They say no one is indifferent to rice pudding. Either you love it or you hate it. I believe I am the exception to that rule. The concept is not terribly appealing to me. What's so great about a bowl of rice and sugar? A simple bowl of rice pudding truly is just a bowl of sweet, lumpy, starch. I'm not into it. On the other hand, when it comes to rice pudding, execution is everything. There is plenty of bad rice pudding out there, but if it's well done, I can change my tune. If it's made with arborio rice so it has a creamy texture the way pudding is supposed to, or if it is flavored perfectly with just the right notes of spice and vanilla, I'm willing to give that pudding a second taste.
I began rethinking rice pudding further when I first made a dish with Forbidden (black) rice as a side dish. I loved the intense flavor of it and couldn't wait to us it again. Sir Pickypants felt differently. He wasn't even sure what he was eating ("That was rice?") and was not interested in eating it again. I hate it when stuff like this happens. I had to find recipes to make with my black rice that were only for me.
I came up with this rice pudding that I could make for myself and enjoy as a breakfast food. Sweet black rice is pretty common in Thai cuisine and I found many recipes online for it. I wanted my rice pudding to not be too sweet, but be substantial enough to carry me through my morning. I used the traditional Thai flavor of coconut to cook it with, but added the more American touches of cinnamon and vanilla. I added coconut oil to the cooking water just as you might do with butter when cooking traditional rice. It intensifies the coconut flavor a bit. I researched several methods online, and eventually decided to use a blend of classic rice cooking techniques and risotto techniques to make my rice. I used a traditional topping of mangoes to finish it off.
If you prefer it sweeter, prefer to add more honey. It's a new year and I'm trying to be good with my sugar intake.
Forbidden Rice Pudding
- 1 cup black rice
- 2 cups water
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1.5 cups coconut milk, warmed
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbl honey
- Additional coconut milk and mango chunks for garnish
Return the pan to low heat and keep the rice at a simmer. Begin to stir in the coconut milk about a half cup at a time until the milk is well integrated and the pudding has a thick consistency. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, and honey.
Serve warm or cold, garnished with additional coconut milk and chopped mangoes.