I forgot how much I love a creamy, sloshy rice pudding.
It’s the sort of thing I make semi-regularly, but never with a recipe; I resurrect leftover cooked long grain rice, or use short grain if I make it from the beginning, but it’s always thick and diner-style, and I’m usually the only one to eat it. I forgot how delicious a runny rice pudding is when it’s ice cold; like melted ice cream, sweet and rice-flavoured, and in this case spiked with cardamom. It’s fantastic. The recipe comes from Noorbanu Nimji and Karen Anderson, a couple of gems who just released a new cookbook – A Spicy Touch – the theme of our cookbook club (Bite Club!) the other night. It was hot, approaching 30 in the afternoon, and something in the back of my mind reminded me that cold rice pudding spiked with cardamom would be a very good idea. Of course they had a recipe for it.
I wound up mucking about with it only because I had the better part of a litre of half & half in the fridge that needed using – something I always have on hand, unlike whole milk – and I decided to go with the full can of sweetened condensed milk and not open one of evaporated milk. Also, I had no pistachios, but it was completely divine with just cardamom and almonds. (Sliced, broken up a little more, are easier on the teeth than slivered almonds – and they more closely resemble the finely shaved whole almonds Mrs. Nimji uses, cut by hand with a small almond slicer – sort of like a cross between scissors and a nutcracker. I had never seen one before.
(Mrs. Nimji is 83, and lives about five minutes from me – her first self-published cookbook has sold over 250,000 copies since 1974, and remains a staple in Canadian Ismaili kitchens.)
The sweetened condensed milk provided just the right level of sweet – and a better flavour, I think, than straight-up sugar. If you have saffron in your cupboard, you could add a pinch too. Just make sure it’s very cold – especially if it’s hot outside.