cooking with meditation

rice pudding with cinnamon cardamom & vanilla

24th February 2010


I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to a still sleeping, quiet house.  I relit my oil burner on my altar and offered my gratitude to my teachers, my family, my friends and to everything in my life.  There is so much to feel gratitude for!  I then started my meditation, finishing just in time to hear the birds singing their welcome to the morning.  I went down to the quiet of the kitchen and started the meditative process of making this creamy, soothing, comforting rice pudding.

The recipe was sent to me by my dear friend, Kristin, in one of her amazingly magical letters.  I wait and wait for one of these letters to arrive in the post from Oregon in America.  When one does, I am full of excitement in anticipation of what it holds, and the knowledge of what it will inspire.  Her letters become small magical packages and are filled up with her essence and her expression of her daily life, her solitude, her path to the Eternal Truth and full of my dear friend. Sometimes I find feathers from her walks, recipes painted on the back of a postcard, leaves she has pressed, shells she has found, paintings she has painted, or little pictures from her daughter, Luna.  On this one occasion, she had sent me this recipe.

In Winter, we make it weekly, starting early in the morning. The children slowly wake up at different times and silently join, taking turns in the stirring, breathing and the silence. When it is ready, we sit together and have it for breakfast, before we all head off in our different directions.  Them to school, Jonathan to work, and me to the garden.


I am writing it exactly how it was sent to me.

‘This recipe takes time, dedication and focus, but the best results are beyond “worth the wait”.  Be prepared for an hour of continuous stirring.  The stirring is done in a clockwise spiral direction or in a figure of eight clockwise.  While stirring you must have no outer distractions such as the radio, stereo, reading, conversation or television.  The idea is to feel what you are doing and to stay focused. Prayer, recitation, breath exercises, vocal exercises, singing or meditation are advisable and encouraged.’

rice pudding

A note to those avoiding dairy products.  I have made this with home-made almond milk on a few occasions – using 2-litres of almond milk instead of 3-litres milk and simmering it until the rice is cooked.  The result is still delicious but for me, it does miss that rich creaminess that the full cream milk gives.


3 Tbsp butter/ghee

1 cup organic white basmati rice

1 bay leaf

12 cups/ 3-litres organic full-cream milk

1 cinnamon stick

6 cardamom pods

1 vanilla bean

½¾ cup maple syrup

handful sultanas/currants


1.  Melt the butter/ghee in a heavy-bottomed large pot over medium heat, add the rice and stir-fry until it is transparent, then add the bay leaf, milk, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and milk.

2.  Scrape the vanilla bean along its length with a knife and add that bean “paste”, along with the bean itself to the pot.

3.  Take a wooden spoon and dip in the milk.  Note how high the milk comes up to the spoon.  Set this spoon aside.

4.  Take a new spoon (wooden) and stir continuously on a high flame until the milk boils, about 10 -15 mins, continue stirring on high, for 25 to 30 mins, more.

Remember to keep stirring!

5.  When the pudding has thickened and reduced by 25% from the original wooden spoon measurement, pour in the maple syrup  – continue to stir slowly, but constantly to prevent scorching.  After about 10 – 15 mins, you will feel the right thickness and creaminess has been achieved.

6.  The pudding continues to thicken after cooling, so remove from heat and add the currants.

When serving sprinkle with cinnamon powder and a few nuts of your choice.  This pudding is wonderful warm, room temperature, or chilled.

Goodness shared by Stacey

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