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Stovetop Rice Pudding

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Oh, I'll just bet you smiled when seeing the name of this recipe, for this is one of the ultimate comfort foods. Most people have a lovely memory associated with it, perhaps of the person who first made it for you, or the happy family events on which it would appear.

One of the nicest things about Rice Pudding is that there are so many ways to make it. If you are American, the type at your house probably had Vanilla, and Nutmeg as flavorings. In Mexico, Where it is called Arroz con Leche, the tastes are of Cinnamon Sticks, Vanilla, and Piloncillo, a special sort of Brown Sugar. Persian cooks call their festive version Sholezard, a Cinnamon, Saffron, and Rosewater perfumed version which is particularly luxurious.

The variety of ingredients is great. They may include not only the spices, but also different sorts of fruits, and liquids for added flavor. Raisins are the most common additions, but you may decide to add any sort of chopped, dried fruit such as Apricots or Dates. Chopped, toasted Nuts may also be stirred in at the end of cooking to lend a bit of textural interest. The liquid you choose may be Half and Half, Milk, Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Soy Milk, or Water.

The amount and variety of sweetener used is also a matter of choice. Sugar may be brown or white, Maple Syrup lends a traditional American flavor, Honey works very well, and those of you on special diets may use an artificial sweetener such as Sucralose. The most important thing to remember when sweetening Rice Pudding is that whatever your choice, it must not be added until cooking is complete. This is because if any type of Sugar is in the mixture along with raw Rice, the grain will never soften. For this same reason, Fruit Juices are not suitable liquids, since their natural Sugars will keep the Rice from cooking properly.

The recipe below has the basic proportions You need for a batch which will make 6-8 servings, depending on the size of your appetite. It is intended as a starting point for your own creativity, taste, and caloric requirements.


1 cup Short-Grain Rice, such as Calrose or Arborio

5 or 6 cups of Liquid, depending on the final texture desired
Note: Liquid may be Half and Half, Milk, Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Soy Milk, or Water

1/2 teaspoon Salt

Note: you may use 4 Cinnamon Sticks, 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon Saffron Threads, or 1 teaspoon Cardamom. If Vanilla or other flavored Extracts are to be used, the quantity may be 1-2 teaspoons, which should be added after cooking. 1/4-1/2 cup Rosewater may be used as well, depending on taste.

1 cup Sugar, or the equivalent in Artificial Sweetener
Note: Sugar type may be White, Brown, Date, Honey, or Maple Syrup. Do not add Sugar until after cooking is complete.

1 cup of optional additions, such as chopped Dried Fruit, Toasted Nuts, or Raisins: stirred in at the end of cooking


Place the Rice, Spices if they are to be used, and 5 cups of the liquid in a heavy-bottomed, 3-quart Saucepan. Set aside for 1 hour to soak.

Place the Saucepan over a medium flame, and stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.

Lower the heat to Simmer, and keep stirring constantly for 20 minutes, until the mixture is thick, and the Rice completely cooked.

Remove from heat. Stir in chosen form of Sugar, additions such as Fruit, Nuts, and/or Extracts. Add up to 1 cup of Liquid if a softer texture is desired. The pudding will become thicker as it stands and cools.

Serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to three days. A nice thing to do is package this in individual, disposable containers to carry for breakfast or lunch on the go.


Copyright 2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
hosted by the Gantseh Megillah

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