In case you didn't read yesterday's post, Luis and I spent our weekend in Florida for a wedding. We didn't have much time to explore, but were able to slip out Saturday morning and hit up some of the shops and eat. We noticed that there were a ton of Indian restaurants along the main road and made the decision to try one called Green Chili Indian Bistro.
While the website might not suggest fine dining, we finely dined. The server persuaded us to partake of the featured buffet. Let it be known, that I eschew buffets. I hate them. But as we sat down, the scent of curry, butter, cilantro and ginger told me that maybe I should try the dishes simmering in their golden serving pots. So we went with the buffet.
It was the best decision on my life. Alright, I am over-exaggerating, but in terms of culinary experiences, then yes, it was a good decision. Luis ordered an Indian beer and we filled multiple plates full of incredibly flavored dishes. They served butter chicken, which are cubes of chicken simmered in butter, marinated, and served in a creamy tomato sauce; Aloo Bengun, potatoes and eggplant cooked in a zesty sauce; Chana Masala, which is chickpeas cooked in a tomato sauce with ginger and onions; and my favorite was a dish called Bund Gobi and Matar, which is essentially cabbage and peas simmered in garam masala and curry spices.
But what finished off the meal perfectly was the kheer, or Indian-style rice pudding that they served in tiny bowls. I may or may not have gone up for five or more servings... It was a snow white dessert that had a hint of rose water. I was stunned. The minute I got home, I began to search for the recipe. I found one today and immediately got cooking. I based my recipe off of Manjula's Kitchen recipe. I did alter a few things based on what I had in my kitchen.
Kheer (Rice Pudding)
1 teaspoon of butter
1/4 cup rice (you can use any kind of white colored rice for this)
3 cups milk (I used almond milk)
1/4 cup sugar
Generous pinch of saffron
A pinch of cardamom (or allspice)
Crushed almonds (optional)
Wash the rice until the water is clear. I used a strainer and watched until the rinsing water was clear. Melt butter over medium heat. Add rice and saute for about 2 minutes.
Add the milk and stir to coat. Cook until rice is tender, stirring often as the milk will sit on the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until milk becomes creamy and reduces to about half of its volume.
Add sugar, cardamom (or allspice), saffron and let simmer for another few minutes, covered with the lid.
Turn off the heat and let the rice sit in the sauce. It will thicken as it cools. If the sauce isn't creamy enough, simply simmer the rice covered another time. Serve warm or chilled with the chopped almonds as a garnish.
Makes about two servings.
This recipe is gluten-free, and can be made vegan and dairy-free, provided you use almond or coconut milk and a different oil for the initial step.