We Gave Adlai an Indian Spin in this Bollywood Rice Pudding Recipe

April 16, 2020

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.

Adlao 01

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.

Adlao 02

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)

  • Pistachios
  • 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.)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. In a pot, add nutmeg, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
  3. Toast spices for 2 minutes to extract natural flavors and oils.
  4. Add cream, sugar, and milk. Bring to a boil.
  5. Strain the mixture. Return to pot and add adlai rice and bring to a simmer.
  6. In a bowl, add evaporated milk and egg yolks.
  7. Pour the egg yolk mixture onto the rice pudding.
  8. Transfer the mixture to a cake tin or a pyrex.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  10. Take out the baking tin and add the desired toppings except for rose syrup.
  11. Put back in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  12. Take out of the oven and drizzle rose syrup on top.
  13. Enjoy.


Patricia Baes SEE AUTHOR Patricia Baes

Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.

3 comments in this post SHOW

3 responses to “We Gave Adlai an Indian Spin in this Bollywood Rice Pudding Recipe”

  1. D says:

    Where can I buy adlai and is there a store that also sells local sorghum and quinoa (do we grow this in the PH?)?

    • Dolly Menghani says:

      Adlai can be purchased at the Eco store in the fort. And sorghum and quinoa is sold in heathy options! Best go to the branch in Glorieta cause it’s the most complete! Have fun!

    • A says:

      hi! yes, we grow adlai in the philippines. there is a vast plantation in zamboanga. but we also have farmers in Isabela.

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