The housemate and I made a big Thai dinner for friends today, and I contributed a dessert of Black Rice Pudding. The pudding was a resounding success, so here’s a record of what I did.
Black rice is, as far as I can tell, a name that encompasses a few different kinds of rice, including the “forbidden rice” that’s in vogue in some stores. I bought mine for cheap at the local Chinese supermarket, but I’ve also seen it in the bulk bins at places like Whole Foods. I based the pudding on a traditional Thai rice pudding that can be eaten as breakfast or dessert; a good recipe is here, though I tweaked it a bit myself.
In the end, the results were superb. The black rice had a fragrant scent and a subtly chewy texture, the coconut milk infused it with flavor and richness, and the sweet spices rounded out the flavors without overpowering them. It had all the unctuous comfort of traditional rice pudding, with a more interesting texture and a wonderfully enticing aroma. Plus, it’s vegan and high in fiber and nutrients.
The color is amazing; it comes out a deep, velvety purple that looks like no other natural food. Sadly, I didn’t have a chance to photograph it before everyone dug in.
Thai Black Rice Pudding
(serves 10-15 as a dessert, fewer if it’s a main breakfast dish)
2 cups dry black/purple rice
2-3 cans coconut milk (13.5 oz each)
3/4-1 cup brown sugar (palm sugar or demerara would be even better!)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
toasted slivered almonds or sesame seeds (optional)
1) The night before (or several hours before), rinse the rice and soak it in lots of water.
2) Drain the rice. Put in a medium-size pot with 2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to low heat, and leave it alone for 20-30 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. The rice should be tender inside but still a bit chewy on the outside.
3) Mix in 2 cans coconut milk, 3/4 cup sugar, vanilla, cardamom, salt, and nutmeg.
4) Simmer for another 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is quite soft and most of the coconut milk is absorbed. If the pudding gets too thick, add more coconut milk; I used an extra half-can.
5) Taste for sweetness and mix in more sugar as necessary. Serve hot or cold, optionally sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds or slivered almonds.