Rice Pudding with Rose Water, Coconut, and Pistachios
This creamy rice pudding scented with rose water is a big favorite in Mayada’s house. “The kids love this pudding so much that whenever I have milk, I have to make it,” she says. Depending on your preference, it can be served a number of ways. Served warm, straight out of the pot, the pudding has a thinner consistency and its own comforting appeal. Mayada’s kids, though, like it chilled overnight in the fridge so it’s very thick, creamy, and cold. No matter how thick or thin you like your pudding, don’t forget the last-minute addition of coconut and pistachios.
SERVES 6 TO 8
- 1 cup short-grain white rice
- 2 quarts whole milk
- 2 1⁄2 tablespoons rose water
- 3⁄4 to 1 1/4 cups sugar
- Sweetened shredded coconut, for serving
- Finely chopped unsalted raw pistachios, for serving
- Place the rice in a medium bowl and add hot water to cover. Let soak for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain the rice, rinse it several times, and drain again.
- While the rice is soaking, bring the milk to a boil in a large pot on medium-high. (Make sure to keep an eye on it as it gets close to boiling, so it doesn’t boil over.)
- Just as the milk boils, give it a stir, then add the rice and the rose water. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rice is softened. Occasionally skim off the skin that forms on top of the milk.
- Stir in 3⁄4 cup of the sugar; add more if you prefer the pudding sweeter. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the rice is fully cooked. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Let the pudding cool completely in the pot, then transfer to a bowl or rimmed platter and chill in the refrigerator. (Alternatively, serve warm.) Transfer to serving bowls. Top each bowl with a sprinkle of coconut and pistachios and serve.
“I always hoped to make it to Syria, to see Palmyra and the famous souk in Aleppo, and best of all, to taste the food. Thanks to Mayada, I get to cook the legendarily delicious food myself, right at home. This book holds a beautiful and evocative story, and by buying a copy you’re supporting Mayada’s family and an organization committed to helping many more.”
—Sara Jenkins, chef and owner of Nina June and Porsena