Most people like the traditional rice pudding, cooked on a stovetop, but the Turks have elevated this humble dish and add the step of putting it in the oven. This results in a velvetiness you just can’t achieve on a stove.
Using short grain rice is important if you want to get this dish right because it gives the dish its creaminess and absorbs the milk, unlike long grain rice. Vanilla isn’t a very traditional flavouring, as this dish is customarily flavoured with rose water. However, vanilla is used by many nowadays and is a good alternative for those who do not like rose water.
You could cook the rice in the milk and dish it up and eat it as is, however baking it is totally worth it because it really makes a difference! The eggy mixture poured on top ensures your rice pudding has a silky crust, giving it an amazing texture. It is best served cold, with a sprinkling of cinnamon, after being refrigerated for a few hours, but you could eat it warm or room temperature if you prefer.
With summer coming up, what better way to cool off than with an ice cold bowl of sutlac?
- 1 cup short grain rice
- 1.5 litres whole milk (reserve 6 tbsp, separated)
- 1½ cup sugar (or to taste)
- 2 tbsp thick cream (ishta)
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 egg yolks (beaten)
- Put the rice in a large pot and cook in water, following the instructions on the packet. The ration is usually 1 cup rice to 1½ cups of water.
- When the rice is cooked, slowly add the milk, leaving 6 tbsp of milk on the side. You can add more or less milk to the pot, depending on how runny or firm you like your rice pudding. Keep in mind that you will be baking it, so make it a little runnier than you want it to be.
- Mix the corn starch with 3 tbsp of the reserved milk and set aside.
- Add the sugar, cream, cornstarch mixture and vanilla. Mix and cook until most of the milk is absorbed.
- Once the rice pudding is to a slightly runnier consistency than you like, pour it into ramekins to serve individually, or into an oven-safe baking dish.
- Beat the yolk with the remaining 3 tbsp of milk and pour a thin layer on top of the rice pudding.
- Bake at 180C until golden brown. You can also put it under the broiler.
- Allow to cool to room temperature and enjoy it as is, or put it in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Sprinkle with some cinnamon and enjoy!