Vanilla ground rice pudding

Sumayya Usmani serves up a warming ground rice pudding recipe, reminiscent of childhood desserts in Pakistan but adapted to the chilly British winter. Infused with apple and ginger juice and cardamom, this is packed with comfortingly mellow flavours.

First published in 2015

Based on a comforting memory of growing up on a ground rice called Firni, traditionally scented with cardamom and rosewater, this dessert was a childhood treat. Usually served cold because of the intense heat of Pakistan summer, I have always wanted to use ground rice to create a more winter-based pudding, something that would be just as comforting as the original but translate for cold British winters. Here using apple and ginger juice adds a kick of flavour that balances the vanilla and cardamom intensity in the ground rice. The apple juice also adds sweetness that balances against the caramelised Demerara crunch. The result is a warming winter pudding that would serve quite well as an end to a festive meal this winter.





In a heavy-based saucepan, heat the milk until hot (for about 2 minutes on a low-medium heat)
Once hot, add the cardamom seeds and vanilla and cook for approximately 1–2 minutes until the aroma infuses into the milk
Carefully add the ground rice and stir to avoid lumps forming. Reduce the heat to low. Pour half of the apple and ginger juice into the pan and keep stirring to avoid lumps
Add the lemon zest, condensed milk and remaining juice. Stir for a minute or two until combined – you should have a thick semolina-like pudding consistency that has nearly doubled in size as the ground rice swells as it cooks. The rice should now be completely cooked through
Pour into an oven-proof serving dish, top with Demerara sugar and turn the grill to hot. Place under the grill for up to 10 minutes, or until the sugar caramelises and reaches a dark brown colour
Sprinkle with ground pistachios and serve immediately
First published in 2015

Sumayya Usmani is a cookbook author, writer and cookery teacher who specialises in Pakistani cuisine.

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