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By Claudia Roden

Published 1986

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This most common of Middle Eastern desserts can be quite regal when properly made. It is a milk cream thickened by cornflour or ground rice (in the old days this was pulverized with pestle and mortar). I have used a mixture of both. If you like your pudding firmer increase the quantity of starch.


  • 2–3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 60 g (2 oz) ground rice


Mix the cornflour and ground rice to a smooth paste with a little of the cold milk. Bring the rest of the milk to the boil with sugar and add the paste gradually, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Simmer the mixture gently, stirring constantly but being careful not to scrape the bottom of the pan (the milk may burn slightly at the bottom and if it is scraped it will give a burnt taste to