Indian-Spiced Rice Pudding

4 cups whole milk (I’m curious how this might work with soy or coconut milk)
1/2 cup rice (I prefer Basmati or Arborio)
1/4 cup demerara sugar (palm sugar sugar works nicely, but I’ve also used white and gotten away with it)
1/2 vanilla split bean, split, seeds scraped out
2-3 cardamom pods, cracked, seeds ground in a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle
1 whole bay leaf
1/4 cup golden raisins (optional)
1/4 cup almond slivers (slightly toasted for 10 minutes in a 300 degree oven)

1. Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Over medium to low-medium heat, bring to a gentle boil and then reduce to simmer, stirring periodically to ensure that the bottom doesn’t get stuck or burnt. Cook for about 30-35 minutes tasting at the end for doneness. The rice granules should be soft, but slightly firm to the bite, especially, if using Arborio rice. Remove from heat.

2. Serve immediately, or wait for a cooler rice pudding (my favorite). Or, if you’re like my friend, chill it and eat it cold. For breakfast. Because you can.

© 2023 Olga Massov