Coconut Milk Sutlach (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Coconut Milk Sutlach (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Turkish milk pudding with rice flour right out of a fairy tale

The Jewish calendar is packed with holidays large and small, and one way to celebrate them (or any other special occasion) is by making sutlach, a smooth rice flour and milk Turkish pudding.

Sutlach or sütlaç (sutlag in Ladino) is such a part of Turkish Jewish culture and celebrations, it even appears in a Sephardic fairy tale about a maiden in disguise. She reveals her true identity by hiding a ring in a bowl of sutlach she makes for a prince.

The pudding is gluten and egg free, and when made with coconut milk, it’s also parve. The recipe for dairy sutlach is adapted from Gil Marks’ “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.”

I suggest some garnishes for each variation, but others to try include rose or fruit-flavored syrups or jams, slivered almonds, honey, chopped dried dates or apricots, and fresh berries.


Coconut Milk Sutlach

Serves 6

3 cans (13.5 oz.) coconut milk (not low-fat)
2/3 cup white rice flour or regular, unflavored cream-of-rice cereal (not instant)
7 Tbs. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
2 Tbs. orange blossom or orange flower water, optional
6 Tbs. toasted coconut chips
6 tsp. shelled pistachios
6 Tbs. pomegranate seeds

Shake coconut milk cans very thoroughly. Remove lids. Pour liquid into large pitcher or jar. Scrape in any solids that remain in the cans. Stir or whisk well until the mixture is somewhat smooth (if necessary, place pitcher in bowl of hot tap water). Break up any large chunks and mash them into the mixture. It is OK if the milk is still a bit lumpy.

Combine rice flour, sugar and salt in a large saucepan. Slowly add 1 cup milk while stirring until relatively smooth paste forms. Slowly stir in remaining milk. Place pan over medium heat. Stir constantly for about 9-10 minutes until mixture is bubbling and has begun to thicken. Reduce heat to low, stir in cardamom, and cook, stirring often, until bubbling, thickened and there is no raw taste, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in orange blossom water. Pour into serving dishes. Serve immediately with garnishes or wrap in plastic and refrigerate. (Press wrap against the top of the pudding.) Serve chilled or at room temperature. Garnish before serving. Top each pudding with the coconut chips, pistachios and pomegranate seeds.


Ccook-kramer-dairy
Dairy Sutlach (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Dairy Sutlach

Serves 8

¾ cup white rice flour or regular, unflavored cream-of-rice cereal (not instant)
½ cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
5½ cups whole milk, divided
½ tsp. plus 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup chopped nuts
½ cup raisins

Combine rice flour, sugar and salt in a large saucepan. Slowly add 1 cup milk while stirring until smooth paste forms. Slowly stir in remaining milk. Place pan over medium heat and stir constantly for about 10 minutes until mixture is bubbling and has begun to thicken. Reduce heat to low, stir in ½ tsp. cinnamon, and cook, stirring often, until bubbling, thickened and there is no raw taste, about 5 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Pour into serving dishes. Serve immediately with garnishes or wrap in plastic and store in refrigerator. (Press wrap against the top of the pudding.) Serve chilled or at room temperature. Garnish before serving. Sprinkle puddings with remaining cinnamon and top each with the nuts and raisins.

Rosewater variation: Substitute ¼ tsp. ground cardamom for the ½ tsp. cinnamon and 2 Tbs. of rosewater for the vanilla. Skip cinnamon garnish and top with pomegranate seeds, pistachios and toasted coconut chips.

Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at clickblogappetit.com. Contact Faith at clickblogappetit@gmail.com.