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Monday, February 7, 2011

White rice pudding with rosewater and almonds (Turkish/Middle Eastern)

Once you've tasted the rosewater flavor in desserts you'll be coming back for more. We discovered it in a Lebanese restaurant in Bucharest that we love, called Mezze. It gives a floral aroma that no other spices can replace, it's delicate and sweet and light and addictive. Our friend Madalin is back from Geneva so we made three rations of pudding. He said it was "interesting"(in a good way, rest assured) and gave it a thumbs up. 
I adapted the recipe from here, and if you follow the link you'll find out a lot about the history of this wonderful dessert, which the Persian legends called "food of the angels" and about which they said “When the prophet Muhammed first ascended to the seventh floor of Heaven to meet God, he was served this dish.” Not to mention that it was present in the Middle Eastern cuisine all-throughout the ancient and medieval times. Enjoy :)

Ingredients (serves 3):
  • 1 cup long grain (or basmati) rice (or 3/4 of a 200 ml mug)
  • a little pinch of salt
  • 4 cups (600 ml) boiling water
  • 750 ml (5 cups) low fat milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rosewater (less or more depending on the concentration of your rosewater)
  • 40-50 raw almond flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom 

Wash the rice, take the water off the heat source when it boils, then put the rice in it and let it soak for at least 20 minutes.

Afterwards, bring the milk to simmer in a medium pot. Add the little pinch of salt and the spices:

Simmer for 2-3 minutes, then add the drained rice:

Cook everything for 30-40 minutes until the rice absorbs most of the spicy milk. Then, turn off the heat, add the sugar, stir to dissolve, add the rosewater. Taste as you add to adjust the flavor intensity to what you want (we prefer a stronger rosewater hint). Pour the pudding into serving bowls:

Decorate with almond flakes and serve warm. Dig in! :)

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