This Eidul Azha, go Kheer a la mode!

Published: October 5, 2014
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Despite the sugar, these milk-based desserts are full of nutrients, definitely low on the budget and easy to prepare.

For me, there can’t be an Eid without the ravishingly delicious Kheer – the ultimate sweet indulgence. A new twist to this traditional delight will surely bring a smile to your lips and, while the tongue revels in its milky glory, its creamy decadence will keep you entranced and craving for more.

Food aficionados like me are fascinated by the Mughals who brought their rich, aromatic food culture, and thereby refined cooking to an art form. The exotic use of spices, dried fruits and nuts makes Mughlai cuisine undeniably unique in style. Extravagant connoisseurs of beauty, they left behind an enduring legacy of culinary excellence that influenced the landscape of Indian cuisine completely and permanently.

They also brought with them refined and courtly etiquettes of dining in which decorating food with fresh flower petals, thin edible foils of silver and cleaning hands after dining by dipping fingers in bowls of rose water was usual practice.

The fast-paced craziness of our present world has rendered it impossible for us to indulge in those elegant dining styles but the taste and flavour can still be recreated and experienced on special occasions like Eidul Fitr and Eidul Azha. Traditional dishes like Mughlai Qorma, Biryani, Nihari, Halwa, Shahi Tukray and Kheer remind us of our rich cultural heritage and what better time to revel in it than Eid?

Eidul Azha brings with it a welcome break from work and everyone seems to be making plans to socialise with friends and family. Parties have to be planned and menus are carefully prepared even for a small gathering. Traditional desserts and sweets are synonymous with Eid and are eagerly awaited in every household.

Life is surely great when a culinary indulgence becomes ‘healthy’. Despite the sugar, these milk-based desserts are full of nutrients, definitely low on the budget and easy to prepare. You’ll have plenty of time to get dressed and put on all the make-up ladies! The only problem you might encounter with these Kheers is keeping your guests away from them.

So today, I bring you three different types of Kheers that you can easily make this Eid at home:

1. Nurjehani Kheer

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)

Milk – 1 litre

Khoya – ½ to 1 cup

Rice –1 cup (boiled)

Sugar – 3 tbsp

Vanilla custard powder – 3 tbsp

Condensed milk – 1 tin

Cham cham (mithai) – 250 grams

Green cardamom powder – ½ tsp

Almond and pistachio – chopped (for garnishing)

Chaandi warq (silver edible foil) – optional

Ingredients for Nurjehani Kheer. Photo: Saira Khan

Method:

1. Blend the rice with a little milk to crush roughly.

2. Boil the milk and add rice, khoya, cardamom powder and sugar. Cook this over low heat until slightly thick.

3. Add custard powder, diluted in ¼ cup of milk, stirring rapidly until thick. Let it cool completely.

3. Now add condensed milk and mix well.

4. Dish it out in a serving bowl. Sprinkle chopped almonds and pistachios and dip the cham cham pieces in the kheer. Decorate with it chaandi warq.

Nurjehani Kheer. Photo: Saira Khan

2. Kheer Dilruba

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)

Milk – 1 litre

Rice – 1 cup (boiled and mashed)

Sugar – 3 to 4 tbsp

Vanilla custard powder – 3 to 4 tbsp

Condensed milk – 1 tin

Green cardamom powder – ½ tsp

Pineapple chunks – 1 tin

Bananas – 2 to 3 (finely chopped)

Peach – 1 large (finely chopped)

Almonds and pistachios – ¼cup each (finely chopped)

Ingredients for Kheer Dilruba. Photo: Saira Khan

Method:

1.  Boil the milk for five minutes and add rice and sugar. Boil it for a few more minutes and then thicken it with custard powder (diluted in a little milk).

2. Add almonds and pistachios. Mix it well again and turn off the flame. Let it cool completely.

3. Add all the fruits and condensed milk into it and garnish with pineapple chunks, almond and pistachio. Chill for four to six hours or overnight before serving for best results. 

Kheer Dilruba. Photo: Saira Khan

3. Coconut Kheer

Ingredients: (serves 6-8)

Coconut milk – 2 cups

Sugar – 6 tbsp

Cream – ½ cup

Apple – 1 (chopped finely)

Mixed fruit cocktail – 1 small tin

Tapioca pearls (also called sabudaana) – ½ cup

Water – 2½ cups

Red food colour – a few drops (optional)

Ingredients for Coconut Kheer. Photo: Saira Khan

Method:

1. Cook the tapioca (sabudana) with water until cooked, translucent and thick.

2. Add sugar and coconut milk and mix quickly. Stir it continuously until it becomes thick. Add cream and red food colour. Then mix well, turn off the heat and let it cool down.

3. Now add all the fruits and chill it before serving.

Coconut Kheer. Photo: Saira Khan

So there you have it – three simple Kheers that will keep your guests licking their spoons till the very end!

Eid Mubarak to all you kitchen experts (you might as well be one after all the hard work that goes on in the kitchen!).

Saira Khan.

Saira Khan.

An ESL Instructor with a passion for literature and exploring and pondering truths about life. She is based in New York City with frequent visits to her hometown Lahore.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • rrk

    Nice article. But kheer is not mughlai. It has been in indian cursive for at least 3000 years. It is mentioned in the mahabharath for instance. Also called payasam in the south. Kheer itself derives from the sanskrit word ksheer (ksheeram) meaning milk.Recommend

  • Fariha Shah

    Yummy, will try the cham cham one :)Recommend

  • Zainab Ali

    I enjoy your recipes, please also write some new recipe of the traditional sheer khurma.Recommend

  • Adnan Mujib

    Nice like your recipe. Recommend

  • AusEd

    Please change this word “kheer” to something else. It’s a bad word in Farsi. :-)Recommend

  • Farheen S

    Delicious kheers, I love these…my khala makes something similar to cham cham kheer and I love it.Recommend

  • Farah Osman

    Please send me the nurjehani kheer…Recommend

  • Resham

    so what if it’s a bad word in faarsi, its a nice word in urdu so why should it be changed? We don’t speak farsi here!Recommend

  • Atif Ahmad

    If you look at it this way then none of the Indian food is probably mughlai, it must have been in existence many years before them and they brought their own touch to it or refined it to a better, richer level. If you start tracing history of each dish it would go back to either one of the ancient civilisations -be it Greeks, Romans, Persians etc etc. The point is that it was perhaps brought to us in a better, more enriched way by the Mughals.Recommend

  • abhi

    If it suits you to call it mughalai so that you can eat it without any guilt please do that. One gentleman already suggested to remove Kheer from its name because it ofends his sensibility.Recommend