Banana Kheer, also known as payasam or payesh, is a beloved Indian rice pudding that’s often served at celebrations and festivals. While classic kheer is simple, cozy and comforting, this walnut and banana kheer recipe takes it up a notch with the addition of tasty mix-ins.
The combination of walnuts and banana gives this kheer more texture and flavor. The walnuts add a pleasant crunch while the banana lends natural sweetness. Together they complement the creamy, velvety base of slow-cooked rice and milk.
This recipe is also relatively easy to put together. Don’t let the long ingredient list intimidate you! This beginner’s tutorial will teach you all you need to know to produce restaurant-quality kheer at home.
Alright lets begin! Here’s all the information you require to make a walnut and banana kheer.
Banana Kheer Shopping List: Gathering the Ingredients
To start cooking you should gather all the ingredients. Here’s a list of what you’ll need for this recipe:
- 2 liters full fat milk
- 1/2 cup basmati rice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 bananas, sliced
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cardamom powder
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- A few strands of saffron
- 1 tablespoon sliced pistachios
- 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
This list covers the main ingredients as well as garnishes. You can easily find all of these items, at known grocery stores or Indian markets. To achieve the outcome its recommended to opt for quality and fresh ingredients.
If you’re not accustomed, to cooking you might find specialty ingredients, like ghee (clarified butter) saffron and cardamom unfamiliar. However they are definitely worth adding to your pantry. Ghee provides nutty flavor while saffron and cardamom add floral aromas.
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Step 1 – Soak the Rice
To enhance the cooking process of rice it is advisable to soak it for a period of 30 minutes, to 4 hours. This practice allows the grains to become softer enabling them to cook and absorb a greater amount of milk.
To soak the basmati rice all you need to do is put half a cup of it in a bowl. Then cover it with an inches of water. Let it sit on your kitchen counter until the rice grains look bloated and expanded. Then drain and rinse before using.
Soaking is an optional but recommended step that improves the rice’s texture in kheer. It’s a simple process that takes no active work – just soak and walk away.
Step 2 – Cook the Rice in Milk
Now comes the active cooking. First, pour the 2 liters of milk into a deep heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven. Turn the heat to medium. You want the milk to gently simmer, not boil rapidly.
Once small bubbles start forming at the edges, stir in the drained rice. Cook for 30-40 minutes, regularly stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking and burning.
Initially the milk will look thin and watery. But as it cooks, the rice will release starch that thickens the liquid into a creamy porridge-like consistency. Cook until the rice is very soft and the kheer coats the back of a spoon.
This step is the foundation of the entire recipe. Cooking the rice sufficiently in the milk gives the pudding its texture. Be patient and keep simmering until fully tender.
Step 3 – Add Sugar and Simmer
After the rice is cooked through, add the 1/2 cup sugar and keep simmering for 5-10 more minutes.
You can add more or less sugar according to taste. The banana kheer should taste lightly sweet, but not overly sugary. The sweetness will balance once you add the acidic banana in the next step.
As a guideline, simmer the kheer for a total of 45-60 minutes from start to finish. This extended cooking time develops the signature creamy, melt-in-your mouth texture.
Step 4 – Mix in Walnuts, Banana, and Spices
Next, stir in the remaining ingredients:
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 sliced bananas
- 1⁄4 teaspoon cardamom powder
- A few strands of saffron
Cook for another 5 minutes so the flavors infuse.
The walnuts add crunchy texture while the banana provides natural sweetness and moisture. Cardamom and saffron add aromatic flavor that gives the simple rice pudding a luxurious feel.
Mix everything gently to retain chunks of banana and walnut throughout the kheer. You want varies textures in each spoonful.
Step 5 – Finish with Ghee and Garnishes
Once the banana kheer has finished cooking, stir in 1 tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter) and turn off the heat.
Then garnish with:
- 1 tablespoon pistachios
- 1 tablespoon almonds
The ghee adds a final touch of richness. And the nuts provide pretty pops of color and crunch.
Sprinkle them on top right before serving so they stay crispy.
Step 6 – Chill and Serve
Traditionally, banana kheer is served warm or at room temperature. But it’s also delicious cold from the fridge.
Let the finished banana kheer cool to room temp. Then transfer to the fridge to chill for 2-3 hours. The cool temperature really allows the flavors to shine.
When ready to serve, ladle the kheer into small bowls. Sprinkle on extra pistachios or other toppings if desired. Then dig in!
The kheer will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat individual portions as needed.
Tips for Making the Best Walnut and Banana Kheer
Follow these tips for foolproof, restaurant-quality walnut and banana kheer every time:
- Simmer slowly over medium-low heat to avoid scalding or burning. Be patient.
- Stir frequently with a heavy spoon to distribute the heat evenly.
- Use short grain rice like basmati for the creamiest texture. Long grain rice can get too sticky.
- Cook until the rice is very soft and the kheer is thick enough to coat a spoon thickly.
- Add the banana at the end so it retains texture rather than turning mushy.
- Sprinkle crunchy nuts on top just before serving to preserve their crispiness.
- Chill fully before serving for the best flavor.
Variations and Substitutions
This walnut and banana kheer recipe can be customized based on your tastes:
- Use almond, pecan, or cashew instead of walnuts.
- Substitute sliced mango, berries, or other fruit for the banana.
- For dairy-free kheer, use coconut milk instead of regular milk.
- For vegan kheer, use plant-based milk and coconut oil instead of ghee.
- Flavor with a dash of rosewater, kewra, vanilla, or cinnamon instead of cardamom.
- Top with dried fruit like raisins, figs, dates or cherries for extra sweetness.
- Garnish with chopped mango, pomegranate seeds or toasted coconut flakes.
Walnut and banana kheer can be enjoyed for any occasion:
- For breakfast – top with fresh fruit
- For dinner – pair with Indian breads like poori or paratha
- For parties – serve in shot glasses for a fun finger food
- For holidays – spoon into mini mason jars as gifts
- For dessert – drizzle with chocolate sauce or caramel
However you choose to serve it, this kheer is sure to be a crowd pleaser! The rice pudding is subtly sweet and soothing, while the mix-ins provide delicious textures.
Storing and Freezing Leftovers
Banana kheer will keep refrigerated for 3-5 days. To store:
- Let kheer fully cool before transferring to airtight containers.
- Ensure kheer is covered and sealed to prevent drying out.
- If kheer was garnished with nuts, store them separately to preserve crunchiness.
- For longer term storage, freeze kheer up to 2 months.
- Portion into freezer-safe bags or containers, leaving 1 inch headspace.
- Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
With proper storage, you can enjoy homemade kheer all week long! The rice-based pudding keeps well compared to dairy-heavy desserts.
This walnut and banana kheer recipe puts a fun spin on the traditional Indian rice pudding. It has complex flavors from the spices, nuts, and fruit yet comes together easily. Savor the comforting, velvety texture that can only come from slow simmering.
The step-by-step instructions in this beginner’s guide take you through every part of the process. With the right ingredients and a few tips, you can master this irresistible kheer. Served warm or chilled, it’s sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.
So break out your Dutch oven, grab a spoon, and let’s make walnut banana kheer! This beautiful, creamy dessert is a fantastic way to add more Indian sweets into your repertoire.