Srila Prabhupada taught us that a feast is not a true feast without sweet rice. So the head cooks of our centers often stay up late Saturday night preparing sweet rice for the Sunday feast. Although there are many different ways to prepare sweet rice, this recipe is the traditional one, and a great favorite.
Preparation and cooking time: 1 hr 15 min
Chilling time: 2 hrs
- 1/3 cup (50 g) short or medium-grained white rice
- 10 cups (2.4 L) whole milk
- ½ tsp ground cardamom seeds
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cup (100 g) sugar
- 2 tbs sliced almonds, lightly toasted (optional)
1Wash the rice and set it aside to drain. In a tall pot that can hold at least twice the volume of the milk, bring the milk to a boil; then adjust the heat so the milk is always rising and frothing, but not bubbling over. To minimize the cooking time, let the milk boil vigorously, uncovered, for the first 15 minutes, while you stir it rhythmically with a wooden spatula to prevent the thick milk on the bottom of the pot from scorching.
2Drop the rice into the milk along with the bay leaves. Continue stirring. Keep over medium- high heat and stir very carefully for another 20 minutes until the rice breaks up and rolls with the milk. By now the milk should be reduced to two thirds of its original volume. Stir in the sugar, almonds, and ground cardamom seeds. Cook for 5 more minutes and remove from the heat. Sweet rice should be only slightly thick when removed from the heat, because it will thicken when refrigerated. Chill well before serving – the colder the sweet rice, the better it tastes.
3For other classic flavors, replace the ground cardamom seeds with a teaspoon of rose-water and a few pinches of saffron powder, or season with bay leaves only, and add a tiny pinch of natural camphor at the end of cooking.