Last year, I was introduced to saffron rice pudding and yellow rice pudding. The puddings, which are Middle Eastern in origin, reminded me of kheer and, separately, Egyptian baked rice. They were, above all, delicious. When I learned about the steps taken to make the pudding, it seemed a little more labor intensive than I had imagined (i.e., stirring the rice over a hot stove for several hours).
After some experimentation, and because of a lack of a pressure cooker, I finally figured out a less time consuming way to make the saffron rice pudding. The inspiration came together as I was straining my home-made rice milk mixture (this recipe is an approximation of my approach). I have been making my own rice milk for about a year now and always try to use the left-over non-milk portion in creative ways. Thus far, I have used the remains as porridge, in baking products and as broken rice. This most recent time, I had left the rice to soak (1 part brown rice to 2+ parts water) in the fridge for waaay longer than overnight and noticed that the remains were quite soft.
I had also, coincidentally, prepared Egyptian baked rice with coconut milk around then and so the pudding was not far from my mind. I decided to take the rice milk remains and continuously added warm to hot water, brown sugar, saffron (ground and suspended in water), rose water and a tiny bit of oil and salt. In about an hour, I had a product that was quite close to the delicious rice puddings my friends had made in the past.
[The pudding was eaten before I remembered to take final pictures. However, below are a couple of pictures taken during the process. The first is the mortar and pestle used to crush the saffron (courtesy of a friend) and the second was the initial stirring of the rice remains with water, waiting for the other add-ins.]
While this may be the case, I think I ate Haifa, Akko, Naharriya, Galilee, Tel Aviv...om nom nom! The food was delicious! In Akko, I was treated with coffee (which may be akin to us Malawians offering a respected guest with a hen or rooster...or maybe first dibs on the food ;-D).
My recommendations on places to go in Haifa:
Now, if you are ever headed to Akko, stop by the Old City and visit Uncle Yusuf's Campagna Corner. Uncle Yusuf is a fascinating gentleman. He speaks over five languages, even known to shout at tourists in their presumed language, welcoming them to his corner. Uncle Yusuf has lived around the world and humbly began his business with a single pomegranate juice cart. The food he offers at his corner is absolutely delicious, and if you tell him you know me (the smiling girl from Malawi), maybe you will be treated to some coffee.
Lastly, if you ever find yourself en route to Nazareth in the middle of the night, like I did with a friend, there is a small, lovely town called Kafr Manda. Two circles in to the town, there is a restaurant adjacent to a 24 hour grocery store that serves delicious food.
To check out photos of food I enjoyed whilst in Israel, including bites from the above, click this link!
Besides enjoying 'good eats', my sister and I attempt to recreate dishes we have enjoyed elsewhere. Friends sometimes join us in the trial and error. Some attempts are more successful than others.