Rice pudding is a universal dessert, found in many cultures, in different forms, and under different names. Lebanese peeps don’t have a monopoly on it this time. However what probably makes this a “Lebanese” version is the addition of orange blossom water (mazaher) to the recipe. In Lebanon this dessert is known as “Riz B Haleeb” which translates to “Rice in Milk.”
Orange blossom water is a flavoring syrup made by distilling flowers from orange trees and is generally added to many Arabic/Turkish/Lebanese desserts. It can be typically found in Middle Eastern grocery stores or can be purchased online.
This rice pudding isn’t too far from what is served in Indian/Pakistani/Afghani/Persian restaurants as “kheer”. There are a few different variations of it. The basic ingredients are water, sugar, and orange blossom water, then you would add rice powder and/or rice and/or corn flower. All will yield to a virtually identical taste, but with different textures.
- 4 cups of milk
- 10-12 teaspoons of sugar (to taste)
- ½ cup of rice
- 2-4 Table Spoons of corn flour
- 2 teaspoons of orange blossom water
- Pistachio as a garnish
- Rinse the rice then let dry
- Boil the milk with the sugar and rice on low heat for 15 minutes or until the rice softens all while stirring continuously.
- As the rice softens add the orange blossom water and the corn flour and stir it in and boil/stir for another 5 minutes or until the pudding hardens and gains the consistency of yogurt. If you add too much corn flour the pudding becomes too jello-like and if you add little it’ll take on a more watery consistency. This is a personal preference. Try adding 2 first then increase if you need to.
- As the pudding hardens, pour it in your heat-resistant serving cups/plates and let rest for a few minutes before garnishing with pistachio and refrigerating.
- Serve cold.