About the Recipe
Sutlach is a traditional Turkish dessert that originated in the opulent Ottoman kitchens – a sweet treat fit for a Sultan! This light, but nourishing rice pudding is still a firm favourite in Turkish homes today, enjoyed not only as a delicious dessert but also as a satisfying comfort food.
My favourite recipe is the one our Rhodesli ancestors adopted from their Turkish neighbours, made with ground rice flour, giving the dessert a gloriously creamy smooth texture. Fragrant with rose water and sprinkled with ground cinnamon, this easy to make pudding requires a little patience as it takes about 15 minutes of constant stirring over very low heat to thicken. There is a quicker alternative using corn flour, which I describe below.
I like to serve sutlach alongside fresh berries or warm poached fruit.
For the Sutlach: 4 heaped tbsp ground rice flour 1⁄2 cup water 4 cups (850ml/11⁄2pt) full-cream milk 3 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar, or to taste
1 tbsp rose water or vanilla extract
For the topping: ground cinnamon
You will need: 4 small shallow heatproof bowls or 6 ramekins
Blend the rice flour and water in a small bowl and stir until smooth.
Combine the milk and sugar in a large, deep heavy-based pan and set over a medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently using a balloon whisk. When the milk comes to a boil remove from the heat. Stir in the rice flour mixture to the milk. Return the pan to the heat stirring continuously for 2 minutes and then reduce to a medium heat. Continue stirring in the same direction for about 15 minutes or until the pudding thickens and heavily coats the back of a spoon. Be sure to stir constantly and scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as this prevents the pudding from forming lumps and catching to the bottom of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the rose water or vanilla extract.
Strain the pudding into a jug and pour immediately into individual serving bowls or ramekins. Seal each bowl with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming.
Serve at room temperature or chilled, sprinkled with ground cinnamon.
Twist on Tradition: ◊ You can use 3 tbsp corn flour (cornstarch) in place of the rice flour. This takes no more than about 5 minutes to cook.