Cardamom & rosewater are traditional Persian dessert ingredients, and for good reason! They can be heavenly together. The aroma of basmati rice compliments them even more in this comforting, warm rice pudding.
I adapted a sweet rice pudding recipe in Shubhra Ramineni's cookbook "Entice with Spice: Easy Indian Recipes for Busy People." (Beautiful cookbook!) Her version does not use the rosewater, and has other minor differences from mine.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan over high heat, boil water with rice until rice has absorbed all the water, about 3 minutes.
Add the milk, and bring to a rolling boil, constantly stirring. Reduce heat to medium.
Slightly crush cardamom pods & add. If you want very strong cardamom flavor, you can release the seeds from the pods before adding, but it will make them hard to retrieve if you decide the pudding has absorbed enough flavor (the flavor will intensify if leftovers are stored with the cardamom still in it.) If I plan to eat all of it right away, I enjoy the seeds released from the pods, but can find it too strong in leftovers.
Simmer about 15- 25 minutes, stirring often. If skin forms on the top, stir it back in, but don't scrape up any scorched milk that forms on the bottom. Once milk has thickened sufficiently to your preference, stir in sugar, nuts, and rosewater. Taste and feel free to add more sugar or rosewater, to your preference. If the cardamom flavor is sufficiently strong, remove the pods. This can be served warm (my favorite) or chilled, which will thicken it.
*This is plenty creamy to me, and healthier (I even enjoy it made with 2% milk), but if you decide you want something more indulgent, you may replace part of the milk with cream. Just wait to add the cream till the last 5-10 minutes of the simmering time.