Saffron Rice Pudding.jpg

Turning leftover rice from a savory curry into a sweet, after-dinner treat is nothing short of kitchen magic.

Kitchen magic is just what James Beard Award-winner Sara Dickerman teaches us in her new book Secrets of Great Second Meals. Learn to cook smarter, save time and money, AND enjoy great meals crafted from leftovers in this practical and creative cookbook full of recipes for “second meals.” Second meals aren’t just reheating last night’s dinner. For Sara, there’s excitement in introducing new flavors and textures at the next meal—that eureka moment of fitting ingredients you have into a delicious new framework. In Secrets of Great Second Meals, she inspires use to create fresh, delicious meals using what’s in those containers in the refrigerator. See? Magic.


Rice pudding can be as simple as a milky risotto, and it’s a beautiful way to redirect the extra rice from a recent curry dinner. Gentle stovetop cooking makes for a creamy texture, which gets offset by the crunch of good pistachios and the tangy pop of pomegranate seeds.

Extra ingredient: cooked rice

Time: 30 minutes (30 minutes active)

Makes 4 servings


  • 1/4 teaspoon (a small pinch) saffron threads
  • 11/2 cups cooked rice, preferably basmati
  • 3 tablespoons uncooked sweet rice (mochi gome)
  • 21/2 cups milk, plus more to serve
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, to serve
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios, to serve


1. In a small dry skillet, heat the saffron. Don’t go anywhere! You want to toast the saffron until it is dry and a shade darker than when it started and then pull it off the heat (a matter of 30 seconds to 1 minute). Dump the toasted saffron onto a small plate and crush it into a powder with the back of a spoon.

2. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, whisk the saffron, cooked rice, uncooked sweet rice, milk, and cardamom. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, breaking up any lumps of rice with the whisk. Reduce the heat to a very low simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, until thickened and smooth, stirring occasionally. Stir in the sugar and the cream and remove from the heat.

3. Serve warm like a sweet risotto or chill, stirring in a bit more milk to soften the texture if desired (the pudding will stiffen a bit when it is chilled). Top with the pomegranate seeds and pistachios.


Change the grain. You can make this with cooked brown rice, barley, or farro, but the coloring will not be as bright and white.

Change the flavor. Try a cinnamon stick and the zest of an orange in place of the saffron, or substitute 1 teaspoon of matcha powder for the saffron.

Change the topping. If you make the cinnamon version, you might want to go with classic raisins on your rice pudding. If you choose matcha, top the green pudding with just the pistachios.



Learn more about Secrets of Great Second Meals here:

One Response to “Saffron Rice Pudding from SECRETS OF GREAT SECOND MEALS”
  1. Charlene Taibi says:


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