Monday, October 25, 2010

Honey & Pistachio Risotto

This rice pudding, rich with vanilla, cardamom, honey and pistachios, comes from a recipe given my many years ago by a friend from India named Jyotika so I've decided to name it for her. I don't make it a lot because it requires endless stirring but recently, since my conversion to crockpot risotto, I decided to try making it as a risotto and, let me tell you, my first try yielded a luscious treat. Next time I'm going to add more milk and see if I can get it even creamier but I'm going to post both recipes – the rice pudding and the risotto – and let you take your pick.

Normally the recipe calls for golden raisins but I forgot to buy them so last night when I was making it I stirred in some pomegranate-flavored craisins and they were delicious.

Jyotika's Rice Pudding

In a deep, heavy pot combine 1 cup jasmine rice, 3 green cardamom pods that have been crushed with the flat blade of a knife, and a fresh, juicy vanilla bean that has been split own the center. Add a quart of whole milk and bring to a simmer then adjust heat and continue to cook, stirring almost constantly until the rice absorbs the milk and the pudding becomes thick. Add more milk if needed to the desired thickness. Stir in 1 c. golden raisins (or other dried fruit), and ½ c. honey. Serve topped with crushed pistachio nuts and a little more honey drizzled over it.

Over the years I have made this with coconut, crushed macadamias, dried mango or papaya, figs, dates – it is always delicious. The secret is the cardamom and vanilla which gives it a “hot”/smooth flavor that is hard to describe.

To make the risotto my only changes were to switch from jasmine rice to arborio rice and from whole milk to condensed milk. The condensed milk does better in a crockpot – it won't curdle or separate like whole milk can. There is also butter and a little less rice.

Jyotika's Risotto

In a heavy skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter. Stir in 2/3 c. rice and stir as the rice turns opaque and absorbs the butter. Spray the inside of your crockpot with buttery cooking spray and add the rice. Place the cardamom pods and split vanilla bean inside. Add 1 can of evaporated milk and 2 cans of water. Turn to high and let cook for an hour and a half.

Check the rice and add more milk to thin it. At this point you can use whole milk just keep stirring it in to the hot mixture and it will get absorbed very fast. Add your raisins or dried fruit. Cover and cook for another hour. Check the mixture and add more milk as needed . I added 2 extra cups of milk. At first it seemed like it was too thin but I was surprised at how “thirsty” the rice was – it absorbed it in no time. Add ½ c. honey. Serve hot topped with pistachio nuts and a little more honey drizzled over it.

That's all there is to it. I'm going to try it again soon with more milk on hand and I may even try the risotto with jasmine rice. It's worth it to make this rice if just for the way it makes your house smell. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading.  

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