Em­brace your in­ner dag

Life & Style Weekend - - TASTE - THE WEEK­END COOK with Maggie Cooper

THERE’S some­thing in­cred­i­bly com­fort­ing about a good rice pud­ding, par­tic­u­larly in the win­ter months. Over the past few years I have crossed to the Dark Side, so to speak, and been mak­ing this child­hood favourite with black gluti­nous rice and co­conut milk for an Asian-in­spired hit of ve­gan yum­mi­ness. But this week, with friends com­ing for din­ner amid howl­ing wind­storms and chilly tem­per­a­tures (and be­ing all out of black rice in my pantry) I em­braced my in­ner dag and made the ver­sion my mum used to make. Medium or short-grain rice works best for this dessert. Try cal­rose, sushi or Ar­bo­rio va­ri­eties, as long-grain rice won’t give you the creamy tex­ture you need. You can flavour rice pud­ding with dried fruit and a touch of cin­na­mon or nut­meg, and it’s de­li­cious with vanilla stirred through. When buy­ing vanilla, avoid the im­i­ta­tion essence if you can. The real deal is a lit­tle more ex­pen­sive, but you don’t need much and it lasts well in the pantry after open­ing.

Creamy rice pud­ding

Serves 4 IN­GRE­DI­ENTS: ◗ 3⁄4 cup un­cooked cal­rose, sushi or Ar­bo­rio rice ◗ 1 3⁄4 cups milk, di­vided ◗ 1⁄4 cup su­gar ◗ pinch of salt ◗ 1 large free-range egg, beaten ◗ 1⁄3 cup sul­tanas ◗ 1 tbs un­salted but­ter ◗ 1 tsp vanilla essence or 1⁄2 tsp vanilla paste ◗ 1 tsp ground cin­na­mon or nut­meg METHOD: Place rice in a medium saucepan and add boil­ing wa­ter to 1cm above the level of the rice. Bring to the boil, cover and re­duce heat to very low; steam rice un­til all wa­ter is ab­sorbed and rice is ten­der, about 15 min­utes. While rice is cook­ing, com­bine 1 1⁄4 cups of the milk with the su­gar and salt. Heat on low un­til hot, then add the rice and cook, stir­ring gen­tly, un­til creamy – about 15 min­utes. Stir through re­main­ing milk, egg and sul­tanas and cook for a fur­ther two min­utes, stir­ring gen­tly. Re­move from heat and stir through vanilla and but­ter. Di­vide into four bowls or cups and sprin­kle with cin­na­mon or nut­meg.

PHOTO: 123RF

A creamy rice pud­ding is the per­fect win­ter com­fort food.

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