Rice pudding

Julia Zaher

1 hour

8 Servings

Bowls of rice pudding topped with pistachios.

Rice pudding. Photo by Ariel Efron

Rice pudding topped with pistachios
Rice pudding. Photo by Ariel Efron

This recipe was served in the event “Flavours from the Library” with Lana Zaher and her mother Julia.

Mastic, the resin obtained from the mastic tree, is produced on the Greek island Chios (formerly under Turkish rule). In traditional Sütlaç recipes, the Turkish version of rice pudding, Mastic was used as a thickener. Having always been a relatively rare ingredient, it is not surprising that in most present-day recipes Mastic has been substituted with cornstarch. However, in addition to its role as a thickener, Mastic also adds a unique aroma and so is worth tracking down and sourcing for this recipe.


  • 1 cup (200 grams) short grain rice
  • 1 liter (1 quart) milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Mastic ground with 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 10 drops orange blossom water
  • To serve:
  • Pistachios, toasted and chopped


  1. Soak the rice in plenty of lukewarm water for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse well.
  2. Transfer the rinsed rice to a pot, add 1 cup water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a low heat and cook until partially softened, occasionally stirring.
  3. Add the milk and a pinch of salt, increase to a high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low heat and gently simmer until the rice is soft and the milk has reduced, about 20 minutes. Occasionally stir the rice so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Add the sugar, Mastic and orange blossom water and cook while continuously stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest in the pot for 5 minutes. Divide into serving bowls, sprinkle ground pistachios and serve warm.
  5. To serve cold: refrigerate the rice pudding in the serving bowls and sprinkle ground pistachios on top when ready to serve.

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