There is a reason why rice puddings are so popular world-wide.
Contrary to the Spanish rice pudding which uses whole short-grain rice, this recipe uses ground rice.
Any rice will do.But lets deal with a small technicality in nomenclature first: technically, this pudding should not be called mohalabi (محلبي), it should be called roz bil laban (رز باللبن). The reason is that a traditional mohalabi uses cornstarch instead of rice. And a traditional roz bil laban uses whole grain rice, much lake the Spanish arroz leche rice pudding (which by the way is a direct influence of the Arab Muslims on Spanish culture when they occupied Spain).
I grew up with my mother making this and naming it mohalabi, so to me, Mohalabi it is.
The three ingredients are simple rice, sugar, and milk.
That is enough to satisfy a craving, but if you want to sophisticate the pudding, you have a choice of cardamom, saffron, rosewater… Get creative.
Traditionally we ate this cold, but I always loved it hot. Both ways are great.
Decorate as you like, using a host of nuts or just simply with coconut, as I did.
1 litre milk
3/4 cup powdered rice
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cardamom
Over medium to medium-low heat, whisk together the milk, ground rice, and sugar.
Continue to whisk, changing to a wooden spoon when it begins to thicken, every two to three minutes for 25 to 30 minutes.
Continuous stirring is essential to avoid scorching the milk, and so that the rice will not settle at the bottom of the pot and burn.
If bubbling too much, reduce the heat.
By the end of 25 minutes the mixture should have thickened significantly enough to leave a train when you draw the wooden spoon across the base.
Stir in the cardamom well, then immediately pour into chosen serving dish.
Decorate the surface as desired (nuts, dried fruits…), and refrigerate until firm.