Saturday, December 25, 2010

Indian Rice Pudding - Once Tasted Never Forgotten

This is the simplest rice pudding recipe. It will spoil you, forever, for any other rice pudding. As an adult, I had always cooked for myself, so dessert, was an item not on the menu, unless it was something store-bought. I didn't start making pies until I had been cooking for 25 years. Desserts never came to me easily, but as a child, I have distinct memories of the two puddings I was served at home, institutionally, or at restaurants. One is rice pudding and the other is bread pudding.

Coming back to rice pudding for the first time in decades, I quickly realized that this recipe informed me that I prefer rice pudding all over bread pudding.

This recipe for rice pudding may be one of the earliest dessert recipes known to mankind.

I make this in a crock pot as the milk has to be kept warm for extended periods of time. The milk isn't so much cooked as evaporated (under heat). The crock pot keeps the milk at a safe temperature. That is going to become apparent momentarily.

2 qts. milk - with the highest milk fat you can find
2 tablespoons of basmati rice (no substitutes for this)

the remaining ingredients are suggestions, you must play around to find your perfect combination

sugar - white, granulated (golden or brown will discolor the finished dish)
Rose Water
Orange Water
Cardamom (Greater Cardamom)
1 to 2 ozs . melted ghee
Pistachios, shelled
Almonds, blanched

Raisins - Golden or light colored fruit
Banana slices - sliced lengthwise without the seeds showing
Coconut - freshly shredded
Mango slices
Pineapple spears - fresh, canned is too heavy for this dish


Remove the milk from the frig, 2 hours before adding it to the crockpot. The milk should start heating from room temperature. Use an extra rich milk, such as Golden Guernsey or unpasteurized milk if it can be obtained. I may try using 1 1/2 quarts of milk and 1/2 quart (1 pint) of heavy (double U.K.) cream.

Put the milk and rice in the crockpot. Set the heat to high and bring the pot to a simmer. Lower the heat and remove the lid. Allow the crockpot to run 24 hours. Stir as frequently as comfortable. Twenty-four hours is a long time. At the end of the cooking time, the milk will have the consistency of clotted cream, or slightly less. Or maybe more. This isn't the science department.

Once the pot has cooled, add ANY of the spices listed, but only a suspicion of, not a quantity. Add only white sugar, as brown will discolor this dish. Honey while not over coloring the dish makes the pudding too fluid.

To serve, add the coconut, fruits, and nuts.

Once tasted, never forgotten. But the penalty is this: you will never enjoy eating ordinary rice pudding again.

P.S. -  The crockpot took 3 days of soaking and lots of hard work removing the milk ring that formed by the heating process.