Cardamom-scented Rice Cream with Saffron Drizzle (Firni)

Serves 6


5 cups cold water
¼ cup raw basmati rice
4 cups half-and-half
¾ cups sugar
6 whole cardamom pods, seeds removed and ground (or 13 teaspoon ground cardamom)
½ teaspoon saffron threads
2 tablespoons heavy cream


Combine the water and rice in a large bowl, and let the rice soak overnight. The next day, transfer ¼ cup of the rice water to a blender. Drain the remaining water from the rice, and place the rice in the blender. Grind the rice as finely as possible, scraping down the sides of the blender jar as necessary.

Bring the half-and-half to a simmer in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add 1 cup of the half-and-half to the blender, and pulse to release some steam; then, blend for 10 seconds to combine. Transfer the contents of the blender to the saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low, and stir constantly until the rice cream is as thick as a thin pudding and a trail can be made through the cream on the back of a spoon, 16 to 18 minutes (if the mixture foams up in the saucepan, remove the saucepan from the heat for a few seconds, reduce the heat, and continue to cook). Remove the saucepan from the heat, and stir in the sugar and cardamom. Divide between 6 small glasses or ramekins, and cool to room temperature. Cover each glass or dish with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface, and chill at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

Place the saffron in a small skillet, and toast over low heat until the saffron threads are fragrant and darker in color, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl or to a mortar to cool, and then grind with the back of a teaspoon or with a pestle until powder-fine. Add the heavy cream. Drizzle some saffron sauce over each serving, and serve immediately or chill up to 4 hours.

© Recipe Property of Suvir Saran