Kheer was derived from the Sanksrit word kshirika (a dish prepared with milk), not as a rice pudding but a sweet preparation of milk and jowar. Back then using millets in pudding was quite common.
Gradually kheer using rice became popular which got many names as it travels across India. But the real popularity of kheer was accounted to its religious association during festivals and celebrations at temple.
The Persians, who introduced firni in India were the first ones to introduce dry fruits,rose water in it. Indian version has always the use of spice like cinnamon or cardamom. There is another version of it called payasam, which is thicker and richer.
This dish has many famous saga to sing ,one of them is during construction of famous ancient India landmark, the Konark Temple of Odisha.The chief architect’s son brought the solution of constructing the foundation of the temple. He used small rice balls in warm milk to explain the logic & later that from of kheer became famous as “gointa godi kheeri” in Odisha.
Apart from festive season Mom used to prepare “kheeri” on our birthdays . A Slice of poori (deep fried bread) with a spoonful of chilled kheer …that’s how I enjoy it at it’s best