Everybody loves horchata! Not everybody loves chia pudding, though — not YET, anyways, but they will. Chia seeds are like the thing these days. You can easily do a cheater’s version of this recipe with boxed horchata in a pinch.
This takes time! 8 hrs. for horchata, 8 hrs. for pudding. (It’s a whole bunch of passive action, hanging around waiting for water to be absorbed.) So if you want pudding in your evening meal, start the horchata soaking the night before, finish it up the next morning, and set the pudding in the fridge for the day. You might not know what’s for dinner, but you will definitely know what’s for dessert.
I love rice pudding, and I also love Indian rice pudding, known (among other names) as kheer. Here, kheer with carrots. This week I picked up Mariquita Farm’s Mystery Box — a setup kind of like participating in a CSA without a subscription — and was pleased to discover, amidst the dark leafy greens and turnips, carrots by the bunches. Stubby orange carrots, white carrots, and purple carrots. Purple carrots! Their core is orange, cloaked in eggplant-purple skin, with orange flesh peeking out in spots like a knee through ripped jeans. I used all my purple carrots and my white carrots (ghost carrots) for this kheer, which stained the milk rather drably (drably? There, I said it), though your regular orange variety will impart a cheery golden hue. And I’m wondering — what to do with carrot tops? Carrot top soup? This time around, I’m afraid, they are simply compost.
Along with Welsh rarebit and split-pea soup, here is a variant on rice pudding — carrot kheer — a member of the vast pantheon of comforting foods.
2 cups peeled, grated carrot
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 – 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
Some sugar, if you think it’s needed
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
While preparing your carrots, toast your pistachios on the stove until fragrantly nutty. Bring the milk to a boil, minding it so it doesn’t scald. Add the carrots, reduce the heat, and stir until carrots are cooked, but slightly toothy. Add the condensed milk and cardamom and cook down about 15-20 minutes until the consistency is thickened to your liking. If you prefer your pistachios soft, add them with the cardamom; if you like them crunchy, garnish at the end. Add sugar if you feel it’s needed.
Its flavor is slightly vegetal with a very tender texture. Eat this hot or cold or when you are feeling blue.
About 4 servings