Rice pudding is a glutinous mass of rice boiled in milk or water. Usually raisins and cinnamon are added to the pudding for enhanced flavor. Often consumed as a dessert, the rice pudding is a global fare. There are quite a number of variations of the rice based pudding, prepared with different varieties of rice, different varieties of milk, spices, flavorings, a variety of sweeteners, and eggs. The pudding can be served both for dinner and dessert, with the dessert version often making use of sugar as the sweetener. Banana rice pudding, kheer, moghli, Arroz Doce and Arroz Con Leche are some of the popular variants of the basic rice pudding, with the pudding popular in almost all areas of the world. The pudding can be prepared by baking or boiling method. The rice pudding recipe may differ from one part of the world to another depending upon the choice of the ingredients and the preparation method.
Here follows the list of commonly used ingredients in preparation of rice based puddings:
- Rice- the rice used in preparation of the pudding may consist of white rice, black rice, or brown rice. Usually short grain white rice is used for preparation of rice puddings; however, long grain, jasmine, or basmati white rice can also be used for making the pudding.
- Milk- whole milk, evaporated milk, coconut milk, or milk cream can be used for making rice based puddings.
- Sweetener- usually white sugar is used as the sweetener in rice pudding; however a few rice pudding recipe variations suggests using brown sugar, syrups, and sweetened condensed milk as the sweetening agents.
- Spices- among spices, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg are popularly used.
- Flavorings- the flavoring ingredients usually consist of vanilla, lemon, rosewater, orange, and pistachio.
Popular Rice Pudding Recipes
A few popular rice puddings are discussed hereunder:
- Custard rice pudding- A mix of rice, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, lemon rind, rains, and milk is poured in a buttered baking dish, sprinkled with nutmeg, and baked in oven after placing the baking dish in a pan, half filled with hot water. The dish can be served chilled or warm with whipped topping.
- Creamy rice pudding- the creamy rice pudding recipe suggests adding boiled rice to a mix of sugar, milk, and a pinch of salt, and slow boiling the pudding until creamy and thick. Thereafter, a mixture of raisins and eggs, along with some more milk, is added, and cooked for a couple of minutes. The dish is served warm after stirring in vanilla and butter.
- Kheer- this is the most popular rice based pudding made by cooking rice in milk. Sugar is used as the sweetener. Raisins, nuts, and cinnamon are added to enhance the flavor of the pudding.
Rice Pudding in Different Countries
The type of rice pudding may vary from one country to the other. Country wise classification of rice puddings is described as under:
- Africa- the rice pudding in Africa is known as M’halbi, made with cinnamon as the main spice, and rosewater as the flavoring agent.
- Cambodia- in Cambodia, banana based rice pudding is quite popular.
- Thailand- khao niao dam is the name for the rice pudding in Thai cuisine, referring to black rice porridge.
- Pakistan- Pakistani rice pudding is known as firni, made with cardamom, pistachio, and broken rice, and served cold.
- India- in India, rice pudding is popularly known as kheer, made with rice, milk, and sugar, raisins, and nuts are often added for enhanced flavor. The south Indian version is known as payasam, prepared with slow boiled milk, jaggery or sugar, and plentiful amount of nuts.
- Lebanon- in Lebanese cuisine, the rice pudding is known as moghli, typically made with rice, anise, ginger, and caraway as the ingredients.
- Portugal- the Portuguese rice pudding, known as Arroz Doce, is made with rice, milk, eggs, sugar, lemon peel, and cinnamon.
- Spain- the Spanish rice pudding is known as Arroz con leche, and is made with rice, milk, and sugar. At times, lemon and cinnamon are also used.
- United kingdom- rice pudding is the traditional dessert of UK, made with milk, cream, rice and sugar. At times, the UK rice pudding recipe suggests using nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon as the additional ingredients for enhanced flavor. The pudding can either be made by baking it in oven, or through boiling method in a saucepan. In North England, cream is replaced with butter, and a pinch of salt is added to the pudding. The recipe suggests allowing the pudding mix to stand for an hour prior to being served. This pudding is usually served cold, after being cut into slices, and eaten like cake. The pudding can also be served hot, after pouring cream on top. Jam can also be used as the topping for the pudding.
- United States- in New England area of U.S., the pudding usually makes use of long grain rice, sugar, milk, and maple syrup. Raisins, nutmeg, and cinnamon are often used for augmented flavor. Such a pudding is partially cooked on stove and partially in oven. It is first cooked in double broiler on stove, and the finishing touch is given in oven.
It is a common belief in Christian and Dutch folklore that rice porridge or rice pudding is a meal for people going to heaven, with the dish being eaten with golden spoon.