Monday, January 21, 2013
When pudding isn't what it seems...
What's in that pudding on the right?
Answer: Milk, cinnamon, sugar, rice. Maybe some vanilla.
Bet you'd NEVER guess chicken.
Yup. Chicken breast, pounded into filaments, and added to the pudding, appropriately named tavuk göğsü (chicken breast). The result is something like the blancmange you might know from medieval historicals.
While chicken is an odd addition to pudding, I actually like this dessert, as long as they don't add any other oddities. Cooks in the east tend to flavor their puddings a bit differently. Makes sense, since vanilla and chocolate are new world flavors.
So. Old world flavors:
Mastica - sap from the pistacia lentiscus tree - bleh. I pretty much hate this one. Reminds me of eating the resin for my violin's bowstrings. Or maybe Pine Sol. Some people love it, and my husband is one of them.
Rose water- basically, perfumey water- bleh. Take grandma's eau de toilet, remove the alcohol. Now add it to your pudding. Even my husband stays away from this one. Rose petal jam? That I'll eat.
Orange blossom water - the same thing as rose water, but orange blossom flavored. This is a little bit better than the other two flavors. With enough sugar, I can MAYBE pretend it's orange blossom honey. Sometimes cooks will toss a couple leaves of an orange or lemon tree to flavor a pudding .
Then there are spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, cardamon (one of my faves). Even saffron (flower stamens- is it an herb or a spice?) can be used in pudding and turn out tasty. Coffee is another good one, but usually found in more western style desserts.
Chocolate? Vanilla? Many Turks make chocolate rice pudding, add vanilla to their tavuk göğsü, etc. I can even handle a tiny touch of the mastic, if I add some vanilla too.