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Posted by on Jan 26, 2014 in Persian پارسی, Food, Recipes, Deserدسر / Dessert | 0 comments

Shir Berenj (Persian Rice Pudding)

Shir Berenj (Persian Rice Pudding)

riceShir-berenj is the Persian version of rice pudding, the pure pilgrim that every culture has participated in, thanks to widespread availability of rice. I have always found the rice fields of Gilan and Mazandaran (two northern provinces along the Caspian Sea) very pleasant to look at.

Milk, white rice, rosewater, and a bit of sugar are the key ingredients to Shir Berenj, and depending on your preference, optional flavoring can include: cardamom, cream , half and half or coconut milk. Rice pudding is enjoyed as a dessert in the West, but in Iran, we used to have it as a breakfast treat on Fridays, the only rest day of the week.

I am more fond of the subtle flavors of rosewater, with a hint of sweetness but, you can amp up the taste by topping yours with a combination of cinnamon, honey, grape molasses, jam and even sugar. My dad sprinkled plain sugar over our rice puddings, when I was a kid. And, as much as Westerners hate grinding their teeth on sugar, I came to like and prefer it when accompanied with cinnamon.

I am partial to Basmati rice but any other will do for this recipe. Brown rice is not recommended as the extra fiber imparts some bitterness and alters the overall texture.

Ingredients ( serves 4):

  • 1 cup white rice, rinsed & soaked in 2 cups of water overnight or for at least 2 hrs
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 6 Tbs sugar/honey
  • 1/3 cup rosewater
  • Cinnamon, honey, grape molasses or jam

    1.25 hr


  1. Drain rice.
  2. In a med. sized pot place rice and water on medium-low heat, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or ’til the water is absorbed.
  3. Gradually add milk. Stir frequently to avoid getting a crusty bottom.
  4. Once the milk is absorbed  (~40 min.) add the sugar and rose water. Cook on the lowest heat setting for another 15-20 minutes ’til it thickens. Stir more frequently.
  5. Remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning (sugar & rosewater), but remember that a sweet topping is added on later.
  6. Transfer into a serving platter and allow to cool.
  7. Refrigerate if preferred. Garnish with cinnamon or slivered almonds.

– It is traditionally served chilled, but there is really no good reason not to serve it warm.

Noosh-e Jan.

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