Gil-e- Firdaus, Hyderabadi Rice Kheer
by Tarla Dalal
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Gil-e-Firdaus is an elaborate but memorable sweet dish, which is made commonly in Hyderabad during festivals and weddings.
Sago and coarsely-crushed rice are cooked in milk and perked up with a range of ingredients like bottle gourd, nuts, condensed milk and cashew paste to get a lusciously creamy dessert with a unique mouth-feel.
Saffron, cardamom and rose water give the Gil-e-Firdaus a rich flavour, which will linger on your palate for long after your cup is empty.
Do not grate the bottle gourd in advance as it will turn black; prepare it just before you are ready to cook the dish.
You can also try other Hyderabadi sweets like the Khubani ka Meetha .
- Combine the saffron and warm milk in a bowl, mix well and keep aside.
- Soak the basmati rice for 10 minutes in enough water, drain and keep aside.
- Allow them to dry on muslin cloth for approx. 30 minutes.
- Coarsely grind the dried rice in the mortar-pestle (khalbatta). Keep aside.
- Heat the ghee in a small non-stick pan, add the almond silvers and sauté on a medium flame for 3 minutes till they become golden brown in colour, drain them on an absorbent paper. Keep aside for garnish.
- In the same ghee, add the bottle gourd and sauté on a medium flame for 2 minutes.
- Add 1 cup water, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 10 minutes stirring occasionally till they become soft. Keep aside.
- In a deep non-stick pan, add the milk, sago, coarsely crushed rice, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 10 minutes, while stirring continuously, lower the flame and cook for 2 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
- Add the bottle gourd, mix well and cook on a slow flame for 2 minutes, while stirring continuously.
- Add the saffron-milk mixture, cashewnut paste, condensed milk , cardamom powder and vanilla essence, mix well and cook on a slow flame for 2 minutes while stirring continuously.
- Switch off the flame, add the rose water and mix well.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Serve chilled garnished with crispy almond slivers.
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