If there’s one thing y’all should know about me, it’s that I don’t consider myself a baker. I don’t have the patience to test five different versions of a potential recipe and experiment with how leavening agents affect a baked good. It’s not entirely my fault, I didn’t grow up in a household where baked goods were a thing. Most Indian desserts I grew up with just weren’t baked in the oven like traditional European or American cakes and cookies. What my parents did make for dessert included stove-top mixed batters and puddings filled with spices and fruits, that were then poured into a big serving bowl or set to cool on a tray and cut into bite-sized treats. One of those amazing desserts happened to be this amazing rice pudding called kheer.
If you didn’t know, kheer is rice pudding dessert from India that is simply made by boiling rice with milk, sugar, and a few spices. It’s really sweet and light in flavor and one of my absolute favorite desserts. While my mom will make it for some special occasions, sometimes when the family just has a craving for it she’ll make a batch to keep in the fridge for the week.
While some variations include dried fruits and mixed nuts into the pudding, (my dad likes versions like that!) I am firmly in the plain pudding camp. It’s kind of like how I feel about things mixed into chocolate, I think it’s unnecessary, and I want the simple version. If you’re feeling traditional and want the “dad” version of this pudding though, you could add raisins, sliced almonds, and pistachios into the pudding!
Of course when I make Indian recipes, I veer towards the untraditional, so in this version of kheer I decided to turn it into a cute little parfait paired with mango.
Mangos are another one of those staple fruits in Indian houses and it was totally normal for my parents to have a whole case of them on the counter during the summer to eat. Sometimes for dessert, my dad literally just cut a mango in half and would scoop out the fruit with a spoon. Simple and easy! I think the fruit pairs perfectly with the kheer since they are both fairly mild in flavor with the mango adding a little bit of tang and freshness to the otherwise sweet pudding.
I am cheating a bit by calling this a mango “curd” though. In trying to keep this a little lighter and healthier than the traditional sugar and butter filled version, the mango curd is literally just roasted and pureed mango. You get a similar affect by having a smooth and creamy curd just without all the tempering of eggs and butter on the stove.
I did take the extra step of roasting the mango here though, as I like that it helps to concentrate and caramelize the flavors of the mango a bit. Once they’re all roasted, you just toss them into a food processor with a bit of salt and cardamom seeds and blend until it’s all smooth and creamy. I’ve been keeping the extra curd in the fridge for topping off yogurt bowls with and it’s been the perfect summer upgrade.
While I did health-ify my kheer a bit, it still reminds me of what my parents would make back home and it’s all kinds of delicious. Serve it up as a delicious dessert or even treat yourself to a parfait for breakfast! (I promise I won’t tell!)