Rice Pudding with Gum Mastic (Damla Sakızlı Sütlaç)
When it comes to Turkish milky desserts, a considerable number of people in Turkey prefer mastic gum flavor. In Turkey mastic gum is used in milky desserts, ice cream (it's the best), and, naturally, chewing gum. Originally liquid, mastic gum is sold as hard small transculent lumps and melted in hot milk while making dessert. It can also be ground with mortar and pestle. This fragrant resin is cultivated from mastic trees that are native throughout the Mediterranean; however, the most famous ones come from Greek island of Chios. In the States, you can easily find Chios mastic gum, "tears of Chios" online, even through Amazon. I usually bring back a big bag of mastic gum when I visit Turkey.
Rice pudding is a traditional recipe that has different versions such as regular, baked, and with mastic gum.
4 cups of milk (I used 2%)
1/2 cup long grain rice
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
2-3 pieces of mastic gum
-Put rice and 2 cups of water in pot and cook until rice is soft. Drain.
-Put 3 cups of milk, rice, and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.
-Add sugar and keep cooking until rice gets really soft stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
-Mix well corn starch and remaining 1 cup of milk, and slowly stir in to the pudding along with mastic gum lumps. Cook until pudding thickens.
-Pour pudding into individual bowls or cups. (If you want baked pudding, make sure the bowls are oven safe.) If you do not want to bake your pudding, wait until pudding cools down and then put the bowls in the refrigerator.
-If you want baked pudding, place the bowls in a deep oven tray / dish. Fill the tray with water half way through the bowls.
-Broil them until golden brown on top. Let them cool and refrigerate.
Rice pudding is usually served with ground cinnamon on top. Try a scoop or two of ice cream on top on hot summer days.