Saturday, 5 September 2015

Tasting Jerusalem #21 – Cardamom

Cardamom Rice Pudding with Pistachios & Rose Water
Dee – Cardamom was March 2014’s featured ingredient and offered a wide range of possibilities for selecting a recipe to use it in, as it is versatile enough to be used in sweet or savoury dishes.  We haven’t made a dessert for a while, so went for the elegant sounding rice pudding on page 270.

I first made reference to this recipe in Tasting Jerusalem #17 when I mentioned it in the context of a Persian themed menu which started with a Pistachio Soup click here for details, and although we didn’t prepare that particular menu, the rice pudding was preceded by Olivieh and Shirazi salads; two more well known Persian dishes.

The cardamom was used in the first stage of the recipe.  Eight pods were added, along with a vanilla pod, to a milk and cream mixture, which was mixed the day before serving and left to infuse overnight.  The pods were crushed and added whole, rather than the seeds being extracted.  Cardamom has quite a strong and distinctive flavour, so this ensured that it didn’t overwhelm the other ingredients.

The most challenging element of the recipe was the cooking of the rice in the milk and cream mixture.  Close attention needed to be paid to this as the rice had a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pan if left unattended.  It was also quite quick to absorb the milk and cream, so a little water needed to be added to prevent it from drying out.

Once the rice was cooked, a mixture of honey, condensed milk and butter was stirred through it to loosen it and enrich the flavour and texture.  This was a test of willpower for me as I find it difficult to resist the temptation to grab a spoon and eat condensed milk straight from the tin.  I didn’t this time though.

Once the rice pudding was dished up, the final touch before serving was to add the garnishes.  First, a drizzle of syrup made from honey and rose water, followed by slivered pistachios and dried edible rose petals.

The finished dish looked great and tasted great too.  It was very sweet and rich, as expected, with the main flavour coming from the rose water rather than the cardamom.

The portion sizes proved to be spot on.  The pudding was served in small bowls, with enough left over for a small second helping.

This wasn’t one of the simplest recipes in the book, and required several different preparations and some overnight infusion.  The frighteningly calorific ingredient list prevents it from making too regular an appearance at the table, but for an occasional treat it is fabulous.

“Tasting Jerusalem is a virtual cooking community exploring the vibrant flavors and cuisine of the Middle East through the lens of Jerusalem by Ottolenghi and Tamimi published by Ebury Press. You can follow along and cook with us by subscribing to  following the hashtag #TastingJrslm on Twitter and Instagram, liking our Facebook Page or joining our Google+ Community and finally checking out all of our groups’ dishes on Pinterest

(Please note: I have listed the UK publisher and have linked to the UK Amazon site.  The US details are provided on the web site)

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