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Tuesday, the S.O. went under for a root canal.  So after a couple of days of nothing but soup, mashed potatoes, and milkshakes, his palate was bored.  I thought I’d cheer him up with a treat that had more exotic flavor, yet was still easy on his choppers.

I put together this sumptuous South Asian-inspired pudding, plump with coconut, and hypnotically seasoned with saffron.  This recipe is a combination of components from a coconut pudding found in Copeland Marks’ The Exotic Kitchens of Indonesia, and a conventional rice pudding recipe.  My favorite feature of this recipe is its unusually refreshing and cooling mouthfeel, introduced by the coconut water.

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Saffron and Coconut Water Rice Pudding

Yield:  4 servings

  • 1 cup jasmine rice (when uncooked)
  • 3 C whole milk
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 C coconut water
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 C shredded coconut

1.  Prepare rice, either in rice cooker or on stovetop [my rice cooker formula is 1 C rice to 1 C water].

2.  In a separate pot, combine milk, saffron, coconut water, and 1/4 C sugar.  Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble around the edges, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.

3.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth.  Add remaining 1/4 C sugar, and whisk until fluffy and pale yellow, about 20 seconds.  Add cornstarch, and whisk another 30 seconds or until smooth.

4.  Temper the egg mixture by slowly adding 1/2 C of the warmed milk mixture, stirring continuously.

5.  Add the tempered egg mixture to the remaining milk mixture.  Cook over medium heat until thickened [should coat a wooden spoon], about 30 minutes, stirring frequently.

6.  Add cooked rice and coconut [I like the frozen finely-shredded coconut from the Indian markets] to the pudding.  Stir until well-incorporated, and keep over medium heat until the pudding bubbles (large, “ploppy” bubbles).  Pour into serving dishes; serve either warm or cold.

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