In blogger Tara O’Brady’s first book, Seven Spoons, she writes about some of the simple, healthy foods that fuel her as a writer, photographer, and eater.
Kheer, the South Asian milk pudding made with rice, cracked wheat, or translucent strands of vermicelli, is a soothing blanket, creamy and soft with cardamom and vanilla. Here there is a triple dose of coconut, using oil, milk, and shredded flesh; burnished chunks of pineapple, succulent and keen, provide a welcome contrast.
- To make the kheer, rinse the rice until the water runs clear. Set a wide heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the coconut oil, and let it melt. Tip in the rice and cook, stirring, until translucent, 45 to 60 seconds.
- Sprinkle in the shredded coconut and toast for 30 seconds, then stir in the almond and coconut milks, cane sugar, cardamom pods, vanilla bean seeds, the pod itself, and the sea salt. Heat to boiling, stirring, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer.
- Stirring at regular intervals, cook the rice until the milk is thick enough to suspend the grains, 35 to 45 minutes. Discard the cardamom pods and vanilla bean.
- While the kheer is bubbling, give the pineapple its due attention. Sprinkle the cane sugar across a wide, nonstick skillet. Cook the sugar, without stirring, but shaking the pan often, over medium-high heat until the sugar melts and turns golden, 5 minutes.
- Spoon in the coconut oil along with a pinch of salt, and shake the pan some more until both are incorporated. Carefully lay the pineapple wedges into the caramel, and cook, turning regularly, until the pineapple is heated through, and absolutely lacquered, 3 to 5 minutes more.
- Serve the kheer with the hot pineapple, any and all juices left in the skillet, some pistachio crumbs, and the tiniest pinch of ground cardamom.
Reprinted with permission from Seven Spoons, by Tara O’Brady, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.