Monday, December 22, 2008

Lebanese Festive Rice Pudding - MI-GH-LEH

In the beginning Mighleh was prepared on Christmas Eve to celebrate the Birth of Baby Jesus.
Tradition carried on to every house with a new born baby, you can smell the cooked rice pudding filling the air.

1 cup of pounded rice (Rice Powder)
8-9 cups of water (some rice requires 9 cups)
11/2 -13/4 cups of sugar (depends on your taste)
1 tbsp of Caraway seeds
1 tbsp of anise seeds
1 tbsp of Cinnamon


Using a fine strainer, rinse the whole spices specially the anise seeds, which contains sand, let them dry on a paper towel, then ground them in an electric spice machine.

In a thick bottom pot add 4 cups of water and the rice, if you are using store bought ground spices, add the spices to the other half of the water in a bowl, and stir by hand, then wait couple of minutes you will notice that the spices will float to the surface. Carefully and making sure not to stir the bottom drain the water and the spices, over the pot with the rest of the water. You will see that there is sand resting in the bottom of the bowl.

Using a wooden spoon stir the mixture in the pot and cook on a medium high heat until it starts bubling and boiling, lower the heat, and keep stirring as it will stick to the bottom of the pot, add the sugar and keep stirring, if the rice thickened before it cooked completely add ½ cup of water, be careful to lower the heat as the pudding will stick to the bottom of the pot. It will take around 45-50 minutes for he pudding to cook. Check the texture by putting a spoon of the mixture in a plate and leave it to cool if the mixture is still runny and not thick keep boiling, when it start to thicken it will bubble outside the pot lower the heat Taste for doneness and for sweetness. Serve in bowls or in a big platter. Leave till cool completely before you decorate the top with unsweetened coconuts, silvered almond, walnuts, pistachios and pine nuts.

Note: soak the nuts in hot water for 15 minutes to be able to peel the skin easily.

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