Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for spiced chocolate rice pudding with caramelised almonds


This spiced rice pudding can be made well in advance, but if you do so the rice will soak up most, if not all of the milk, so you’ll need to add a little more to loosen the kheer when you reheat it.

Prep 5 min
Cook 45 min
Serves 4

For the kheer
100g basmati rice
750ml non-dairy milk – I like Oatly or Bonsoy
80g caster sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground fennel
⅓ tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 nutmeg
1 pinch ground black pepper
20g cocoa

For the chikki (AKA caramelised almonds)
1 tbsp coconut oil
50g flaked almonds
½ tsp ground fennel seed
½ tsp ground ginger
40g caster sugar
1 pinch salt

Rinse the rice in a sieve under the cold tap until the water runs clear, then put in a bowl, add cold water to cover and leave to soak.

Meanwhile, make the chikki. Put the coconut oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat and, once hot, add the almonds and stir-fry for a couple of minutes, until they turn pale gold. Add the ground fennel, ground ginger, sugar and salt, stir-fry for a minute more, until caramelised, then tip out on to a plate and leave to cool.

Now back to the kheer. Put the milk, sugar and all the spices in a deep saucepan and, over a low to medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Drain the soaked rice and tip it gently into the spiced milk. Bring the mixture back up to a slow boil, then turn down the heat to a mere whisper and cover the pan.

Leave to cook for about 25 minutes, stirring every now and then to make sure the rice is not sticking to the bottom of the pan; if the mixture gets too dry, add more milk, a little at a time. Stir in the cocoa, then leave to cook for another 10 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

Serve in small bowls with the chikki scattered over the top.