When Diwali kicks off this Sunday, the Festival of the Lights will bring with it five days of feasting and celebration that mark the start of the Hindu New Year. To honor the goddess Lakshmi for Lord Rama’s return from exile, restaurateurs Nakul, Arjun and their father, Chef Pawan Mahendro, will serve a traditional Punjabi kheer from November 1–6 at their hip Indian restaurant, Badmaash, in Downtown LA. Sweet milky desserts like rich basmati rice pudding are meant to symbolize happiness and prosperity for the coming year. Topped with slivered almonds or pistachios, kheer is often served warm in winter and chilled during the summer.
Yield: Makes 1 serving
½ cup basmati rice, washed and soaked
½ gal whole milk
2 tsps green cardamom powder
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsps slivered almonds, toasted
Prepare the rice: Wash the rice thoroughly and then soak for 30 minutes before cooking.
Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pan and then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Cook the rice: Meanwhile, drain the rice and set aside. When the milk has reduced slightly, add the rice and resume stirring until the mixture thickens. Once the cooked rice is soft, add the sugar and green cardamom, then mix well and cook on low heat until the milk is thick enough to coat the back of your spoon.
To serve, you can either mix in or sprinkle toasted almonds onto your Punjabi Kheer.