Enjoy Potato in a new form in this VEGAN Potato Kheer – crispy baked potatoes simmered in sweetened coconut + almond milk, cardamom and saffron.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Idaho Potato Commission. All opinions, as always, are my own.
There was a sweets shop a few blocks from where I lived and it was on the way to everything we’d typically leave home for – work, school, church, the beach. My mother was a big fan of walking, so sometimes, when we were kids, she’d make us walk home from places within a 1 mile radius, just for the exercise. Now that I think of it, it might have been to prolong going back to a not-so-cheerful home with a father-in-law (my late grandfather), who was nothing short of a tyrant.
But these walks, as much as she enjoyed them and the breath of fresh air it gave her, away from the burdens of life she bore, we enjoyed as well. Because to reward us for walking with her, she’d let us stop at sweet stalls, bakeries, street food carts and the like. One stop per trip, mind you, but we children got to choose the place and the indulgent treat to munch on the way back. Oh yes, we enjoyed these walks home.
One day, during one of these stops, when we were hungrily browsing the glass cases in the sweet shop, encasing so many delicious things both sweet and spicy, I spied something that looked like matchstick potato chips, but covered in something white. Curioisty got the better of me and I chose that one for my munchies. What I thought was potato chips turned out to be potato chips dusted with icing sugar! I have only ever eaten potatoes made savory, and this sweet version was refreshingly delightful. Needless to say, I licked the paper bag clean and went back to the store for many a helping in the future.
Despite it being almost a decade since I tasted them last, I never forgot about those sweet, potato crisps (not ‘sweet potato’). So when there was a lone potato from a bag of Idaho Potatoes left behind, I decided to make something sweet, rather than the usual savories.
So, inspired by those crispy, but sweet matchstick potatoes of my childhood, I made us this delicious plant-based Potato Kheer.
Kheer is a very traditional Indian dessert, usually made with either rice or vermicelli, simmered in an overdose of saffron and cardamom infused dairy (milk, condensed milk, clarified butter, etc), topped with fried cashews and raisins. Yes, it is exactly as divine as that just sounded.
My version, is rather slightly unconventional. It begins by baking potatoes in the oven till crisp. I did try frying them in the pan, but it was a nightmare to keep stirring, breaking apart clumps that inevitably formed and simply manning the stove intermittently. Baking was so much simpler and yielded consistent results. The biggest challenge however, is not snacking on the potato crisps while the sugars and the milks come to a boil. I would recommend extreme restraint, or bake a larger batch of potato shreds, so you don’t end up with an empty kheer. Which, isn’t really as bad as it sounds – the liquid makes an incredibly amazing drink when chilled.
Also because I used an emulsion of two different nut milks: Coconut + Almond. Coconut milk alone was a little too sickeningly rich, and almond milk alone was insufficiently dessert like. Together, however, they created the perfect magic.
There are two ways to enjoy this Potato Kheer: rehydrate the crisp potatoes by boiling them in the sweetened milk or add them to the liquid just before serving, so they’re crisp. Why bake crisp, if you’re just going to rehydrate it back, you ask? Baking the potatoes burns out the starch, which would otherwise thicken the kheer to a gloopy mess.
Serve it fragrantly warm on a cold afternoon, or comfortably chill on an uncomfortably warm day. No matter how, or when, this is a wonderful dish to enjoy potatoes in a form you’ve never had before.
When you make this delicious VEGAN Potato Kheer (which I really think you SHOULD!), be sure to SHARE YOUR PHOTOS with me through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. I’d love to see what you cook from here!