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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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kheer is the Indian name for sweet milk puddings usually made with rice, although it can also be made with fine noodles called seviyan, or semolina, carrots, or sago. It is sometimes called sheer, which means milk in Persian. It probably originated in Persia where a similar dessert is known as sheer birinj (rice pudding).

There are many variations in the flavourings which can include raisins, cardamom, cinnamon, almond, pistachio, saffron, kewra essence (see screwpine), or rosewater, etc. For special occasions it is customary to decorate the chilled kheer with edible silver or gold leaf. The Persian version, sheer birinj, according to Hekmat (1970), was originally the food of angels, first made in heaven when the Prophet Muhammad ascended to the 7th floor of Heaven to meet God and he was served this dish.