We Gave Adlai an Indian Spin in this Bollywood Rice Pudding RecipeJuly 5, 2015
Much has been said about adlai, also known as Job’s Tears, in the recent months. A staple crop in the highlands, the grain has long been used as a folk remedy in different parts of the country, and is lauded for being more nutritious and satiating than rice. Traditionally prepared as a porridge or fermented into wine, adlai’s mildly nutty flavor and toothsome quality give it a distinct character with the potential to be utilized in many ways. Today, more and more local chefs are paying tribute to the once-humble grain by taking a more contemporary approach: served with pig’s blood and offal in Bruce Ricketts’ Dirty Rice; and with pigeon, uni, and Guyana chestnuts in an eponymously-named course from Gallery Vask’s Tanaw menu.
While mostly used in savory applications, we aimed to showcase the versatility of the grain by incorporating it into a dessert. Nothing evokes comfort quite like rice pudding, and Dolly Menghani pays tribute to her roots by giving this an Indian spin. The pudding is flavored with a heady combination of spices that perfume the kitchen as the mixture bubbles and thickens away. As a quirky twist, the dish is given a gratin-like treatment, topped with a mix of almonds, pistachios, white chocolate, and parmesan, and then broiled to form a beautiful crust.
The cheese adds an element of interest—a savory springboard that can be difficult to recognize, yet enhances the sweetness ever-so-subtly and adds a faint umami note for depth. The adlai retains a hearty al dente bite which stands out amidst the creaminess, and the contrast is heightened by the crunch of the nuts. Finally, rose syrup is passed around upon serving; you can do the honors of pouring it over your share and watching it eagerly seep through, literally painting everything it touches a vibrant shade of pink. With the mingling of tastes and textures, this is a fragrant and complex take on a nostalgic treat—one that’ll transport you to the streets of Mumbai as you curl up on the couch, bowl in one hand and spoon in another.
Bollywood Adlai Pudding
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
- 1 1/2 cups adlai
- 2 cups cream
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 pcs cloves
- 3 pcs cardamom
- 1/4 cup sugar
- zest of 1 lime
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
- 3 egg yolks
Ingredients: Topping (Optional)
- Toasted almonds
- White chocolate, grated
- Parmesan, grated
- Rose syrup (The rose syrup from Green Dot Catering works best for this recipe. You may get in touch with them at +639209056535 for orders.)
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- In a pot, add nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
- Toast spices for 2 minutes to extract natural flavors and oils.
- Add cream, sugar, and milk. Bring to a boil.
- Strain the mixture. Return to pot and add adlai rice and bring to a simmer.
- In a bowl, add evaporated milk and egg yolks.
- Pour the egg yolk mixture onto the rice pudding.
- Transfer the mixture to a cake tin or a pyrex.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Take out the baking tin and add the desired toppings except for rose syrup.
- Put back in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and drizzle rose syrup on top.