Longing for something simple and creamy, we ordered “rice pudding” for dessert from our favorite Mediterranean restaurant one evening. What we got was anything but simple and I immediately became obsessed. After lots of recipe research, my best guess is that it is actually called Malabi, an Israeli milk and rice flour pudding. The texture is smooth, creamy and soft. It holds its shape easily like a flan, but the rice flour and rose-water gives it a light, delicately floral flavor. The restaurant drizzled their version with a rose water syrup and sprinkles it with coconut and pistachios, but the flavors and toppings vary from recipe to recipe. Once I found my favorite version of the pudding itself, I made it a few times to perfect my version. It is extremely quick and simple to make…and our toddler adores it, so it’s a great recipe to introduce new and exotic flavors to a child who might be a little skeptical.
Milk and Rice Flour Pudding
- 4 1/2 cups milk (I used half whole milk and half 2% milk)
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons rose water, orange blossom water or 1 tablespoon of each (I found the combo to be the most pleasing flavor)
- toppings (pictured above is sweetened coconut, but in my favorite version, I used coarsely chopped candied orange peels, pistachios and coconut mixed together)
- Turkish honey or other quality honey for drizzling
Whisk together 1/2 cup of the milk with the rice flour in a mixing bowl until smooth. Bring the rest of the milk with the sugar in a heavy saucepan to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat to medium, pour about half of the hot milk into the bowl with the rice flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour that mixture into the pot and whisk it all together until there are no lumps. Continue to cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a spoon (using a spoon instead of a whisk is easier at this point). Turn off the heat and stir in vanilla and rose water, orange blossom water or a combo of both. Pour or ladle into 6-8 small pudding cups or teacups and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve sprinkled with your toppings and drizzled with a little honey.
Note: This pudding holds it’s shape really well and doesn’t seem to stick at all, so if you have small flan or pudding molds, this is the recipe to try them out on!