Mahlebieh (Rice Pudding)

4 oz ground rice 

2 level tablespoons cornflour 

2 pints milk 

8 tablespoons sugar 

2 tablespoons orange blossom water or rosewater or a mixture of the two (optional) 

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg 

4 oz ground almonds 

garnish: 2 tablespoons pistachio nuts, chopped 

In a large bowl, mix together the ground rice and cornflour. Add about 10 tablespoons of the cold milk and stir until you have a smooth paste. 

Bring the rest of the milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved. Slowly pour the hot milk onto the rice paste, stirring constantly, watching out for lumps. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens. Stir in the orange blossom water (or rosewater) and the nutmeg and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and stir in the almonds. Pour into a serving bowl, leave to cool and then place in the refrigerator to chill. Before serving decorate with the pistachio nuts. 

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