Some balouza recipes do not include rice, but I like this version.
This classic Syrian dessert – rice pudding with an orange jelly on top – is easy to make, soothing, refreshing and delicate.
- 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
- 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
- 100-150 g raw nuts (pine nuts, almonds and pistachios), soaked in water for about 1 hour
- Desiccated coconut
- Fresh fruit slices, optional
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the rice is soft. It will take around an hour to complete this process.
- Pour the pudding into the bowls of your choice and set them aside to cool at room temperature (see Note).
- 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.
- Pour the hot orange jelly over the rice puddings using a ladle. Put bowls into the fridge to chill.
- 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.