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Vegan Rice Pudding Made with Almond Milk and Rose Water
For Armenian Lent, or Anytime!
The period of lent marks forty days of preparation before Easter. It's a time to get back to the basics, to reflect on life and it's a time to renew your faith. For Armenian Orthodox Christians, this period begins the Monday prior to Ash Wednesday, with our fat Tuesday actually falling on a Sunday. That Sunday is called "Poon Paregentan" or the day of good living - a day of feasting in preparation for the lenten period of discipline. The Monday following this day of feasting, we begin our lenten journey with the dietary prescription given to us by our forefathers, to abstain for any and all animal products or to go vegan. We have our traditional recipes involving legumes and veggies, but I like converting my favorites to plant-based lenten recipes. So here is my recipe for Rice Pudding made with Almond Milk and flavored with Rose Water.
1 cup Cal Rose (short grain) rice
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup agave syrup (you can also use sugar if that's what you have on hand)
1-2 TBSP Rose Water (you can purchase this at middle eastern markets)
5 cups almond milk
Add 1 cup of rice in a heavy pan and 2 cups of water. Heat until it comes to a boil and the rice swells. when all the water has absorbed, the rice will still be a little undercooked. At this point, add the almond milk and heat on a low flame stirring every 5-10 minutes to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom. Basically, you're just tryin to "open" the rice up. Once the mixture starts to simmer, you'll have to watch it carefully so it doesn't boil over. The mixture will start to thicken in about 20-30 minutes. At this point, add the agave syrup to taste. Note: I noticed that the 60 calorie per cup almond milk is sweeter than the 35 calorie...so sweeten to your taste using less or more syrup (or none at all ) as desired. Turn off the flame. Stir and add a splash of rose water.
Rose water is used in many Armenian/Middle Eastern desserts as a flavoring. If you're not used to this, you can substitute for orange blossom water (also at the middle eastern market) or just plain ol' vanilla flavoring. Stir.
Pour into a dish and decorate (optional) with almonds and cinnamon. Serve warm or cool.
I'd love to hear how you liked it, please drop me a comment and let me know.
In case you don't have a Middle Eastern Market near you
Orange blossom water is also a flavoring. We like to add a little of this in our iced tea!
If you're interested in learning more traditional Armenian lenten/vegan recipes, this is a great book.