I make rice pudding almost every time I have leftover steamed rice in my refrigerator. Rice pudding is easy-to-make comfort food and it can be flavored in a wide variety of ways, so it never gets boring. The leftover rice in my refrigerator is usually white rice, however there are a few restaurants in my take-out rotation that will throw in an order of brown rice alongside my order of white rice. I don’t have anything against brown rice and enjoy the nutty flavor it has when compared to white rice, but white rice is typically my first choice for rice pudding. When I have leftover steamed brown rice in my refrigerator, however, I will still turn it in to rice pudding. My Coconut & Cinnamon Brown Rice Pudding is a terrific way to use up leftover brown rice. It is creamy and flavorful – and even family members who aren’t brown rice fans are sure to enjoy it.
The pudding starts with brown rice that has already been cooked and cooled. I combined the brown rice with light coconut milk and sugar. For the milk, use the creamy, canned variety, not the type that comes in a carton. Light, or low fat, coconut milk has a lot of richness to it that works well with the brown rice. The sugar both plays up the flavor of the coconut milk and brings some nice sweetness to the nutty rice. Cinnamon is a delicious flavor in many rice pudding recipes and this recipe is no exception. The flavor of the cinnamon goes well both with the nutty brown rice and the rich coconut milk. One other positive trait is that the cinnamon gives the rice pudding a darker brown color and serves to mask the color of the brown rice a bit. This gives the pudding a more uniform appearance, so the rice blends into the rest of the pudding nicely, rather than sticking out against a light colored background – which might make the dish look more like a bowl of cereal than a bowl of pudding!
This pudding is delicious when served warm on the day it is made, however it is just as delicious after it has been chilled. It will keep in the fridge, covered, for a few days if you aren’t able to eat it right away. While my pudding is plain, you can feel free to stir in some golden raisins or dried cranberries after cooking to give the pudding some additional flavors and textures.
Coconut & Cinnamon Brown Rice Pudding
1 cup (approximately) plain, cooked brown rice
2 cups light coconut milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
small pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, whisk together coconut milk, rice, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Bring milk mixture to a simmer over low heat and cover. Cook until almost all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, about 45-50 minutes. Check on the pudding from time to time, stirring to prevent the pudding from sticking to the sides of the pan. If mixture comes above a low simmer, reduce the temperature.
The pudding should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon when it is done. Remove from heat, whisk in vanilla extract and transfer to a separate bowl to cool – or divide into individual dessert cups.
Store, covered, in the refrigerator.