29 Jan Coconut Brown Rice Kheer

Coconut Brown Rice Kheer // butterlust.comCoconut Brown Rice Kheer // butterlust.com

Today on Butterlust, my first attempt at Indian fare, a cuisine that I admittedly know next-to-nothing about, save for how amazingly happy it makes my belly. Growing up, my parents were never fans of Indian food (because, what?) so I wasn’t exposed to its deliciousness until the end of college, when a brave date decided to introduce me to the magic of curry. Even now, at the ripe old age of 28, I still make Steve order for me most of the time (a responsibility very rarely bestowed on him as it’s well known between the two of us that I am the better “orderer”); he knows all the good stuff by heart, and I usually find myself staring at the menu, wide-eyed, thinking all-of-it-yes-please-thank-you-very-much.

Coconut Brown Rice Kheer // butterlust.comCoconut Brown Rice Kheer // butterlust.com

Since Indian recipes can be fairly complex and spice-heavy, I’m starting with a simple, classic Kheer recipe, or Indian rice pudding. Given that my experience is limited to eating and not preparing Indian cuisine, I can only assume this recipe is somewhat lacking in authenticity, though definitely not tastiness, so I do apologize if I’m butchering your grandmother’s recipe…but only a little bit.

In the spirit of research, I conducted some fairly detailed Google searches, including but not limited to topics like…how do you make kheer?, what are the types of kheer?, can you make kheer with brown rice?, is my kheer burning?…so I’m not a complete newbie, but I suppose that the only acceptably thorough research, in my opinion, would be to visit India myself to see and taste first-hand the regional varieties of this Indian classic. Is that so much to ask? (Steve. Looking at you, travel buddy.)

Coconut Brown Rice Kheer // butterlust.comCoconut Brown Rice Kheer // butterlust.com

Since I’m stuck here in the States, where it’s still January (or in other words, the worst time of the year for the baking-obsessed), I tried to keep this recipe low on the guilt scale. (Three more days and finally we can talk about butter again!)

Instead of more typical basmati rice, I used brown rice, which takes quite a bit longer to cook but results in a nuttier more wholesome flavor, and adds just a touch more fiber and nutrients that you’d get with a white version. Creamy, delicious coconut milk is used on place of whole milk or cream, which doesn’t cut back on the calories so much as it keeps this dish vegan and imparts just a touch of tropical, coconutty flavor. And then there’s the cardamom. Warm, spicy, earthy — the perfect addition to this comforting goodness.

Coconut Brown Rice Kheer // butterlust.comCoconut Brown Rice Kheer // butterlust.com

Many of the traditional recipes I found call for saffron (or kesar — saffron milk) to be mixed into the rice pudding mixture. While I enjoy saffron, I found the kheer to taste a little too savory when I uniformly mixed the spice throughout — I just couldn’t get past my memories of seafood-packed paella — so I chose to instead sprinkle it on top of my kheer as a garnish, alongside toasted coconut and almonds, golden raisins (or sultanas), and pistachios.


Seriously, don’t skimp of the toppings. The chewy, crunchy, toasty bits are where it’s at.

Coconut Brown Rice Kheer // butterlust.com

No notes on this one — have a great weekend, folks!


Coconut Brown Rice Kheer

30 minutes

1 hour

1 hour, 30 minutes

Makes: 6-8 servings

Coconut Brown Rice Kheer


  • 3 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons honey (or sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom (or more, to taste)
  • dash of salt
  • For garnish:
  • saffron
  • toasted almonds
  • toasted coconut
  • golden raisins
  • pistachios
  • honey or maple syrup
  • honey


  • Soak rice for 30 minutes to an hour in warm water then drain.
  • In a saucepan, bring milks and sugar to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the rice, cardamom and salt. Mix well then turn down the heat and reduce to a simmer.
  • Cook for 45-55 minutes, until rice is soft and the mixture is thick and pudding-like. Stir the mixture often as it begins to thicken (at around 40 minutes) in order to prevent the rice at the bottom of the pot from sticking.
  • You can either serve this dish warm from the stove or chilled, garnished with the fixings of your choice.
  • Amber | Loves Food, Loves to Eat
    Posted at 14:34h, 29 January Reply

    omg, this looks amazing! I’ve never had kheer, but I love rice pudding, and love the flavors you’ve used here. Can’t wait to try it!
    Amber | Loves Food, Loves to Eat recently posted…Sweet Potato and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing and a 7-Minute EggMy Profile

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    Posted at 15:24h, 29 January Reply

    This is my first time hearing about kheer and I LOVE the sound of it! Plus, it looks awesome!
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar recently posted…January ThingsMy Profile

  • DessertForTwo
    Posted at 17:01h, 29 January Reply

    This is beautiful! I, too, share your deep love of Indian food. I dated an Indian gentleman once, and dare I say I held onto the relationship a little too long just to get one more of his mother’s recipes? Oh, good stuff.

    Also, I’m so with you–I can’t wait until February so we can talk about butter again 🙂

  • Kari
    Posted at 19:06h, 29 January Reply

    I’ve never heard of Kheer before, but it looks good!
    Kari recently posted…Lemon RisottoMy Profile

  • Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous)
    Posted at 01:50h, 30 January Reply

    i think i had angel hair kheer before- a classmate’s mom once shoved a bowlful of a creamy, buttery dessert with vermicelli and cashews in front of me and i never asked what it was because i was busy shoveling it in. i say i think because it was more loosely milky than pudding like (compared to this one), but i do know that it was delicious!
    Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) recently posted…Huckleberry’s Chocolate Chunk MuffinsMy Profile

  • cynthia
    Posted at 12:33h, 30 January Reply

    I LOVE that you made this with brown rice!!! Oh my gosh. I’m with you on the all-of-it-yes-please when it comes to Indian food — so so good. I can just imagine what a tasty twist this is on kheer, I can’t wait to try it! So genius as always, friend!
    cynthia recently posted…Cheesy garlic pull-apart breadMy Profile

  • Mom
    Posted at 22:01h, 30 January Reply

    Looks very yummy…I’m ready to dig in! Will you make me some?❤️❤️

  • Amanda @ Cookie Named Desire
    Posted at 19:09h, 06 February Reply

    I lived across the street from an Indian restaurant for three years and it was the best three years of my life. Got to smell their food cookin. Everyday and became intimately familiar with their menu. Indian food. Is the best food. I actually loooove your changes. The use of brown rice is genius! I haven’t made any type of Indian dessert in my life but I think I want to start with this.

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