Rizógalo – Greek Rice Pudding



200 gm short grain rice

400 ml water

750 ml milk – I prefer to use full fat milk for this but semi-skimmed or skimmed will do.

150 gm sugar

A few drops of vanilla essence (optional)

1 desert spoon of cornflour mixed with a little cold milk (optional)

Ground cinnamon

Put the rice and water in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a steady simmer, stirring occaisionally. Leave it to cook gently until the rice has absorbed most of the water.

Add the milk  and mix with the softened rice. Raise the heat slightly to bring the mixture back to a steady simmer. Stir from time to time to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. It’s important to keep the heat high enough to cook but not so high that it burns.

When the mixture is getting quite thick and the rice is soft, add the sugar and stir well again until dissolved completely. Cook for another  5-7 minutes.

Add any flavouring, for example vanilla essence, at this point.

If you want to make sure that the pudding sets well, it is common to add a little diluted cornflour towards the end of the cooking. If you take this option, add it after the sugar and stir very well for the last 3 minutes of cooking.

While still warm divide the mixture between sundae dishes or small glasses and allow to cool. This quantity will serve 6 – 8 people, depending on the size of the dishes used.

Dust the puddings with plenty of  ground cinnamon and refrigerate.

Serve chilled.

To make different variations, try adding a few drops of rosewater or a pinch of ground masticha powder instead of vanilla essence. Then substitute the ground cinnamon topping for rose sugar and/or dried rose petals. With the masticha flavouring, a drizzle of masticha liqueur (or grappa) and some chopped pistachios work perfectly as a topping.