I’m going to be honest with you. I thought I hated rice pudding. In fact, other than any form of chocolate pudding I was certain I hated all puddings. Spotted dick? Ha! Tapioca? Makes me want to throw up in my mouth.
And then I met sutlaç.**
|It was love at first bite.|
It was a traditional love story: girl sees dessert across a crowded restaurant. Sutlaç looks so scrumptious that day in its little square tin pan. All caution (or thought of calories or sugar intake) is thrown to the wind, and the rest, as they say, was history.
But after a certain point, I wanted to take our relationship to the next level. I wanted to bring it home. But sutlaç played hard to get: it didn’t heat at the right temperature, it stayed watery and wouldn’t set. 6 forlorn ceramic bowls sat in my fridge, practically inedible. I even had to throw some away. It felt like a betrayal.
Others had promised it would be so easy, that sutlaç only needed a few ingredients and we’d be able to make it work. Well, I’m happy to say that after a bit of counseling (online, admittedly), sutlaç and I have rekindled our romance and are happier than ever.
Here’s a simple recipe to bring sutlaç into your home, too!*
Ingredients (for 2):
2 oz short grain rice
4 oz sugar
1 cup milk
5 oz water
cinnamon (to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
-Make the rice:
Soak it for 30 minutes.
Put rice in a pot and add the water (a little more than 2:1 ratio for whatever quantity you’re making).
Cook, uncovered, until almost all the water is absorbed.
-Stir in the milk and let it simmer gently until the mixture thickens.
Tip: the hardest part of this dish is getting the consistency right–keep an eye on it, and stir once in awhile.
–When it has thickened, add the sugar and salt.
–Cook on low for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will depend on your quantity as much as your stove. (For example, if your low setting is making the mixture boil the whole time, you’re going to need to stir it or perhaps move it to a smaller burner.)
-It’s done when it can’t be poured easily but isn’t yet solid.
-Pour into small bowls and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste.
Let the sutlaç cool before placing it in the fridge to chill.
Optional: The baked version of this dish is actually much more common in restaurants. (I’ve only ever eaten the non-baked version at home.) The recipe above should work to make baked sutlaç, although I am not sure yet as we have no oven here. When I get back to the States, I’ll look into this more and let you all know! Or, give it a shot yourself. In theory, you should just be able to broil the sutlaç for a few minutes until the top is a nice golden brown.
*This recipe was modified from here and from Mehmet’s madre. Teşekkür ederim!
**It’s pronounced like SOOTlatch. Like, a suit you wear, and a latch you use to close stuff. 🙂