Saffron-Cardamom Coconut Rice

Saffron-Cardamom Kheer Rice Pudding Recipe

This dish is inspired by kheer, which is an Indian rice pudding dessert. 

Normally, kheer is quite sugary and dairy-ful. But this is more like a dinner rice. It's still a little sweet and creamy though — the perfect foil for a spicy chicken curry! This version is also a lot less soupy than normal kheer. Typically kheer is very soupy. Anyway though, it's not kheer. It's kheer-inspired. You get it, because I've already said that a couple of times now.

You'll notice that a lot of the ingredient amounts in the recipe below are only loosely defined... that's on purpose, because it's okay to wing this one. Just eyeball the amounts and keep tasting until you decide it's done. If you like yours with a little creamier, add more milk. If you like yours with more spice, kick it up. It's your day.

Saffron-Cardamom Kheer Rice Pudding Recipe

Saffron-Cardamom Coconut Rice

gluten-free, dairy-free recipe | serves 4-6


  • ~4 cups leftover basmati rice, cooked
  • ~1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • ~3 T maple syrup
  • ~1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • optional garnishes: crushed pistachios, cashews, raisins, etc.


  1. Over medium heat, bring the rice and 1+ can of coconut milk to a simmer. Stir frequently.
  2. Once it's simmering, add the maple syrup, cardamom, cinnamon and salt.
  3. When it's just about done, stir in a pinch of saffron threads.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  5. Serve hot or cold. (If you serve it cold, the coconut milk will thicken.)


  • I made the rice in the photos using a Peppercorn Chai spice blend that my friends from RawSpiceBar sent me (thanks, guys!). RawSpiceBar is like a spice subscription box. If you subscribe and get their Indian box (it's awesome), you can substitute 1 tsp of the Peppercorn Chai blend for the cardamom and cinnamon. The chai blend is made with toasted black peppercorns, ginger, cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves, nutmeg and star anise, so you could also sprinkle in a little of each if you wanna go nuts.
  • 1-2 cans of coconut milk is a wide range, but (like I mentioned up top) some people like their rice pudding with more liquid than I do. You could also use some cashew or almond milk as a supplement for one of the cans of coconut milk.
Saffron-Cardamom Kheer Rice Pudding Recipe
Saffron-Cardamom Kheer Rice Pudding Recipe
Saffron-Cardamom Kheer Rice Pudding Recipe