Cardamom Rice Pudding with Pistachios

I have this fantastic friend, Chenoa. We met about a year ago I would say, and I every time we hang out I always have a blast. Most of the time we watch the British show Skins – before the American version came out – the Brits do it better. Trust me. When we aren’t holed up in her house watching hours upon hours of that we shop or eat in the Mission where she lives. Sadly, because of our ridiculously busy schedules we haven’t been able to hang out in quite a while. Kristina was not a happy girl.

Then out of the blue on Friday my phone alerts me to a text message. Since my phone is essentially an extension of my left hand I slid it open and am greeted with this, “What are you doing this weekend, woman? I miss your face and your food blog keeps making me super hungry. We should cook together soon <3”

First of all, I was super excited that she was free over the weekend and then I got super excited ’cause SHE HAS BEEN READING MY BLOG.

SCORE!

I text her back and let her know that I am beyond down to hang out. I ask her what she wants to make. Her response? “Anything gluten free.”

I have heard that term before, but I was like what the hell does that mean? How do I cook without gluten? What is gluten in? Crap.

It is only now, as I write this that I am looking up the definition. I am a crazy girl who likes to fly by the seat of her pants and do keyword searches in Google for “gluten free recipes” rather than look it up. Can you handle that? Anyway, for those of you who just want it out in the open, gluten is “a protein that is found in cereal grains such as wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and kamut, but NOT in rice, quinoa, corn, buckwheat, or millet. It is a more common allergen than most people are aware of. The condition in which the body creates an immune response to products containing gluten is called Celiac disease.”

Ok. Sooooooo wasn’t totally positive what to make. I looked online for some recipe ideas and found an abundance of mouth watering dishes. I started with dessert first, ’cause I had already had dinner that night. Rice pudding seemed to keep cropping up in my Google searches which got me thinking about my options. Then I saw the combination of of Cardamom and pistachios. WOW. Pair it with some Basmati rice, and baby, you got yourself an Indian inspired dessert. I’ll take it.

I started with 5 cups of milk and put that in a pot and turned the heat to medium. I then took 1 1/4 cup of Basmati rice and washed it.

The water will get kinda milky, when it does that – drain it. Then drop in in the pot of milk.

Next measure out 6 pods of Cardamom. Like this.

(Ever classy lady wears pearls in the kitchen – even if they are fake and actually a necklace turned bracelet that she has had since childhood).

Let all that come to a boil. Mixing every once in a while. Chenoa and I had tons to catch up on so I didn’t totally pay attention to the milk and it boiled over. But only a little. Oops.

Dried boiled milk on the hot stove is the WORST once its dry. So you better believe I immediatly turned on the burner, put the pot on it and then wiped down the spilled milk area. Crisis Averted.

After it comes to a boil, or after you clean up the milk add 7 tablespoons of sugar.

Mix it. Mix it good.

Now take the shell and peel of of about 4 tablespoons of Pistachios. It will make a mess like this.

Add 2 of those tablespoons to the rice mixture. Stir it. Stir it good. Save the other 2 tablespoons for garnish and that pop o’ color on top.

Give your puddin’ one more good stir, take out the cardamom pods, put it in a bowl and stick it in the fridge to cool off.

Make dinner. Eat dinner. By the time you are ready for dessert it will be nice and cool. Or make it the night before. Or the day before. It’s not imperative that our rice pudding schedules match up.

Scoop some into an adorable glass bowl (or your hand) and sprinkle some nuts on top.

The longest part out of this recipe was the pistachio process. And waiting for it to cool. In all honest though, this recipe was so easy and quick. And it tasted incredible. The rice was not too sweet and dessert like because the cardamom had so thoroughly infused the rice with its fresh and deep flavor. It gave me a full feeling without making me feel sluggish.

I guess gluten free isn’t all that bad, eh? Chenoa and I had 2 helpings so it must be good.

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