet dish to cook together has been Kesari Kheer. This dish signifies festivities; therefore, it is a staple on occasions like Diwali, Holi, and Rakshabandhan. 

The aroma of the rice cooking in milk, sugar, cardamom and saffron lingered through the corridor of my childhood home when I was a child. Today, it transports back to that time. I hope this recipe takes you back to fond memories of your own and or form new ones! My mom and I welcome you to explore more of these delicacies from our kitchen on Shef.com.

- Shefs Bhavika & Gurjeet A.

This is a culinary partnership with Shef

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  • ¼ cup basmati rice 
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup water
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch Kashmiri Saffron
  • ½ teaspoon ground Baraka Green Cardamom or Iniya Green Cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons sweet raisins (optional)
  • 10 almonds, blanched and chopped
  • 10 pistachios, chopped (optional)
  • Panneer Rose petals for garnishing


  1. Place the rice in a large bowl and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear, about 3 to 4 times. Fill the bowl with fresh water and let it soak until the grains can easily be broken with your fingers, about 2 hours and up to 4 hours. Gently crush the rice with your fingers, you’ll notice the long grain breaks into smaller pieces easily. Drain the water completely. 

  2. Pour the water into a large, heavy-bottomed pot (this prevents kheer from getting scorched at the bottom). Add in the milk, place over medium heat  and bring to a boil, stirring frequently to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom of the pan.  

  3. Add the drained rice to the milk on a medium flame , and cook, stirring frequently, until the rice is fully cooked through, is soft and lightly mushy, about 20-25 minutes. Cover pot partially with lid — pro tip: let the steam escape the pot at all times to prevent overflow and to keep rice from turning to mush!

  4. Add the sugar, stirring to combine, and continue to cook until the rice kheer turns thick, about 15 minutes.

  5. Stir in the saffron (at this point, your rice kheer will turn a beautiful, silky yellow). Keep stirring continuously to prevent burning. Stir in the ground cardamom, raisins, and nuts, and cook until the rice kheer reaches your desired consistency, about 5 to 7 minutes, keeping in mind that the kheer will thicken more as it cools down. Cool to room temperature or refrigerate until chilled. 

  6. To serve, garnish rice kheer with more nuts and rose petals.

*The traditional recipe does not use sweetened condensed milk but you can add 2 to 3 tablespoons of condensed milk in the end for enhanced flavor. Just make sure to adjust the quantity of sugar in the beginning to desired sweetness.

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We partnered with  Shef to produce this recipe, featuring our spices and their local cooks like Shefs Bhavika & Gurjeet A. from Los Angeles. 

Shef is a community-based homemade food platform for immigrants, refugees, and local cooks to share their cuisine with their neighbors. Shef is dedicated to economic empowerment, meaningful connection, and cultural inclusion. You can order from Bhavika & Gurjeet’s menu and explore hundreds of shefs cooking near you on shef.com.


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