Coconut Milk Is The Key For A Rich, Vegan-Friendly Rice Pudding

Rice pudding in ceramic bowl
Rice pudding in ceramic bowl - Jupiterimages/Getty Images

Say you've got a sudden craving for a creamy bowl of rice pudding (and all the sweetness, warmth, and nostalgia tied to this age-old dessert). But as you're ready to dive into your practiced routine of making it with rice and milk, you realize your milk carton is practically empty, save for a few last drops. Luckily for you, there are a few cans of coconut milk in your pantry — and coconut milk isn't just a suitable substitute for dairy milk. It's also your key to a rich, vegan-friendly rice pudding.

Why does coconut milk work so well? Well, this plant-based milk is high in fat content, which will make your rice pudding nice and creamy with a luxurious mouthfeel closer to what heavy cream — rather than plain old dairy milk — can impart. Coconut milk's texture is partly due to its hydrogenated state at room temperature, which ensures a thickness unparalleled by regular milk. Additionally, you'll have a pleasant bit of a tropical infusion, thanks to the coconut flavor.

But the charm of this vegan milk doesn't end there. Coconut milk pairs beautifully with various spices, from the aromatic allure of cardamom and cinnamon to the subtly spicy kick of nutmeg and clove. This compatibility enhances the overall flavor profile and elevates the experience of each spoonful of the pudding.

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Elevating A Classic Comfort With The Luxurious Touch Of Coconut Milk

Coconut milk rice pudding with coconuts
Coconut milk rice pudding with coconuts - Marcus Z-pics/Shutterstock

Making rice pudding with coconut milk is a relatively straightforward process similar to how you would normally prepare it. After gathering your ingredients and washing your long-grain rice, combine the rice with water, a cinnamon stick, and star anise in a heavy saucepan or pot. Bring this mixture to a boil before reducing the heat to low, allowing the rice to cook until tender. (Be sure to cover it with a lid!)

Once your rice is cooked, add the coconut milk before sprinkling in the medley of spices you've chosen to complement the coconut milk's flavor. Given the extra richness of the coconut milk, you'll have to be patient while the mixture simmers so the rice can soak it all up. Once you've stirred in sugar or a liquid sweetener and the pudding has thickened to your desired consistency — a good rule of thumb is to look for the consistency of thick yogurt — remove it from heat and let it cool.

And while this pudding is delicious when enjoyed warm, chilling in the refrigerator allows the flavors to meld even further. Before you serve and enjoy it, we recommend adding a splash of coconut milk as a final flourish to bring out the coconut flavor even more. Every spoonful will be a decadent, full-bodied, and vegan-friendly delight, helped along by the simplest of ingredient swaps.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.