Fragrant Lebanese Rice Pudding Recipe
1/2 cup Calrose Rice
1 cup Water
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
4 pieces Mastica (found at Middle Eastern grocery stores)
1 1/2 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup 35% Cream
1 tsp Corn starch
1/4 cup Water
1 tsp Rose Water
1 tsp Orange Blossom Water
Crushed Pistachios for decoration
There are various versions of rice pudding which you can find many recipes online, but I humbly think that none of them compare to my mama’s fragrant Lebanese rice pudding recipe which she recently walked me through over the phone. To begin the journey of preparing what my neighbour now calls “Crackstachio Rice Pudding”, you want to soak the Calrose rice in warm water for at least 15 minutes. In the meantime, grind the pieces of Mastic with half the amount of sugar. It is absolutely crucial that you do not skip that step if your do decide to include the Mastic as it will not melt if added whole to the pot.
After 15 minutes, strain the rice and put it in a pot, top it up with 1 cup of water and bring it to a boil. Once the water and rice start boiling, place the lid on the pot and bring down the heat, allowing the rice to simmer for 15-20 minutes. The rice grains once cooked should still hold their shape. Add the sugar-Mastic mixture, a 1/4 cup of sugar, the milk, and cream, and stir. At this point, you want to cook the rice, sugar, and dairy at medium heat until it starts to bubble.
When the rice pudding starts to bubble, prepare the slurry of 1 tsp corn starch and 1/4 cup of cold water. Add the slurry to the rice pudding and mix until it starts to thicken. Once the pudding is at a consistency similar to risotto, turn off the heat and add the rose water and orange blossom water. Stir them in well and ladle the rice pudding into small containers. Allow the rice pudding to chill fully before decorating with crushed pistachios and orange blossom jam.
And there you have it, fragrant Lebanese rice pudding that is absolutely delicious and reminiscent of summers in my mama’s garden.
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