Rice and date syrup pudding (zardat dibis wa haleeb)

Prepare & Cook:


  • 200g pudding rice
  • 225ml milk
  • 225ml thick fresh cream
  • 350g date syrup (dibis)
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 8 dates, pitted and chopped, to garnish


  1. Put the rice in a large bowl and pour over enough water to cover. Leave to soak for 1 hour.
  2. Drain the rice and tip into a large saucepan with 2.25 litres water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender and pulpy.
  3. Transfer half the rice to a pan and add the milk and cream. Set over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring continuously, until the consistency is thick and creamy.
  4. Put half in a food processor and blitz until smooth. Return to the pan with the unblended creamy rice, add half the cardamom and stir to combine.
  5. Divide the creamy rice among eight serving bowls. Leave to cool.
  6. Add the date syrup to the remaining cooked rice. Set over a high heat and bring to the boil. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a further 10-15 minutes, continuing to stir until thick and syrupy.
  7. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then stir in the remaining cardamom. Spoon the mixture on top of the cooled rice and garnish the puddings with the chopped dates. Serve with Iraqi cookies.