Wash the rice under running cold water until water runs clear or rinse them until water is not cloudy anymore. Soak them in enough water for 20-30 minutes. After that discard the soaking water.
Take milk in a heavy bottom pan. Turn the heat on medium-low. Keep stirring at regular intervals to avoid scorching of milk.
Once it starts boiling as add soaked, drained rice. Let it simmer 25-30 minutes or until the rice is tender and cooked. Do stir every five minutes and make sure that it is not sticking to the pan.
NOTE: Check by pinching the rice grain, it will mash very easily. When you take a spoonful of it and pour it back, rice and milk stay separate.
Now add sugar and saffron. Mix well. It becomes thin as the sugar starts to melt. let it simmer for 6-7 minutes. It should be thick now.
Now add chopped nuts, cardamom powder and stir well. Serve warm or chilled.
How to check the right consistency of kheer: take a ladleful of kheer and pour it back. rice and milk should fall together in the same flow (not separated) Once you get this consistency then turn off the stove.
Keep in mind that it will thicken as it cools down. So if planning to serve this chilled then reduce the simmering time after adding sugar and keep little on the thinner side.
Sugar amount: the mentioned amount will make the kheer just sweet (that’s how our whole family loves it). If you prefer more sweet rice kheer thrn you can add 1-2 tablespoons of more sugar. Taste and see if more is needed.
Basmati rice substitute: You can use any other fragrant rice like ambemohar, surti kolam, sona masoori, thai jasmine rice or whatever type you have on hand.
Variations: You can add raisins or other dried fruits. If so add along with sugar so they get a chance to plump up. You can add a teaspoon of rose water or kewra water at the end.
Storage: Let it cool down completely and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days.