Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hey Puddin'

The other day I had a dream that I made rice pudding... I woke up with a terrible craving for it and in a haze I had a most brilliant idea to use the Silk Coconut Milk I had purchased for my smoothies. The milk overpowered the flavor of the fruits, so I was getting a bit tired of having flat-palate drinks; using the coconut milk in lieu of whole milk or even skim seemed like the PERFECT substitution for a rice pudding. Aaaand I did have a lot of basmati rice in the cupboard. So I threw off the covers and plopped myself in front of the computer, froggy pjs and all, in search of a recipe. I just wanted a plain and simple recipe since I'd never made rice pudding before and I wanted to invent my own flavors by steeping the pudding with a few cardamon pods.

My recipe is loosely based off this one from Ina Garten. Although right now, I must say I am not happy with her after turning down the Make-A-Wish child's desire to cook with her not once, but twice. I mean, it looks pretty bad, Ina, no matter how you slice it...

Now, don't be intimidated by the thought of making your own rice pudding. It really is quite simple, but you need to be sure to cook the rice through before taking it off the heat, because once it's in the fridge, it really won't get any - um - mushier.

Creamy Coconut Rice Pudding

What you need:

3/4 c basmati rice
1/2 tsp salt
5 cups vanilla coconut milk - in the half gallon carton, not the canned stuff - that's wayyy too fatty and expensive
1/3 c sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten (this is optional)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
5 cardamom pods

What you do:

Combine the rice, salt, and 1 1/2 cups of the milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir once, then lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook on the lowest heat for 8-9 minutes. Don't open the lid - the rice is steeeeeaming :) If you have a hot stove, keep the pan halfway off the heat because you don't want the bottom to scorch.

Take off the lid and add 3 more cups of coconut milk, sugar, and cardamom pods. Taste to see if it needs more sugar, but using vanilla coconut milk helps reduce the normal amount in most rice puddings.

Simmer, uncovered for 30-35 minutes -until the rice is tender to the bite. Towards the end of the time, the pudding will thicken a lot so stir often. Add the vanilla. This is when Ina says to add the egg, but you could skip this step. I did it but tempered the egg first in a bit of the pudding - still, tiny specks of cooked egg formed. They didn't bother me, and I think the egg helped tighten up the pudding, but I like mine loose so I could have done without it.

Take off the heat and serve warm, or put in the fridge for later. Take the pods out before storing, though, otherwise they overpower the pudding and it can taste a little "off.

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