Kheer (Vegan, No Added Sugar)

So today was my grandma’s birthday! In Hindi, Dad’s Mom (grandma) is called Dadi. We bought her a lot of flowers and cut her some slack in her day to day activities (she is in bed most of the day, coming downstairs with help (using a walker & a nurses’ help), and likes to eat & watch tv. My dad decided to make one of our favorite desserts for her: kheer! Kheer is basically the Indian version of rice pudding. Besides milk & rice, it usually contains raisins, a bit of sugar and a pinch of cardamom, but has endless variations. a few of the more original variations include the type of rice (short grain or long noodles), making it thick or thin, more spices and adding nuts (usually almonds). I love it because it’s nice and light (we don’t make it thick) and not too sweet! It really is one of my favorite things, and I loved it as a child. However, I cannot really have it now, being lactose intolerant and whatnot. I also, being the food fanatic I am, wanted to learn how to make it. IBS, FODMAPs & tummy-friendly kheer, here I come! (& it came out GREAT!)

First, a few notes: I was able to cut out the added sugar by blending some figs, and it still tastes great. This recipe also includes a few special ingredients, but you can sub for them, as noted in the recipe. Also, make sure the milk has a chance to warm up from the fridge!


Kheer (Dairy-Free; Vegan) serves 2-4

– 4c organic, unsweetened soymilk (let set out to warm closer to room temp)
– 1 large dried Turkish fig
– 2tbsp brown rice*
– 2tbsp Indian long & skinny golden raisins*
– 2 cardamom (elaichi) pods


1. Using an emersion blender or a regular blender, blend the milk + 1 fig together on high, for about a minute.
2. Pour the blended milk into a thick bottomed pot, so there is even heating distribution. Turn the heat on to medium-low. Let it heat for about 10 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes.
3. After 10 minutes, add the rest of the ingredients, turn the heat down to the lowest setting and cover. Leave it alone, but stir ever ~15 minutes to make sure the milk doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom or sides of the pot. If it does a bit, it’s no big deal, just stir it in. It’s normal for a bit of a film to form on top also.
4. Let it cook for at least 4 hours, then serve! It can be served hot or chilled, so serve it right away, let it cool to room temp, or refrigerate it for later. It can also be reheated (slowly)

*notes:  rice works best & is traditional. however, I’ll only use *whole* grains. we were out of brown, so I’ve also tried quinoa. it’s a little less starchy, so use 2.5-3 tbsp. using the long skinny noodles, use your best judgment. regarding the raisins, that may just be me being EXTRA picky. Indian raisins are golden raisins, but they are WAY different from the “sun maid” and such. either use the regular black sun maid, or seek out an Indian store and buy some good raisins from there. also, if you don’t have the pods,, just add in 1/2tsp cardamom.

I hope you enjoy! I was super pleased with the results. Super light, no added sugars thanks to the figs, with the same great taste. I’m thinking next time, I’ll try it with goji berries, as I love how they plump up. Please give it a try!

Also, this recipe is easily doubled, or more! I wouldn’t half it, as it needs enough milk to simmer & not burn/boil, and anyways, it’s pretty light and easy to finish.



soymilk rice pudding? that’s some strangebutgood action!

~Masala Girl

any favorite childhood desserts you’ve healthfied? or what doesn’t need any changing? ;)

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4 thoughts on “Kheer (Vegan, No Added Sugar)

  1. Mmm looks delicious! I haven’t really healthified childhood desserts because I feel like it wouldn’t do them justice (I did try to sub applesauce in a cake once for the oil, which was a big mistake), so usually I just try to stick with a small portion. But I love that you could adapt this recipe to suit your dietary needs!

    • haha yeah you definitely gotta watch what you sub when. i think reducing added sugars/oils is the to go until you know you have a recipe that’ll work without :)

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