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Zarda (Indian Rice Pudding)

2 1/3 cups raw long grained rice
pinch salt
1/4 tsp powdered saffron
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter
2 whole cardamom seeds, shelled
5 whole cloves
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup light or dark raisins
1/4 cup unroasted pistachios
1/4 cup blanched almonds, sliced and roasted
1/4 cup unsalted cashews, Brazil nuts or filberts, sliced and toasted
1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Cook the rice in six cups of boiling water with the salt and saffron
until half done, about ten minutes. Use enough saffron to give a
rich yellow color. Drain. Boil the sugar with 3 3/4 cup water for
one minute, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. In the bottom
of a heavy four quart Dutch oven or other large kettle, heat the
butter. Add the cardamom and cloves and cook over low heat ten
minutes. Add all but one half cup of the syrup and boil a minute
or so. Add the rice to the mixture and cook, stirring gently until
the butter is absorbed or about ten minutes. Add the lemon juice,
raisins and nuts and cook over fairly high heat five minutes. Reduce
heat to barely simmering and cook over low heat until the rice is
tender. If the rice is not quite tender when the liquid has been
absorbed, add the reserved liquid and continue to cook until rice
is dry and soft. Remove from heat and let stand, covered for ten
minutes. Serve warm with whipped cream.


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