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Recipe Collection

Crayfish & Spinach Rice Pudding

Lizzie Mayson — Salt & Time — 2019

A dish so decadent and rich, that it could only belong to the pre-Soviet era of Russian culinary history. I came across this entrée when delving into a classic cookbook of the Tsarist era, written by Elena Molokhovets in 1861. While I struggled to understand the exact method (my Imperial-era Russian is a bit rusty), the name alone immediately evoked a site of a beautifully simple and delicate dish as well as a creamy taste of rice pudding and spinach. So this recipe is something of a crossbreed between an Italian risotto and a British rice pudding, which would work really well as a main or a starter. You can substitute crayfish tails with prawns, in which case add them sooner to the pot. A perfect dish for a Sunday lunch in Spring, which would taste even better when accompanied by some chilled white wine. 

Photography: Lizzie Mayson
Food Styling: Tamara Vos

Serves: 4


30g unsalted butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 celery stick, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
100g of pudding rice
500g of vegetable stock

150g of full fat milk
50g of cream
250g of crayfish tails
200g of spinach
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 lemon, zest and juice


  1. Melt the butter in a pot and fry off the onion, celery and garlic for 8-10 minutes, till they become soft and translucent but not caramelised. 

  2. Next, add all the rice and stir through for a minute of so, allowing the rice to absorb the butter. Pour in the stock and cook on a medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the stock you are using is already sufficiently seasoned, there’s no need to add salt; otherwise adjust seasoning to taste. 

  3. Add milk and cream, stir through and cook for another 10 minutes on low heat. 

  4. Finally, add the crayfish tails and chopped spinach, season with salt and pepper to taste, and dress with lemon zest and juice. Take off heat, mix thoroughly and let rest under a lid for 5 minutes before serving. 

  5. This dish looks so vibrant and delicate on a plain white plate, that I’d encourage you to opt for an elegantly understated piece of dinnerware.  

Read more: Salt & Time

Alissa’s first cookbook Salt & Time tells stories of the food of her native Russia and her childhood. It brings her modern interpretation of the rich and wonderful cuisine of Siberia into the Western kitchen, interwoven with intimate discussions on identity, people, place and history.

— about the author

Originally from Russia, Alissa has lived in the UK since the late 1990s, making London home and a place of infinite inspiration. After studying film history and gaining a PhD in the field of Soviet Holocaust cinema, she launched her hugely popular KinoVino supper club in 2014. She released her debut cookbook Salt & Time in 2019, and launched her podcast MotherFood to advocate for maternal wellbeing through nutrition.


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