That's why when I found a $1.99 bag of Thai black rice the other day, my heart literally skipped a beat. If the sandy beaches and the exotic culture were out of my price range, the cuisine was most certainly not. I had a vague recollection of seeing a thai black rice pudding recipe somewhere among the my cook book cannon, so I snapped up that bag of rice and made a beeline for my pots and pans. A quick bit of searching unearthed the source of my memory. Lorna Sass, once again coming to the rescue, had included a recipe for Coconut-Black Rice Pudding.
Black rice may officially be the most beautiful grain with which I have ever worked. It's a squid-ink black as you wash it, and immediately taints any water it touches with a deep purple. As it cooks, this sweet rice takes on a indigo hue, and cooks up into what must be the most gorgeous rice pudding in the whole wide world.
Thai Coconut-Black Rice Pudding with Mango
Adapted from Whole Grains Every Way, Every Day
1 cup Thai black sticky rice or Chinese black forbidden rice, rinsed
Pinch of salt
1 can (14 to 15 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
4 tablespoons sugar, to taste
1 fresh mango (or frozen equivalent)
Step one: In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, bring 1 ¾ cups of water to a boil. Add the rice and salt and return to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the rice is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. It’s all right if there is some unabsorbed water.
Step two: Stir in the coconut milk and sugar to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the rice absorbs most of the coconut milk, about 10 minutes. Leave the mixture slightly soupy since the rice will continue to absorb the coconut milk as it sits.
Step three: Spoon into individual dessert bowls or use martini glasses for special effect. Garnish with chunks of chopped mango. Serve warm, room temperature, or chilled.