The quinoa grains turn soft and silky, adding a hint of nuttiness to the kheer.
“Seriously, you’re going to put quinoa in another dish? In a dessert, of all things? IS NOTHING SACRED ANYMORE?” The quinoa grains turn soft and silky, adding a hint of nuttiness to the kheer. They also do an even better job than rice of soaking up the cardamom flavor. Start to finish, this takes about as long as an episode of TV to make, so now you have something to do while you stir! Kheer can be eaten warm or cold, but I like it straight out of the fridge, as it has more thickness and body when chilled.
• ½ gallon (2 quarts) whole milk
• ½ cup dry (uncooked) white quinoa, rinsed and drained
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• Seeds from 5 green cardamom pods, crushed into a powder, or 1¼ teaspoons ground cardamom (freshly ground is best)
• 2 tbsps roughly chopped unsalted pistachios, for garnish
• Evenly coat the bottom of a large pot or Dutch oven with two tablespoons water (this will prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pot). Pour the milk into the pot and bring it to a boil over high heat. Watch the milk very closely — as soon as you start to see bubbles forming, reduce the heat to low (otherwise, the milk will boil over!).
• Add the quinoa. Increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring continuously, for 15 minutes, then increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring continuously, for 30 to 35 minutes more, until the milk resembles heavy cream (it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon) and the quinoa is fully cooked. Don’t worry if there still seems to be a lot of milk left — it’ll soak into the quinoa as the kheer cools.
• Stir in the sugar and cardamom and let the kheer cool to room temperature. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight or for up to 12 hours — it should resemble a loose rice pudding. When you’re ready to serve the kheer, garnish with the pistachios.