Squash Rice Pudding


My inspiration for this recipe came partly from a traditional Iranian dessert called “Shole-Zard” (saffron rice pudding), and partly from the need to use up some squash puree sitting in my fridge 🙂 I’ve made this pudding several times now and love it! I have used both white Basmati rice and white sushi rice and I think I prefer the sushi rice version which turns out creamier. I’ve used homemade red kabocha squash puree each time (I’m really fond of this squash!), but I am pretty sure pumpkin puree is going to be just as good.



1 Cup White Rice
5 Cups Water
3/4 – 1 Cup Maple Syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Tsp. Saffron + 1 Tbsp. Hot Water
1-1/2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Tsp. Ground Cardamom
1 Cup homemade Red Kabocha Squash or Pumpkin Puree
2 Tbsp. Ghee or Coconut Oil (for vegan option)
1/4 Cup Rosewater



1. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and soak it for 2 hours or more (preferably over night).

2. Before starting to cook the pudding, add the saffron with 1 Tbsp. of hot water and set aside.

3. Rinse the soaked rice and add to a large heavy-bottom pot with the water and salt. Bring to a boil and skim the white foam from top.

4. Cover and gently simmer over medium heat for about 30 minutes  or until the rice is very soft.

5. Add the maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamon, saffron water, ghee and/or coconut oil, cover and cook over low heat for another 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens.

6. Add the rose water and pumpkin puree and stir until completely mixed and smooth. Cook over low heat uncovered for another 30 minutes, stirring frequently otherwise the pudding will stick to the bottom of the pot!

7. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours (again preferably over night). If you like the pudding to have a finer consistency (we both like it to have some texture to it!), you can blend it briefly before chilling.

8. Garnish with cinnamon, almond slivers or pumpkin seeds and serve. Enjoy! 🙂

Serves  8-12 (depending on portion size!)

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