I was impressed at the recent paella cook-off at the Pearl Brewery when one chef prepared a “dessert paella”. It was basically rice pudding, a venerable Spanish dessert, rich and creamy, often made with an egg or two. What a great presentation that would be in a paella pan, maybe the paella-for-four size pan. I’d not serve it when the main course was paella (way to much rice in one meal!) but it would be fun after a Spanish-style roast pork, a mixed salad and papas bravas.
This recipe, from Mark Bittman, is much simpler. The coconut gives it a tropical twist — add sliced mangoes to garnish, if you have some that are ripe.
Coconut Rice Pudding
2 cans coconut milk (3-4 cups)
1 cup sweet or sticky rice, or any short-grain rice
A tiny pinch salt
3/4 to 1-cup sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine 3 cups coconut milk and rice in a medium saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add salt along with 3/4 cup sugar; reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the bottom doesn’t stick or burn.
[amazon-product]0767911938[/amazon-product]Uncover and continue to cook, stirring, until the rice is tender and the mixture is creamy, about 15 minutes. If liquid evaporates before the rice is done, stir in more coconut milk or add water, about a half-cup at a time, until done. When rice is done, the mixture should be sweet and creamy. If it needs more sugar, add it and cook another minute. If it seems dry, stir in more coconut milk. Serve warm or cold, sprinkled with cinnamon.
From Mark Bittman’s, “The Minimalist Entertains”, (Broadway Books, $26)