Many moons ago I was lucky to work for Canadian Chef’s Vikram and Meeru Vij. I learned so much from them. This dessert is a riff off their Kheer recipe. Instead of using cardamom and almonds, I use vanilla bean and hazelnuts but keep the basmati rice that produces a wonderful nutty aroma. This pudding has a light, loose consistency that can be served warm or chilled. Cook it like risotto: lots of stirring and attention makes for a better pudding. The toasted nuts add a welcome crunch folded in or sprinkled on top. If I’m really going to town, I serve it chilled with a sheet of edible silver placed on top of each bowl just like the Vij’s did at the restaurant. It elevates a dessert with humble origins into something sophisticated.
Makes: Approximately 7 cups
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Putting the vanilla bean seeds in at the end with the sugar, prevents them from sticking to the side of the pot as the milk evaporates.