This is one of the favorite desserts of Thrace (European part of Turkey) cuisine. A kind of milk free rice pudding. It has never been a popular food since it is not a very rich dessert, but I think for many people it will become the favorite dessert due to increasing allergies and changing diets. Because there are no eggs, no milk, no gluten (look for the “gluten free” instruction on the packages of the ingredients). The amount of sugar is always adjustable, which I think I use the minimum amount in the following recipe. If you don’t want to use it, you can use a colourless sweetener that won’t change the color of the recipe.
Because what comes to mind when saying zerde is this eye-catching color. Saffron gives this colour. Saffron is only known as a spice that gives color, but it is not. Saffron also has an aroma that cannot be compensated with any other spice.
There is something you need to be very careful about the cooking process. You may have experienced the same problem in some desserts in which starch is used. When you first mix the starch with liquid ingredients, it gives the mixture a bit of bitterness, a very unpleasant taste and a blurred color. Once cooked, the taste and turbidity disappear. The only thing that you can fail when cooking zerde is this disturbing taste and colour. So before removing zerde from heat just taste it.
Enjoy the recipe…
- 1/2 cup broken / small rice,
- 6 cups of water,
- 1 heaping tablespoon starch (corn or wheat does not matter),
- 4 tablespoons of sugar,
- 1 tablespoon rose water,
- 1 tablespoon of currants,
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts,
- Saffron with the tip of the teaspoon,
- Currants, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds for decorating.
- Cook 5 cups of water and rice in a pot until the rice is completely cooked,
- Melt the starch in 1 cup of water and add to the rice and mix quickly,
- Add sugar, rose water, pine nuts, currants and saffron.
- Cook, constantly stirring, in medium heat until set,
- remove from heat and share it to the serving cups,
- After it becomes to the room temperature decorate,
- Serve immediately and after cooling completely.