Monday, November 16, 2009

Coconut Cardamom Arroz con Leche


My favorite kinds of breakfasts are ones that also double as dessert. Though commonly eaten as an after dinner treat in Latin America, an extremely talented cook named Nancy makes arroz con leche every morning at the band camp that the doc and I attend every summer. There's nothing better than a bowl warm, sweet, creamy rice infused with cinnamon and dotted with plump raisins on a foggy, cold morning under the redwoods when you've been up dancing til 4 am the night before.


Although I woke up indoors this morning, to a crisp, sunny dawn (ok, it was 10:30), after going to bed at midnight after watching the Colbert Report on Hulu, arroz con leche sounded like just the ticket.

Sweetened condensed milk, commonly called for in arroz con leche, scares me. Why would I use scary, sticky, canned dairy when I can get organic, Strauss creamery milk that comes in a gorgeous glass bottle, and this unrefined hippie sugar I found at Rainbow?

'Herbally purified,' it claims to be... hmmmm, I wonder what herb they could be talking about???


Milk shouldn't be shelf stable - that's just wrong. It should be kept in a refrigerator, like God intended. Canned coconut milk, on the other hand, that's ok by me. I like putting coconut milk in just about everything. Coconut milk makes me think of cardamom, so I decided to add that to my arroz this morning, along with some vanilla bean. Pretty fantastic, if you ask me. Jay scarfed it down and went back for seconds; and he doesn't even like rice pudding. So there you have it.


Arroz con Leche with Coconut Milk, Cardamom and Vanilla

Makes 4 servings
Time: about 1 hour

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup white Jasmine or Basmati rice, rinsed briefly in a strainer
3" cinnamon stick
5 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
14 oz. can coconut milk
1 cup whole milk
1 cup water (or additional milk)
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup sugar or sweetener of your choice
1/3 cup raisins or currants

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the rice, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 - 2 minutes. Add the milks, water, vanilla bean pod and scrapings and salt. Bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring every few minutes, until the rice is very tender and the liquid has thickened somewhat, 20 - 30 minutes.

Add the sugar and raisins. Cook 5 - 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until thickened to your liking. Let stand off the heat for 10 minutes before serving. It will continue to thicken as it sits, so thin with a little milk if you like.

This rice pudding is best served slightly warm. Store in the fridge for up to several days.

4 comments:

  1. hello
    I love rice pudding so much since I'am from the Caribbean, but with the Cardamon I will give it a try
    thank you for sharing

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome! I'm a cardamom junkie and use it whenever I get the chance. Let us know how you like it. :)

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  2. Somehow, I doubled the rice without doubling the liquid, but it was good anyway! The coconut, vanilla and cardamom are delicious together!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad it turned out well! I love those flavors together, too. Thanks for the note. :)

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Nice comments make me warm and fuzzy!