Rice Pudding (Rozz bel-laban)

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This recipe is courtesy of my good friend Lina.

It is plain-old rice pudding ofcourse, common to almost every culture that we know, but this one has got the unmistaken middle eastern touch to it: “mastic” flavour! It is unbelievably delicious, and tastes almost like ice cream, you’ve got to try it.

Some of you will ofcourse ask what on earth is “mastic”??? It is shown in the close-up picture here.

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Translation? The dictionary says: an aromatic resin or gum extracted from a tree grown in the Mediterranean or Middle Eastern region.

I have no clue where you would find it in “your” country, a middle Eastern grocer I would guess. I have no problem finding it in Greece, as it is also common to Greek deserts (especially ice cream!). They also have a “Mastikha” liqueur from the island of Chios; yummy served on ice.

Back to our rice pudding that my husband has been asking me to make, for many days now!!

Ingredients:

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3/4 cup rice

8 cups milk

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp mastic grounded w/1 tbsp sugar)

1/2 cup chopped pistachios to garnish

Method:

soak rice in 2 cups hot water for 1 hour, then boil for 10mns

add milk and stir almostconstantly for 3/4 hour

(you really need to pay attention to this one, don’t go sit down with a book, or get involved with another dish, milk boiling over, or worse still blackened milk stuck at the bottom of a pan, is not pretty I assure you!)

add sugar, stir, keep for 5 more minutes

add mastic mixture and stir to combine

take off fire and let cool a bit

divide in small glass bowls

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cover with cling film (very close to the surface to prevent milk for forming a skin)

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refrigerate when cooled

sprinkle chopped pistachios on top before serving

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Enjoy!

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