Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Rice Pudding, with Tangelo, Hibiscus, and Red Rice

Lists are such a handy tool for organizing thoughts and grouping together like sets of items. For instance, pride. Or more specifically, things that I have either done or not done in the past few weeks and afterwards felt some pride. I'm feeling a bit pleased with myself, as this list isn't short.

Jenn's list of things that she has done or not done recently that make her proud:

-Getting Seth to recoil in horror when making a beastly noise right in his ear (ok, this happens a lot, but I will never cease to feel pride) .

-Finding the smudge known as Andromeda in the binoculars during some nighttime sky watching.

-Figuring out a workaround after Max's light-up toothbrush died

-Not telling my grandmother about her surprise 80th birthday dinner (keeping secrets is not one of my specialties in life).

-Used a plunger without having to frantically call a loved one to find out if I a) did indeed need to use one b) how to actually use it.

-Managed to leave Whole Foods with only two cartons of candy instead of the 5 (give or take) that I wanted to hoard.

-Found a replacement monitor cord just lying in a drawer, and almost successfully swapped this never-been-used one for the extremely frayed, cat-chewed one that we had been using for far, far too long (this is notable because my brain actively refuses to learn anything that remotely pertains to hooking up electronic stuff, and I actually made the correct identification of where this cord goes).

-Made and ate rice pudding, as I had 
previously never made a rice pudding. 

Which brings me to our Creative Cooking Crew challenge entry for this month.  This month’s challenge (hosted by Lazaro from Lazaro Cooks) is all about rice, asking us what we can do to transform, elevate, modernize or creatively spotlight it in a dish.  Check back in a few days for a link to the roundup of everyone's dishes!

I've never been drawn to the idea of rice pudding. I was turned off by the idea of a non-savory use of rice. Texturally, the whole thing seemed utterly unappealing. Plus, my brain automatically equates pudding with chocolate.

I am now ashamed of my audacity, the brazenness in that belief, my lack of imagination, my inability to see how delicious a pudding made from rice can be.

I now understand the appeal. Instead of repulsion, there is delight to be had in sinking your teeth into those little granules of rice, all puffed up from a nice, long cook in some milk, and suspended by a creamy and sweet concoction that struggles lovingly to hold the whole thing together.

Rice pudding is also infinitely customizable, and it now seems ludicrous that I scoffed at it before. I used Bittman's How to Cook Everything to guide me through this whole new world of rice pudding. I was so extremely excited to see that the instructions amounted to basically - stir, put in oven, stir, put in oven, stir, put in oven. Exactly the kind of thing that one can handle with an active three year old demanding continuous attention.

I went with a combination of tangelo, hibiscus and coconut milk for this particular pudding. This is not really the result of a concerted effort, but one of those happy accidents in which mismatched ingredients all found a home with one another. I'm still not quite sure how it was decided that the home would be rice pudding.

The tangelos were extremely hard to not bring home. So bright, almost glaringly so, just about ready to burst with that sweet and tangy juice. So home with me they went. Dried hibiscus leaves had been hanging around in the cupboard, waiting to give a floral, tangy hand to the enterprise. Red rice (a particularly toothsome form of rice), leftover from a previous CCC challenge, was begging to be used up, and would complement the color from the hibiscus. Coconut milk gave the whole thing some heft, some sweetness, some tropical flair. I'm not sure if this fulfills the requirement of the challenge. but at least I feel proud to have tried.

*adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
1/2 cup red rice
5 tablespoons sugar
pinch salt
zest from 1 tangelo
2 tablespoons fresh tangelo juice
1/4 cup dried hibiscus leaves, wrapped in cheesecloth or spice bag
chopped macadamia nuts, optional, for serving

Heat oven to 300. In an ovenproof baking dish or saucepan, stir together coconut milk, red rice, sugar, salt, and tangelo juice/zest. Drop in the hibiscus leaves. Bake for 30 minutes, then stir. Place in oven again for 30 minutes, and stir. Then bake again for another 20-30 minutes, until the rice has plumped up and the mixture is nice and thick. Remove hibiscus leaves.


  1. Great sounding pudding!

  2. Ohh that coconut milk just brings this all together for me! Yum. PS. I thoroughly enjoy your writing, any post that uses toothsome and andromeda gets my vote :)

  3. I love rice pudding and this looks like it would be a tasty one

  4. Hibiscus flavoured anything is my favourite :D
    Delicious rice pudding!

    Choc Chip Uru

  5. Let's face it, you can put pretty things on it but rice pudding isn't ever going to be pretty on its own.... who cares!!! It's so comforting and creamy. Just what I wanted to do with my left-over Persian rice... make rice pudding with it!!! Beautiful idea to use the coconut milk in it... must try.

  6. What a unique take on rice pudding! The fact that you used red rice really sets it apart :) Also, LOVE hibiscus!

  7. I have always been a big fan of rice pudding and love trying more original ones as an adult. This is bookmarked, looks great!

  8. I'm really bad at keeping secrets, so I'm proud of you for that, too. :D This rice pudding looks so dreamy

  9. This is delicious looking pudding!! Have a great weekend!

  10. I like your list of achievements, well done! I've not made rice pudding for years, I remember making it on the stove top though. I've had it in Asian restaurants with coconut milk, a favorite, your's sounds awesome! I have a recipe for dessert couscous...try to wrap your head around that one too!

  11. Love the use of tangelo - I associate rice pudding so strongly with the sort of raisin-studded thing my college boyfriend liked to make, and which I never liked to eat. The tangelo makes it seem really fresh.

  12. It was such fun to read this post with the to do list and the way you managed your way around.
    The rice Pudding looks great and the coconut milk adds the perfect flavor.

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