It's January which means that it's rainy and chilly and I accept that. It's Vancouver and grey skies and puddles make up the fabric of this city. But while this dampness continues, I'm not resigned to being miserable. I crave comfort and try to make the best of things. Like this fragrant rice pudding. Pure cozy. Lime and coconut make anything bright, so what better combo to beat the mid-winter blahs?
Besides tasting awesome, what I love about this dish is that it's so easy to make. I use the short grained arborio rice here, you know, the rice used to make risotto. Its starchy fat grains makes a nice thick n' creamy pudding without much work on your end.
The lime zest seems slight, but it perfumes this dish with gusto. If you're not too keen on much lime, just use zest from 1/2 a lime and it will still be wonderful. But please don't leave off the toasted coconut garnish. It's crunch and buttery-ness is so nice here.
And did I even need to mention that this dessert is gluten-free and vegan? Besides the light coconut milk from the can, I used coconut milk from the tetra pack instead of skim milk or almond milk (though you could your favorite milk - vegan or dairy). It's not rich and heavy like the coconut milk from the can and it's also not very coconutty, but it's a nice vegan milk. You can find it in the grocery store by the almond milk.
I think this dish is best eaten warm. It soothes the soul and warms the belly in the best way. Though I have to admit, leftovers are lovely to eat right out of the fridge. First thing in the morning, with coffee. Just saying.
Coconut and Lime Rice Pudding
If you want to eat this dish warm, follow the directions as is. If you like a looser, creamier pudding or want to chill it, add in the remaining coconut milk or use a bit more milk when bringing the mixture to a boil. This pudding firms up really well after sitting or chilling.
1/3 c arborio rice
1/2 14 oz can of light coconut milk
2 cups milk (non-dairy milk is fine)
3 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest from 1 lime
1/4 cup shredded coconut
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the rice, coconut milk, milk, sugar, vanilla and lime zest to a boil. Turn down heat to low and let simmer uncovered for 25-35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when mixture thickens and rice is soft.
Heat shredded coconut in a small pan over medium heat – watch it, stirring often as it can burn in an instant. When coconut is golden brown, remove from pan immediately.
Spoon out rice pudding into 4 small dessert bowls and top with toasted coconut.
By Jeannette Ordas of Everybody likes Sandwiches