This incredibly aromatic dessert borrows its spices from Southern India and mixes them with the humble rice for a spicy twist on the traditional rice pudding.

Ingredients (Serves 6)

For the rice pudding

  • White basmati rice, 100 g
  • Milk*, 350 ml
  • Coconut milk, 400 ml
  • Brown sugar, 60 g
  • Cardamom pods, 10-12

For the topping

  • Almonds, a handful
  • Raisin, 3 tbsp
  • Saffron, 20 stems
  • Unsalted butter*, 20 g
  • Brown sugar, 1 tbsp


  1. Place the rice, milk and coconut milk in a pot and start cooking at low heat. Use a thick pot, as the pudding will have to gently simmer for a while without sticking.
  2. While you wait for the milk to warm, break the cardamom pods, discard the husk and reduce the seeds to a fine powder. You can use ground cardamom instead, but freshly ground one is much more aromatic.
  3. When the liquid in the pot starts to simmer, add the sugar and ground cardamom. Keep cooking until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft. This will take around 30 minutes, so remember to stir often so the rice doesn’t stick.
  4. While the rice cooks, roughly chop the almonds.
  5. Soak the saffron stems in 2-3 tbsp of hot water. You can do this in a small cup.
  6. When the pudding is ready, scoop it in 6 serving bowls.
  7. In a pan, melt the butter and then add the chopped almonds, raisins and sugar. Cook for a couple of minutes until the sugar melts and the nuts start sticking. Immediately scoop over the individual portions of pudding.
  8. Place a few stems of saffron in each bowl together with their liquid for a striking sunshine effect.
  9. Serve hot in winter days, or chill for a refreshing summer treat.

*To make this vegan, just substitute milk and butter with a plant-based option.

Recipe by Ilaria Mezzogori from The Elephant's Secret Kitchen.