If you are craving comfort foods, this creamy and velvety rice pudding may be just what you need.
I don’t need to tell you the coronavirus has upended everything — everything, I hope, except your health and spirits. But it’s affecting everyone, including the fabulous person slated to be featured in today’s My Favorite People, My Favorite Recipes. He’s healthy, just dealing with scrambled life like the rest of us. So how to fill this slot?
What? Who, me? I can talk plant-based, mindful eating and sustainability till the cows — and I love cows — come home. Self-promotion, though, makes me break out in a sweat. Happily, I don’t have to talk myself up. The nice guys at Voyage MIA have done it for me.
My Favorite People, My Favorite Recipes always features a recipe. Because I tend to overdeliver, I developed a new one, especially for you.
In these crazy coronavirus days, we seek answers — and hand sanitizers — but also comfort. So I’ve been dreamily thinking about rice pudding. When not in crisis mode, I can be enticed by Middle eastern rice pudding scented with rosewater, or kheer, Indian rice pudding heady with saffron. This recipe is not those. This is the plant-based version of my grandmother’s rice pudding, the one I loved as a child.
An intuitive cook, my grandmother, didn’t write down recipes (and she had awful handwriting, anyway, as bad as my own), but my taste memory was hellbent on retrieval. I tinkered and kitchen-tested until I was happy with the results. The first batch, made with brown rice, proved an earnest effort but an epic fail, resulting in an over-dense pudding with the rice grains still crunchy, despite presoaking them for tenderness. Texture matters as much as flavor. You don’t want hard or gluey rice pudding, but neither do you want it jiggly. Think creamy. Think velvety. These are your hallmarks of a successful pudding.
I stayed with it. Along the way, I discovered this is a brilliant use for leftover rice, so if you’ve done Chinese or Indian takeaway and don’t know what to do with the extra cups and cups of rice they give you, here you go. Remember, we don’t waste, especially now. We’re resourceful.
I hope this does my grandmother’s rice pudding credit. It’s simple, soothing, creamy, studded with plump, swollen raisins, kissed with vanilla and cinnamon, and ever-so-slightly remastered to make it plant-based.
I resisted the urge to grate in some lemon zest, but you may, or saffron, rosewater, or whatever else cries comfort to you. A light sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg on top would not be unwelcome. Wash your hands and enjoy.