Saturday, January 03, 2009

Rice pudding

I haven't had rice pudding since I was a little girl, when my mother used to make it sometimes. It was always a great favourite in my family. Most Japanese people find the very idea of rice pudding strange, and when I looked it up I discovered that there were rice puddings in almost every cultures except Japanese and Korean, even though both are rice-eating countries. In Japan and Korea rice is made into desserts in other ways, but not as rice pudding.

The Man is unusual (for a Japanese person) in that he likes rice pudding, so I decided to make some for him. I used Japanese rice, because that's practically the only rice you can get here. It's REALLY hard to find long-grained rices here, which is extremely annoying when you want to make any dish that is not Japanese and which includes rice. Japanese rice is very glutinous, and sometimes you don't WANT glutinous.

So I made rice pudding using, in the end and after much Internet searching, a recipe from Edmond's Cookbook, because if any recipe is going to work it will be one from Edmond's Cookbook. Edmond's Cookbook only has recipes that work. It is a very old cookbook.

It didn't work, of course, but that was not the fault of Edmond's Cookbook. It was the fault of the very sticky, glutinous rice I used. The cookbook said how much rice and milk to use, but didn't say which kind of rice. I added quite a lot more milk because I knew that most rice sold in NZ is not so sticky, but I did not add enough. What I ended up with was not rice pudding, but rice brick. When it was warm it was still edible, but when it cooled it was pretty well solid.

I did not offer any to The Man. I knew he would not be impressed. When he thinks of rice pudding he thinks of creamy, soft, heavenly rice pudding, like the sort you get in Turkey (where he first had it). He does not think of a glob of solidified sticky rice.

I was so frustrated with this experience I wanted to throw my rice pudding at the wall. I didn't, though. If I threw it at the wall, it would stay there forever, and I do not want to be reminded of my mistake.

But at least I have some idea of what to do next time. Next time, I will use already cooked rice, and maybe try washing it first to get rid of some of the starch. And I will boil, not bake it, so I can add more milk if necessary while it's cooking.

It might even be easier than the way I did it the first time.

What's your favourite rice pudding recipe?


Tabor said...

I do not have a rice pudding recipe, but I did make a sesame chicken dish the other day and only had Arborio rice because I didn't have any Asian rice AND I used the rice cooker. It also didn't work because it is best for risotto!

Nil Zed said...

Ironically, I have to use pudding rice with Chinese or Japanese dishes I make in the UK, because it is the most glutinous and only short grain rice I can buy locally.

You are on the right track: cook the rice first. Do it like you are making sushi: rinse well, cook, then stir & toss as it cools (skip the vinegar though!)

I was going to say, then mix it into a warmed stirred custard & bake. My mom's recipe is to add cooked rice at the end of making a custard, then serve as is for a very creamy pudding; or bake for a different texture. If you know how to make custard, you can just try that.

I decided to look for a recipe for you. I was surprised that both BBC recipe site & seemed to have far more non-egg rice pudding recipes! I never heard of that, though it seems more common!

I sifted through both sites looking for a custard rice pudding, here is the best sounding to me. It uses arborio rice, closer to japanese than long grain rice so this recipe ought to work better.

The step of cooking the rice for 2 hours in the oven could more easily be done over low heat on the stove top in much less time, in my opinion. The oven instead makes the recipe sound old to me.

be careful that the rice & milk is cool enough to not cook the eggs when they are added.

The two step egg addition process is fancy and might make the pudding lighter. But to simplify & save time you could beat the eggs and add all at once.

Good luck!

Badaunt said...

I never thought of using a custard base. I make GREAT custard. But rice pudding isn't supposed to have eggs in it! Well, not the rice pudding we had when I was a kid, anyway.

I might try a really simple variation - do what Nil Zed suggested with the cooked rice, and then just boil it with milk and vanilla and nutmeg. Oh, and sugar, of course. And maybe a bit of cardamom. In fact,maybe I'll try that tonight ...

Will let you know how it goes. At least my first abortive attempt gave me some idea of how Japanese rice behaves when you try to make it into rice pudding. I am ready for it, this time.

Nil Zed said...

duh, I didn't post the link!

Badaunt said...

I tried making it again - washed the already cooked rice, and made it on the stovetop. It was lovely, even though I forgot the vanilla. I had added nutmeg, but no raisins (we don't have any). I added more milk twice - I'm not sure whether I needed to because I had reduced it too much or the rice had soaked it up. But whatever - it was very simple, smooth, and yummy. I now have a basic rice pudding recipe. Thank you!

Violet said...

Hey I'm pretty sure there's no Chinese rice pudding. I remember my brother telling me of his distaste when a non-Chinese friend suggested using rice in a sweet dish.

Badaunt said...

Violet: According to Wikipedia, there is a Chinese rice pudding. However, China is a large place, and it is possible that it is only in certain areas of China.

I made my rice pudding again, with vanilla, and decided it was better with just nutmeg, and possibly (I haven't tried this yet) cardamom. But not vanilla. With vanilla, it is like lumpy custard. Without, it is itself - yummy baby food with a nutmeg flavour. My method is incredibly easy to make, because we usually have cooked rice in the rice cooker. A bit of that, and some milk and sugar and nutmeg, and stir until it goes sort of creamy. Oh, and a lump of butter, which makes it a bit creamier (and makes the saucepan easier to clean afterwards). Delicious!

Kadhine said...

Rice brick!