In a heavy bottom pot, add 4 cups of milk and bring it to a boil.
When the milk starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and stir the milk. Keep a wooden spatula on top, as shown in the picture, to prevent the milk from overflowing. It comes till the brim but rarely overflows. So far it has worked out for me. But make sure to reduce the heat to low.
Increase the heat to medium-low and keep stirring the milk for 5 minutes. Scrape the sides and collect the milk skin or the lactoderm that forms on the top and add it back to the milk. Keep stirring the milk so that it doesn't get burned. Also, if the milk is over boiling and if you think, it is going to overflow, then reduce the heat to low and keep stirring.
Now add ¾ cup of sugar and mix. Gently stir the milk and let the sugar dissolve.
After about three minutes, add crushed cardamom.
Then add ¼ cup of condensed milk. Mix and let the sugar and condensed milk incorporate into the milk completely. Keep stirring for every one minute for three minutes. (You can do this up to 5 minutes) During this process, scrape the sides and collect the milk skin and add it to the kheer again, as I mentioned before.
Meanwhile, rinse the thick poha and let it soak in water 2 minutes and then drain the water.
Now add the drained poha to the kheer and mix.
Add the edible camphor (crush it a bit), if using to the kheer, and let the kheer simmer for 5 to 7 minutes until the poha turns soft.
Turn off the heat and let the kheer cool a bit. This step allows poha to absorb all the flavor from the milk.
Serve warm or cold.
I have included the substitutes on the ingredient list itself, but let me repeat the major ones here.
Use thick poha for this kheer. You can use the red variety as well. Also, do not add more 1.5 cups of poha.
Along with green cardamom, you can use one or two cloves. Also, you can add saffron strands for additional flavor.
Edible camphor and condensed milk are optional.
Instead of sugar, you can use jaggery as well.
Even though toned milk works well for this recipe, you can use whole milk for a creamier and rich version.
I did not add any nuts. But you can fry cashews and raisins in ghee and add it to the kheer.