Snow White Pudding

When I was sick in bed as a little girl, my mother gave me rose-flavored hot milk porridge, a ‘grandma’s remedy’ for the stomach. She convinced me to eat it by saying it was hot ice cream. Composed of rice, milk, sugar and fragrance, this concoction, presented to him in a golden bowl by a shepherdess, purportedly elevated Buddha to enlightenment after his lengthy hiatus from the world. 

This manna, when chilled, becomes a luscious snow white pudding, a favorite dessert all over the Middle East. It is known by many different names: 'firini' in Iran and Afghanistan,' khir' in India and Nepal and 'muhallebi' in Turkey and the rest of the Arab world.

The basic traditional recipe: You wash rice and dry it. Put it in the blender with blanched almonds. Place the mixture in a pot and cook it with sugar and milk for about 30 minutes. Mix in rose water and serve. The newer simpler version uses cornstarch instead of ground rice. 

The most unusual one I ever had was at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. There were long thin fibers in it which created a strange wonderful feeling in my mouth. I was told it was chicken breast! Was this the cure-all dessert of the sultans in the Topkapi Palace?

Persians have been eating it since the days of the Achaemened Empire (5th c. B.C.) Later in the 7th century they processed sugar, producing white crystals from the cane. They made sugar imperishable and exported it to Europe, where honey had been the principal sweetener.

Snow White Pudding is best dressed with sour fruit sauce, fruit and nuts.

「千夜一夜のおもてなし ~ ダリアのペルシャ料理」4回目の出版記念パーティーにて、神戸ポートピアホテルの料理長にペルシャ料理を初めて作っていただきました!2013年の11月13日












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