Kheer is the primary dessert of India. Home cooks generally prepare a simple rice-and-milk version; more elaborate renditions, with nuts, fruits, flower essences and spice embellishments, are served in restaurants and at wedding feasts. Scented rice, such as Gobinda Bhog or basmati, is preferred, since it is the main flavor in the pudding. Indians like a rather runny consistency and for the rice grains to be invisible, but the consistency and texture of this recipe have been adapted for the Western palate.Jaggery, which is dehydrated sugarcane juice, is a by-product of sugar refining. Golden brown and with a maple syrup-like flavor, it is used in Indian desserts and candies. Brown sugar, palm sugar, maple syrup or maple sugar may be substituted, although they do not accurately replicate jaggery's flavor. Pieces of silver foil, known as vark, are used primarily to decorate desserts and sweets at banquets, wedding feasts and festivals. The sheets are sold in Indian grocery stores.
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