Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Indian Rice Pudding Goes Egyptian

I live in a tourist town. Every day busloads of tourists arrive in our town Plaza (the largest in California) and swarm over the restaurants, tasting rooms and shops. Last year a new shop opened with the intriguing name of Bram.  While we waited for the doors to open everyone was wondering, "what's a bram???" I googled the term and came up with an Egyptian clay pot. Clay pot?! Clay pot! A clay pot store was coming to Sonoma! It seemed incredibly ironic that Sonoma is also the home of Paula Wolfert, whos' new book is about Clay Pot Cooking. How weird was that?? I'd been researching  Indian Dum style cooking which traditionally is done in clay. Hell, everybodys' cuisine started off with clay and thanks to the slow food movement it was time to come home to clay again. For 3 months I was like a kid with my nose pressed to the brown paper covered windows. I couldn't wait for the doors to open.
  When they finally did open (conveniently right before my birthday) it was exciting. Anyone who loves to cook gets totally turned on by a vast expanse of cookware. Make that beautiful cookware. I was in heaven.

Almost every clay pot I'd ever read about from any part of the planet was on the shelves. I went nuts!!
 Ash,  is one of the owners and he can tell you all about clay pot cooking.

When I was in the store the other day he gave me a suggestion to try with my Indian Rice Pudding recipe.
Ash suggested that I try something that is done in Egypt, and that is to add milk again toward the end of the cooking process, leave the pot in for a additional 5 minutes then remove it when the pudding is still rather liquid. He said to put the pudding in ramekins. It would still be firm but the center wiggly. He told me to cover them and refrigerate them. I did, and the chilled pudding done this way had a smoother more custardy texture. I think it depends on how custardy one wants the pudding to be as to how much milk one adds. I used 1 cup less than the recipe calls for and then added that cup at the end. When I try it this way again, I may add even more. If you decide to make this pudding, check out this different way. I usually serve my rice pudding warm from the oven or at room temperature. This way it's served chilled. Either way it tastes great!

So there you have Ash's Egyptian twist on my Indian rice pudding. If you're in Sonoma, drop by and explore Bram Cookware, they have a great website where one can order online too. He also carries Paula Wolferts' book because after all, if you're going to cook in clay you can't have a better teacher.


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