Before I get to the recipe, let me share with you my new arrival:
A Kuhn Rikon Pressure Cooker! A few weeks ago, I killed my pressure cooker by over-cooking some lentils, forcing them through the pressure valve. I thought I could fix it by taking the cooker completely apart and cleaning each piece thoroughly, but that didn’t work. So I saw my opportunity to upgrade to the pressure cooker I’ve always wanted, the Kuhn Rikon. It arrived yesterday, and I put it to the test this morning. It worked wonderfully–and quietly. While my Fagor hissed loudly while at high pressure, the Kuhn is practically silent. That’s a great feature when your kitchen opens onto your family room and quiet is hard to come by.
Now on to the recipe.
I’ve been craving the coconut sticky rice with mangoes from the Thai restaurant in my hometown. I’ve also had a bag of black rice in my freezer for weeks, just waiting to be used. And I wanted to use the new pressure cooker, so I put the three search terms together and found this recipe for Black Rice Pudding, made in the p.c. But it didn’t contain coconut, other than a mention of coconut cream, so I knew I’d have to adapt it to fit my craving.
Thanks to the persistent pestering…er, I mean pleading…of my daughter E., I bought a fresh coconut a few days ago. Little did I know that she didn’t want to eat it–she envisions drinking out of it like on Gilligan’s Island! I’m afraid she’s going to be disappointed to find that I had to break apart the coconut shell, but I think her disappointment is going to be short-lived when she tastes this dessert. It is unbelievably delicious! It’s sweet, but not too sweet; it’s lightly spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom; and there’s just the faintest taste of coconut and the slight crunch of fresh coconut. It really is heaven on a plate (or bowl).
Coconut Black Rice Pudding
2 cups black rice (black glutinous rice or forbidden rice)
3/4 cups sugar
6 1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1/2 cup grated fresh coconut (or dried flaked coconut)
Rinse the rice a couple of times, and check it for pebbles or other impurities. Put the water, rice, and salt in the pressure cooker, and begin heating it. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
Place the cinnamon, cardamom pods, and cloves into a bag formed of cheesecloth, tie it, and place it into the pot.
Over high heat, bring the cooker to high pressure; lower heat to maintain high pressure and cook for 35 minutes.
Allow the pressure to come down naturally. Open the cooker and stir the rice. Add the coconut, and continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring regularly, until rice is completely cooked and the liquid has become a thick syrup. How long this takes may depend on your rice. (Mine took a lot longer than I expected, about 45 minutes.) The longer you cook, the thicker this will become, so cook it as long as you can.
Remove the spice bag, and spoon the rice into serving dishes. You may serve this warm, at room temperature, or, how I like it, cold. This is particularly good topped with fresh mango. Serves 6-8 (unless the cook is home alone with it all day; then anyone else is lucky to get any!)
According to the original recipe, you can make this without a pressure cooker. Soak the rice for 24 hours before cooking. Simmer in a heavy pot, adding water as needed, for at least 90 minutes or until the rice is done and the pudding is thick.
Time consuming? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely!