• رز بالحليب نباتي •
Served hot or chilled, this Vegan Middle Eastern Rice Pudding is a comforting and aromatic dessert, scented with the unique flavors of the Middle East.
This rice pudding is like a taste of my childhood. When I was younger, my mom often made this for us because it’s simple to prepare and is a crowd-pleaser. She used dairy milk, but I’ve adapted the recipe to use plant milk to achieve the same rich taste. I’ve even won rave reviews from her and from my grandmother who both now prefer my vegan version over any other. So in case you were worried about tinkering with the classic recipe, this one is fully grandma-approved.
For this recipe I use an Egyptian medium-grain rice, but any type of rice will work. Indeed, I’ve had great success using jasmine, basmati, and short-grain rices. Unlike American-style rice puddings which often call for eggs, Middle Eastern rice pudding never include them. This pudding also relies on the inherent starch in the rice as well a bit of cornstarch for thickening. Some recipes call for a lot of rice but I prefer to keep the amount of rice at a moderate level.
The special taste of this rice pudding comes from two secret ingredients: mastic and orange blossom water. Mastic, or mastic gum, is the dried resin of a tree that only grows in the Eastern Mediterranean, most notably on the Greek island of Chios. It’s pine-like flavor is totally unique and is a familiar taste in many Middle Eastern sweets. Similarly, orange blossom water, a distillate of orange flowers, is ubiquitous in scenting cakes, syrups, and milk-based desserts.
- 6 cups nondairy milk (I prefer soy milk here)
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 3-4 mastic tears, ground
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 5 Tablespoons rice
- 1½ cups water
- 6 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Reserve ½ cup of the nondairy milk in a small bowl. In a large pot, heat the rest of the nondairy milk, sugar, coconut oil, mastic powder, and salt over medium-high heat so it comes to a boil.
- In the meanwhile, rinse and drain the rice and put it into a small saucepan with the water. Bring the rice to a boil over medium-high heat. Let it boil for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, the milk mixture should have come to a boil. Dump the partially cooked rice and any remaining water into the large pot with the milk mixture. Let it return to a boil and simmer for another 8 minutes.
- After 8 minutes of simmering, whisk in the cornstarch to the reserved nondairy milk in the small bowl until no lumps remain. Stir this slurry into the simmering milk and rice mixture. Let it come back to a boil. Once it has done that, let it cook for 1 more minute then remove from the heat. Stir in the orange blossom water and vanilla extract. Ladle the hot rice pudding into serving bowls. Serve after they have cooled slightly or let them come to room temperature then cover and refrigerate them for a chilled treat. Garnish with pistachios, cinnamon, and/or shredded coconut.
-In many recipes, you can substitute the cornstarch with tapioca or arrowroot starch, but in this recipe, only cornstarch works. The others don't thicken this pudding in the way cornstarch does.
-Both mastic and orange blossom water can be found in Middle Eastern markets or online. If you can find one, but can't find the other, don't worry. As long as you use one of the two, the flavor will still be excellent.
-The best way to grind the mastic tears is in a mortar and pestle with a few teaspoons of the sugar. Or if you don't have a mortar and pestle, put the mastic in a small dish with some sugar and smash and grind them with the back of a spoon.
-This recipe makes around 6-8 servings.