1. Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in rice; cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; uncover. Set aside.
2. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small bowl.
3. Combine 1/4 cup milk and yolks in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add sugar mixture to milk mixture, stirring with a whisk until blended.
4. Bring remaining 1 1/4 cups milk and coconut milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Gradually add hot milk mixture to yolk mixture, stirring with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan. Bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cooked rice, coconut, and next 3 ingredients (through cardamom). Top with pistachios.