This is our brown rice take on classic coconut sticky rice. The long cooking time yields an unctuous sauce that clings to the spoon. We love it with the tang of dried apricots on top, but feel free to customize it with fresh tropical fruit (mango is particularly tasty) or berries. Prep and Cook Time: about 2 1/4 hours. Notes: Brown sweet rice has a very short grain and is sold at many specialty grocery stores. We like Lundberg Family Farms' sweet rice (lundberg.com for stores). You can use short-grain brown rice in place of brown sweet rice, but the result is a thicker, less silken pudding.
3 cans light coconut milk
1 cup brown sweet rice (see Notes)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup diced dried apricots (optional)
How to Make It
In a heavy-bottomed 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat, bring coconut milk, rice, sugar, and salt to a gentle boil. Partially cover and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender to the bite and liquid thickens, about 2 hours. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Garnish with fruit if you like.
So I basically made this twice. The first time, I only had two cans of light coconut milk, so I used 1 1/2 cups of almond milk to replace that last can. I added a little ground cinnamon, about two tablespoons of butter, half a cinnamon stick and three cardamom pods to the milk with the rice. I got almost to the end of cooking -- the rice was almost tender and the milk had thickened considerably. It tasted FANTASTIC, although it was almost cloyingly sweet. However, I was also making a big breakfast at the same time, turned around and forgot to stir the pudding. It burned. I was so bummed. Later that evening, I went to the store to pick up some more coconut milk. When I got home, I started over. This time, I used the recommended three cans of light coconut milk, and I added four cardamom pods and the same amount of cinnamon and butter. I used a little less sugar, leaving about two-three tablespoons out of the 1/2 cup of sugar. I remembered I had a little dried unsweetened coconut, so I added that as well. I cooked it about three hours. When it was time to simmer, I put it on a lower heat (about a 1 1/2 level instead of a 3 I used the first time) so it wouldn't burn. When it was done, I pulled out the whole spices. The second pudding didn't taste quite as good as the first, at least when it was hot. I don't know if it was the higher heat or the almond milk or less sugar -- the first had a richer flavor. I was able to make it taste better by adding a little vanilla, honey, and a light shaking of nutmeg and allspice. The next day, I was blown away by the flavor. It thickened into a custard with a light coconut vanilla flavor. The cardamom was just right. The rice was a little too chewy for my taste, next time I will cook it a little longer to see if it breaks down more. However, the custard this makes is worth it. Don't add the shredded cocount unless it is after cooking and it has been toasted. It did not add a good texture to the final product, and it didn't absorb the liquid like I had hoped. I will make this again. It was my breakfast for a few days this week.
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