Friday, February 13, 2009

Cooking Backlog - Brown Rice Pudding

I forgot include this in my introduction/cooking criteria, but I am a huge fan of "comfort food." It's a term that probably encompasses different food for different folk, but for me it pretty much includes any food that makes me a) warm and snuggly inside, b) smile and hum with each bite, c) feel great after eating, and d) smells like heaven.

I was sick on a snowy day a while ago, and craving something warm and sweet to comfort me. I've always loved Rice Pudding, but i'm trying to eat brown rice instead of white rice these days due to its lower glycemic index.

From Foodsies!

It was wonderful! Totally hit the spot. It smelled like heaven, tasted like heaven, and was like giving my tummy a hug. For the recipe:

The only problem I had was that it took forever to cook. Instead of 30-40 minutes, I think it took me more like 90. I'm not sure if I had too much milk or the heat was too low, or something else entirely. EDIT: After having made this a time or two, I think that brown rice just takes longer to get soft than white rice. I have found that cooking it covered for a while and then switching to uncovered can improve the cooking time.

Brown Rice Pudding

1/2 Cup Brown Rice
4 Cups Soy Milk
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Cardamom
1/8 tsp Ginger Powder
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 Cup Raisins
1/4 Cup Almonds and/or two drops Almond Extract

Add all ingredients (except Raisins or Almonds) to a large saucepan over medium heat.

Bring to a gentle boil and then turn down to a simmer. Let simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

It will be done when the rice is soft and plump and not overly liquidy (you want it to be a sticky goop, not a soup). If you want your raisins to be warm and soft, you can add them in now and let it all continue to cook for a few more minutes.

Remote from heat and stir in the almonds.

I sliced up an apple and dipped the apple in the pudding as I ate. I cleaned up the rest with a spoon. I can't say that it cured my cold, but it sure made me feel better for a bit!

This is also a great way to use up leftover rice! You'll just want to halve (or even quarter) the amount of milk, and cook for less time.

If you want to reduce some of the fat/calories/sugar, I recommend subbing in some water in place of some of the milk and reducing the amount of sugar. You can of course substitute agave nectar for the sugar, but I don't know the equivalent measurement off the top of my head.
I also tend to up the cinnamon and vanilla and add nutmeg.

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