Vanilla Bean and Gurer Payesh (Rice Pudding)

  • 4 cups whole organic milk
  • 1/3 cup short grain rice
  • 1/3 cup gur (or other sweetener such as rapadura, sucanat, etc.)
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 vanilla bean pod
  • optional shelled and chopped pistachios

Wash the rice and set aside. Slice open the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Combine the milk, vanilla seeds, vanilla pod, cardamom and bay leaves in a heavy bottom saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring all the time, until milk has reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the washed rice to the pot. Cook the rice, about 25 minutes, and keep stirring. Don't stop stirring or the milk will burn! Once the payesh has thickened, remove the vanilla, cardamom and bay leaves. Stir in the gur and cook about 5 minutes more, until fully incorporated. Cool slightly and serve while still warm. Alternatively, cover and place in the fridge for a few hours for a thicker, chilled payesh. Top with optional pistachios.