Thursday, March 18, 2010

Veggie Might: Vegan Rice Pudding or What Took Me So Long?

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism. Also, RIP Alex Chilton.

It’s an established fact, as long-time CHG readers know, that I’m a picky dessert eater. I have a long list of dislikes and flat-out hates that make me annoying when my girlfriends want to share tiramisu or strawberry shortcake.

My youth was spent turning up my nose at many of my grandmother’s and mother’s homemade offerings that didn’t involve chocolate chips or gelatin. I don’t recall if anyone ever offered me rice pudding, but I’m sure I would have refused the grainy white goop. The thing is I have no memory of it being a staple in my family’s dessert/snacktime repertoire.

Rice pudding has come lately to my attention via Indian restaurants. It’s warm, delicious, and simple, and but for the errant raisin, meets all my dessert criteria. Suddenly, I found myself craving it last weekend during the East Coast Monsoonami™, so for the first time, I made my it myself.

Jumping off from the “Rice Pudding” recipe in The Joy of Cooking, I replaced the whole milk with almond milk and used up the jasmine rice that had been hanging out in my pantry for far too long.

Though a bit time consuming, it’s criminally simple to make. It’s really just stirring; and I’m great at stirring. An hour later, I could barely wait for the fragrant, vanilla-scented porridge to cool before I dove in.

“What took me so long to make this?!” I said aloud to my dog. He looked at me with those eyes that say, “Whatever, lady.” I immediately ate two dishes. But it’s cool, since it’s pretty healthy for a dessert.

I still can’t believe my mother never made this for us when we were kids. Or maybe she did and I never ate it. Either way, vegan rice pudding is going into heavy rotation. Rice will never again last a year in this house.

If you dig this recipe, you may also dig

Vegan Jasmine Rice Pudding
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
Serves 7–8

3/4 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
dash of cinnamon
almonds (optional garnish)

1) In a large saucepan, bring salted water and rice to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is fluffy.

2) Add the almond milk and sugar to the rice and increase heat to medium. Stirring frequently, cook for 30–40 minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy.

3) Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

4) Pour into 7–8 ramekins and cover with plastic wrap if you don’t like pudding skin. Once the pudding has cooled, or if you want to serve it warm (as I do), garnish with dashes of cinnamon and almonds, as desired.

5) Take a taste, close your eyes, and try to imagine heaven being better than this. Just try.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price per Serving
Serves 7: 161.8 calories, 3.1 g fat, .9 g fiber, $0.40
Serves 8: 141.6 calories, 2.75 g fat, .75 g fiber, $0.35

3/4 cup jasmine rice: 450 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, $.41
1/4 tsp salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $.02
4 cups almond milk: 160 calories, 12g fat, 4g fiber, $1.99
1/2 cup sugar: 418.5 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, $.28
2 tsp vanilla: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $.04
cinnamon: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $.02
14 almonds: 104 calories, 10g fat, 2g fiber, $.04
Totals: 1132.5 calories, 22g fat, 6g fiber, $2.80
Per serving (totals/7): 161.8 calories, 3.1g fat, .9g fiber, $.40
Per serving (totals/8): 141.6 calories, 2.75g fat, .75g fiber, $.35

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Ann said...

It's good made with coconut milk too, although it's quite rich so you might want to dilute it with water. I like grated nutmeg for the spicing.

If I have the oven on I will bake it the old fashioned way on the bottom of the oven for a couple of hours...but then, I do like the skin that forms.

Ishani said...

Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I am from India (Bengal actually) and my mother and grandmother used to make this quite frequently. I miss having it so much! I think I might have to make some now. By the way, the Bengali word for the dish is payesh (as in the first part of papa and yesh rhymes with face but with a sh-sound at the end). My grandmother used to make it with unprocessed sugar made from palm juice. Delish!

wosnes said...

There is a Mediterranean restaurant in my area that serves the best rice pudding! They have a buffet at lunch time and I could easily make my whole meal rice pudding!

I've loved rice pudding as long as I can remember. I found a great recipe years ago in one of Jane and Michael Stern's cookbooks -- Square Meals, I think.

I also accidentally found out that Arborio rice makes a wonderful rice pudding.

Okay, I need to go to the kitchen now....

Rabi Recipes said...

I could definitely feel your passion for cooking in your words. I love the challenge aspect of cooking, too, and exploring the science. Sometimes I realize how much I’ve learned about how a certain ingredient is going to react to certain cooking methods or with other ingredients, and it fuels me to explore more.
Well, in the end i would say thanx to u to providing me this recipe!

Anja said...

I am German, born and raised, rice pudding is one of the most basic and most beloved staples of childhood food. Usually it's eaten hot, traditionally without raisins, but sprinkled with a sugar and Cinnamon mixture for crunch and spice, and a side order of icy cold applesauce. One word: YUM. COMFORT. HEAVENLY. Alright, it's three words. Rice pudding on spoon, dip into applesauce to cool just enough for eating without scorching your mouth. Lecker!!

Roxanne R said...

I just made the Vegan Rice Pudding and let me tell you... IT ROCKS!!! I was never a huge fan of rice pudding as a kid, but this recipe is so delicious and creamy. I love it. Thank you for sharing!

Sarah said...

Great recipe! I love adapting Joy of Cooking recipes. I adapted yours a bit, based on what we had in the house one evening when we had to bring a sugar-free dessert to a friend's house. I used 4 cups of So Delicious Coconut Milk (the milk replacement kind) and crushed pineapple in place of the almond milk, and it's a pina-colada treat!

wonderveggie said...

Wow. This recipe is AMAZING! The only thing I did differently is exchange the 4C of almond milk for 2C of canned coconut milk and 2C water. (I didn't have almond milk and didn't have ENOUGH soy milk.) I also threw in 1/2C of raisins while I was simmering the rice and milk.

This is definitely going in my personal dessert cookbook!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever tried to make rice pudding with quinoa?

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, THANK YOU! I've always wanted to see recipes that are healthy and delicious with the price calculated in so cutely. LOVE THIS! I have it simmering away on the stove with a little ammereto davids tea stepped into the almond milk, a splash of malibu, and a big squeeze of agave nectar! Cant waiiiiiiiit :3