Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Thai Coconut Rice Pudding with Jasmine Rice, a South Asian Dessert

My kids love rice pudding; it is something I can always agree to get them to eat. But my rice pudding is somewhat different than this recipe, and I can't wait to try this Thai version of rice pudding. It looks like a terrific gluten free vegan comfort food. 

With over 1.7 billion people, millennia of written history and a great number of different languages coexisting, South Asia is a subcontinent that hosts Indian, Thai, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepali and Sri Lankan people, to name a few. Even though its land area is larger than the entire European Union, due to the West's lack of knowledge, South Asia still is quite difficult to conceptualize.  

In terms of culture, this region is very diverse: for example, the Dharmic religions like Hinduism or Buddhism live side by side with Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities. As a result, many different lifestyles end up coexisting and giving birth to the identity of an entire subcontinent. However different they might be, some unifying cultural and culinary factors can be found. 

The most versatile, nutritious and unifying ingredient 

Rice is the staple food in South-Eastern Asia; this grain plays a huge role in this region and is a common factor that can be found in nearly all of its countries. Rice is the seed of cereal grass; it is a great source of carbohydrates, which helps people to stay energized, satisfied and healthy. Moreover, it is very versatile: rice is referred to as a staple food because it acts as the perfect base for any dish. Savory or sweet, this grain can be combined with any source of protein, vegetable, spice or sweetener and the outcome will always be more than perfect. 

There are as many recipes with rice as there are types of this grain. It comes in several varieties: arborio rice, which is Italian, medium-grain rice; Basmati rice, commonly grown in Pakistan, India and the Himalayas; Brown rice, mostly known as a more "nutritious" grain, and Jasmine Rice.  This last variety is a long-grain type initially cultivated in Thailand which was named after its color, similar to the jasmine flower. This grain contains an exceptionally high amount of manganese, great for wound healing, regulating blood sugar levels and for the nervous system and bone structure development. 

We would like to encourage you to try this jasmine rice recipe by Mahatma® rice, which is guaranteed to make you fall in love with this variety of rice and will also make you feel a little bit closer to Southeast Asia and its culture through their flavors. There is nothing more perfect to get to know a region than trying out its cuisine.  

Thai Coconut Rice Pudding with Jasmine Rice, a South Asian Dessert

2 cups Jasmine rice
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup toasted, shredded coconut
3 tablespoons crushed peanuts

1. Rinse the rice under cold water. After removing the extra starch, place the rice in a large cast-iron pot; add two cups of water and let your grains soak for, at least, thirty minutes.  

2. Now it's time to add the remaining water (one and a half cups) and stir. Place the pot over high heat; once the water comes to a boil, reduce the heat and cover the pot with a lid for twenty minutes.  

3. After those twenty minutes, remove the lid and add the coconut milk; stir until all is combined, try to use a fork to help you break the rice grains. Add your brown sugar and let this mixture simmer on low heat as well.  

4. Now it's time for the spices: add ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and vanilla extract to the rice pudding (you may also use vanilla beans to give it an extra and more intense vanilla flavor). 

5. Your rice should be looking like a very thick pudding or porridge, the grains should have absorbed all the coconut milk, sugar and spices. 

6. Now you are ready to serve and enjoy, but if you wish to enhance this dessert before serving it to your guests, there is one extra step you may do: 

7. Grab a pan and place it over high heat. Crush some peanuts, and once the pan is hot enough add them and toast them until they reach a golden color and an extra nutty flavor. This will add that extra texture and flavor every rice dish needs.  

Also, remember that caramelized orange peels go perfectly well together with rice pudding; give it a try and open yourself to get a little closer to the South Eastern Asian culture! 

No comments: