• Creamy Middle Eastern rice bowl (Chris Middleton )Source: Chris Middleton

This creamy rice bowl is incredibly luxurious and fragrant. It is delicious served warm and silky, or the next day when it has thickened slightly.






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (14 votes)


  • 150 g (5½ oz/¾ cup) medium-grain rice 
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • pinch of salt
  • 750 ml (25½ oz/3 cups) milk
  • 1½ tbsp honey
  • 1 vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped 
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon 

To serve 

  • roughly chopped pistachios 
  • pomegranate seeds 
  • pomegranate molasses 
  • dried rose petals 

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Combine the rice, cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt with 310 ml (10½ oz/1¼ cups) water in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to very low. Cook for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed. 

Stir the milk, honey and vanilla seeds and pod into the rice and bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring often for 15–20 minutes, until the rice is tender and the mixture is thick and creamy. Stir in the lemon zest. Set aside to cool slightly and remove and discard the cinnamon stick and vanilla pod. 

Serve the creamy rice warm or cool, topped with the pistachios and pomegranate seeds, a drizzle of pomegranate molasses and sprinkled with rose petals. 



•  To make dairy free, swap the milk for a non-dairy alternative. To make vegan, also swap the honey for rice malt syrup, pure maple syrup or a couple of drops of liquid stevia. 


This recipe is from Breakfast Bowls (Smith Street Books). Photography by Chris Middleton.