To say Anita Jaisinghani, chef and owner of Pondicheri and mastermind behind new food blog India 1948, is a creative powerhouse and a culinary force to be reckoned with is an understatement. Her cooking is celebrated as edible touchstones of the complex and nuanced flavor profiles that define Indian cuisine. Whats more, her cooking puts a twist on conventional Indian recipes and techniques. You won’t find humdrum, formulaic dishes on her restaurant menus or website.
These twists are not for the sake of sensationalism or to make her cooking more palatable to Western appetites either. Rather, Chef Anita cooks up combinations of ingredients that strive to perfect a confluence of regional and cultural ingredients to “come together to provide a diverse & complex experience.” And come together they do!
Her ability to provide new takes on culinary classics is what motivated me to hit her up for suggestions for a Thanksgiving dessert recipe that plays up American seasonal flavors in a classic Indian dish. She shared her childhood favorite, rice pudding, but with persimmon puree.
Persimmon is a seasonal ingredient in many parts of the USA in Autumn. ” You can do this with your favorite fruit purees such as raspberry or blackberry puree,” she said. I opted to share her persimmon version. It just made sense as the perfect contender for a Thanksgiving dessert!
You’ll find her recipe below, which makes approximately three cups of pudding and takes about one hour to prep and cook. “You lose a lot of delicious flavors when you put persimmons directly to heat,” Chef Anita said. “We like to add it at the end, mix in a little bit and use the rest as a layer on top of the pudding. This will keep the texture of the rice thick and creamy. Other variations are to serve this with chopped pistachios on top.”
Persimmon Rice Pudding
Makes 3 cups
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup basamati rice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp cardamon
- 2 cups persimmon puree
- Rinse the basamati rice 3 times and then cover in cool water and soak for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a stock pot on low to medium heat, begin to reduce the milk. Stir frequently to prevent a layer from forming on top. Once it has reduced by half, add the drained rice and sugar. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes covered until most of the liquid is absorbed by the rice.
- Let the rice sit, covered for 10 to 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare your persimmon puree by simply peeling and removing the flesh from the fruit. This works best with the Hachiya type, which is squishy on the inside.
- Stir 1 cup of the persimmon puree into the rice. To serve, first put rice pudding into bowls then top with remaining persimmon puree so that you have a layered dessert.