This recipe proves that a dish can be simultaneously exotic and familiar, enchanting and comforting.
1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
3/4 cup half-and-half
3 tablespoons rose syrup, divided
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups day-old, cooked Basmati rice*
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Pinch saffron threads, well crumbled
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Put all the ingredients, except for 1 tablespoon of the rose syrup, into a heavy saucepan set over medium-high heat. Stir and heat until the mixture is boiling nicely, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thick and creamy, about 20 minutes — the pudding will thicken further as it cools. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of rose syrup.
Pour into a serving dish (or dishes) and let the pudding cool. Serve warm or chilled, garnished with almonds, rose petals, and lemon zest.
Well covered, the pudding will keep for several days in the fridge.
*Freshly cooked rice won’t work properly but leftover take-out white rice will.