Journey to the Orient: saffron and orange blossom rice pudding

This recipe was inspired by a former Afghan neighbor. This old lady did not speak much French, but always gratified me with a huge smile when she crossed me in the elevator. One day she rang my door and handed me a container covered with foil. Without understanding, I carried it in my kitchen, removed the foil. First, the subtle scent of orange blossom hit my nostrils, then I discovered a beautiful ceramic bowl decorated with arabesques, filled with a golden preparation, topped with almonds and pistachios. It was the first time I ate a rice pudding, it was as delicious as beautiful.I had forgotten this episode until I wrote the Sri-Lankan rice pudding recipe. The soft texture of this recipe reminded me the gift of my former neighbor. I did my best to replicate her recipe over ten years later, using my memories and my imagination.

The result is made with semi-brown basmati rice, for its distinctive aroma, a mixture of oat milk and almond milk, saffron and cinnamon, all complemented with dates, almonds and pistachios and flavored water orange blossom. People intolerant to gluten can replace the oat milk by another vegetable milk with neutral taste. You’re ready for a breakfast that will invite you to travel!

Serves 2

  • 500 ml cooked rice
  • 125 ml almond milk
  • 125 ml oat milk (or other)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch saffron threads, ground
  • 20 pistachios, shelled, unroasted, unsalted
  • 14 almonds, unroasted and unsalted
  • 5 dates
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water or 10 drops of orange blossom essential oil (neroli)


  1. In a saucepan, pour the cooked rice, vegetable milks, cinnamon, saffron and ground pistils 1 date cut into small piece. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the pistachios and almonds. Keep in some for decoration.
  3. Simmer over medium-low heat until milk is completely absorbed (about 20 minutes). Stir frequently.
  4. When cooked, add orange blossom water or essential oil. Mix.
  5. Pour into bowls. Smooth the surface and decorate with pistachios, almonds and dates.
  6. Serve immediately.



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