Easy recipe with photos for Coconut Rice Pudding
Mexico’s tropical climate is perfect for coconut palms. They grace the coastline in much of the country. Coconut water and cocadas (coconut macaroons) are sold everywhere along roadsides and in markets. Rice came to Mexico by way of the Philippines, and was quickly embraced by the everyday cook, usually as a course on its own served as a sopa seca, a dry “soup”, before the plato fuerte, the main course. Rice and coconut seem like a natural combination in this creamy, flavorful pudding.
Rice pudding is a favorite Mexican dessert at fiestas, especially birthday parties. But I can’t say it is a favorite of mine, because it us usually dry, thick and gluey. Coconut Rice Pudding corrects all of these shortcomings, but then it is no longer an authentic recipe. There are times when authenticity is not as important as making a dish that is very inviting and tasty. This recipe was inspired by one that is served at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. You can find it on epicurious.com.
Coconut Rice Pudding
- 1 cup (7 oz./200 grams) raw rice
- 2 cups (480 ml.) water
- 1/2 teaspoon (3.5 grams) salt
- 6 tablespoon (2 oz./60 grams) sugar
- 3 tablespoon (.75 oz./80 grams) cornstarch
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups (480 ml.) unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon (.5 oz./12 grams) vanilla
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) coconut extract (optional)
- 1/2 (3.5 grams) teaspoon salt
- Toasted dried coconut flakes
- Fresh fruit slices
- Bring water and salt to a boil. When water reaches a boil, add rice and swirl pan for a few seconds to dissolve salt. Cover and cook on very low heat for 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Do not lift the lid. Let rest for 10 minutes to completely absorb water. After 10 minute rest, fluff with a fork.
- Bring coconut milk to a gentle simmer over medium heat, stirring every few minutes.
- While coconut milk is heating, whisk sugar and cornstarch in a 1-quart bowl until blended. Whisk in eggs one at a time, until very smooth. Whisk in salt.
- When coconut milk reaches a simmer, slowly add to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour back into a pan on the stove and cook over medium-low heat stirring constantly until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.
- Pour coconut sauce over rice and gently fold together. Stir in vanilla and optional coconut extract.
- Press plastic wrap on surface of rice pudding and refrigerate until cold, 4-6 hours.
- Serve garnished with toasted coconut and slices of fresh fruit.
The small dish pictured above is a piece of inexpensive, low-fired pottery that is ubiquitous in Mexico. Dishes range from small bowls to very large cooking pots called cazuelas. I love the primitive look and feel of them, though they chip easily. I could use a pressure-cooker to cook beans, but I prefer to use the clay bean pot, which Mexican cooks claim gives a better taste to the beans. While potters assure us that today’s pottery is lead-free, just to be safe, I do not use them for storage or for acid foods.