It’s been a rough week, folks. Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast on Monday evening, leaving devastation and tragedy in her wake. With the cleanup in full swing and power out for much of the east coast, it’s hard to think about sharing recipes. Cooking seems a bit trivial in the face of this major storm event. And yet, we have to eat. We literally can’t live without food.
The only thing I could think to do is share something warm, cozy, and ultra comforting… an easy dish that can be prepared on a gas stovetop, even while the power is out. This Coconut Chai Rice Pudding is rich, creamy, and delicious. It’s lightly spiced with a chai blend to give it a warm, aromatic Indian essence. The coconut milk lends creaminess without giving an overpowering coconut flavor. You can add a half teaspoon of coconut extract at the end of cooking to make it more coconutty. It’s mildly sweet, and can be sweetened more to taste. It also happens to be dairy free and gluten free. Rich, cozy comfort food… the best way I know to weather the storm.
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Note: If you don’t mind making this a dairy dish, feel free to substitute regular milk for almond milk.
Coconut Chai Rice Pudding
- 1 cup medium grain white rice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk, divided (or your favorite non-dairy milk substitute)
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- 6 tablespoons sugar (or more to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
- Pinch cloves
- Pinch coriander
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
- 4 cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)
- Pour uncooked rice and salt into a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil on the stovetop.
- Decrease heat to a low simmer. Let the rice cook for 15-20 minutes till all the water is fully absorbed and the rice is soft. Remove from heat and keep covered.
- In a separate saucepan, combine 1 cup almond milk, 3/4 cup coconut milk, sugar, and spices. Whisk together over medium low heat till the sugar is fully dissolved and the spices are blended into the milk.
- Add the cooked rice to the pan and stir. Continue to cook on medium low for about 10 minutes longer, stirring frequently, till the mixture is thickened and creamy.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg. Add a tablespoon of the hot rice mixture to the beaten egg and stir with a fork till blended. Beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of almond milk with a fork.
- Slowly drizzle the almond milk and egg mixture into the hot rice mixture, stirring constantly, till fully incorporated.
- Stir in the raisins.
- Continue to heat and stir the mixture for about 3 minutes longer, stirring frequently, till the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat. Taste; season with additional sugar, if desired.
- Serve garnished with a cinnamon stick, if desired. For a more pronounced coconut flavor, you can stir in 1/2 tsp of coconut extract at the end of cooking. The mixture will thicken as it cools. To reheat, add a little almond milk to thin out the mixture as it heats.
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