Rice pudding is one of my all time favourite deserts. Whether it's baked in the oven, with a golden skin and a blob of jam, a 'posh' version with spices and fruit compote, or good old Ambrosia straight out the tin, they're all delicious to me. To my mind there is nothing better after a roast on a cold Sunday afternoon, or to sooth you when you're feeling a little under the weather.
In fact, my love for good old rice pud is so great I've decided to do a mini series of blogs, featuring variations from around the world. (Not so god for the Ewing, a rice pudding sceptic who has so far eschewed my efforts for yet more chocolate.)
The first recipe I tried was a classic South East Asian version of this beloved desert. The coconut provides richness and the mango lends a fresh and tropical edge. You could substitute pineapple, banana, or even durian if you can get hold of it (and can tolerate the 'distinctive' aroma). A little salt with the coconut cream is essential, as it cuts through the richness and stops it becoming too cloying. Sesame seeds or fried mung beans add some welcome crunch.
This is a perfect pud after spicy food, or to cheer you up with a tropical burst in the depths of winter.
Sticky Rice with Coconut and Mango
200g Thai sticky rice
1 tin of coconut milk (Thai if possible)
50g palm sugar (or substitute light brown)
A pinch of salt
2 large mangoes, halved, stoned and sliced.
1 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted or use toasted mung beans. (optional)
Place rice and 350ml of water in a large saucepan, bring to the boil.
Cover mixture and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the water has been evaporated.
While rice is cooking carefully open the tin of coconut milk and put any solid cream that has risen to the top in a small saucepan (if there is no solid cream then pour off a couple of tablespoons of the milk instead). Heat the coconut cream gently, until it thickens, then add the salt. Cool.
Place 300ml of the milk and the palm sugar in a bowl, and stir until dissolved.
Add the still warm, cooked rice to the milk and sugar mixture, stir and cover with a tea towel until cold. (add any extra coconut milk, or a drop of water if the texture is too thick).
To serve, place the sticky rice on a plate and spoon some of the coconut cream mixture over the top. Garnish with strips of the mango and the sesame seeds, if using.