This classic Syrian dessert – rice pudding with an orange jelly on top – is easy to make, soothing, refreshing and delicate.






Skill level

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Some balouza recipes do not include rice, but I like this version.


Rice pudding

  • 2 litres full fat milk
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 cup medium grain rice or jasmine rice
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ lemon, zest only

Orange jelly

  • 1 litre fresh orange juice (see Note)
  • 4 tbsp sugar, optional
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1 orange, zest only
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 6 tbsp cornflour

For garnish

  • 100-150 g raw nuts (pine nuts, almonds and pistachios), soaked in water for about 1 hour
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Fresh fruit slices, optional

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.


Soaking time: 1 hour

Chilling time: 1-2 hours

  1. To prepare the rice pudding, pour the milk into a nonstick pot, mix in the cornflour and whisk until dissolved, then add the rice and simmer over low heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Continue to stir until the rice pudding thickens, then add the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and blossom water. If the rice pudding isn't thick enough, combine ¼ cup of cold water with 1 tpsb of cornflower and add it to the pudding.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the rice is soft. It will take around an hour to complete this process.
  4. Pour the pudding into the bowls of your choice and set them aside to cool at room temperature (see Note).
  5. To make the orange jelly, in a nonstick saucepan combine the orange juice, sugar, vanilla, blossom water, lemon zest, orange zest and cornflour. Continue to stir until the mixture boils.
  6. Pour the hot orange jelly over the rice puddings using a ladle. Put bowls into the fridge to chill.
  7. To serve, decorate with nuts (you may like to chop some or all of the nuts) and coconut. You could also use slices of fruit to decorate.



Some people prefer to cook the rice separately before adding it to the boiling milk; you can do this, but the milk will require more cornflower.

 You can use any kind of juice instead of orange.

 Wait until the rice pudding has cooled before pouring on the orange jelly.


Photography, styling and food preparation by Racha Abou Alchamat.