Leftover Rice From Indian Takeout? Make Kheer

We have a lot of extra cooked rice in the house these days. My husband has been on an Indian cooking kick, and he successfully made several amazing batches of rogan gosh, fish masala and chicken vindaloo. He has been less successful in gauging how much rice we would consume with these dishes, which is why when every last drop of curry has been consumed, there's usually a plastic container of basmati rice left.

I have this thing about throwing out food (I have been called a "leftover hoarder"), so rather than just dump the orphan grain, I decided to resurrect the rice by making kheer.

Kheer is a rice pudding of sorts that you've probably encountered at the terminal end of an Indian lunch buffet. Traditionally served just a bit cool and boasting a sweet-flowery flavor, kheer is a wonderful sweet comfort food for spring.

I first tried kheer when I was volunteering in Himachal Pradesh. Despite the fact that I was perpetually battling gastrointestinal problems due to being unaccustomed to local water and produce, I always made room for a large bowl of dairy-heavy kheer at the end of my meals. In northern India, vermicelli is often used instead of basmati rice to make kheer. Ecurry.com provides a fairly labor-intensive recipe punctuated by many drool-worthy pictures.

Back in the States, I tried the more common rice-based kheer, which I prefer for its heartier texture.

You'll have no trouble finding recipes for (rice) kheer on the interwebs, with some being far more complicated than others. The venerable Alton Brown has a recipe that produces a very rich pudding, though for simple weeknight desserts I like to make this plainer version.


  • 2 cups leftover basmati rice
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 3 tablespoons raisins

Combine rice, milk and sugar in large saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes.

Add cardamom and cinnamon powder. Reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for 18 to 20 minutes, or until it thickens. Stir occasionally.

After pudding reaches desired thickness and consistency, add almonds and raisins. Remove from heat and either cool to room temperature or chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Note: Pair with a dinner of a very spicy curry to ease digestion and balance heat.

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