Coconut Black Rice Pudding
Well, times have changed. Now I’m the coconut fiend and the traditional Thai dessert kao neow dahm is my favorite way to get my fix at home. Made with sticky whole grain black rice, coconut milk and toasted coconut, this warm rice pudding is creamy, sweet, a little savory, and very coconutty. It’s also dairy-free and gluten-free, making it a great dessert — or breakfast — for almost any guest.
Thai vs Chinese Black Rice
Thai black rice is a type of whole grain glutinous rice usually eaten in Thailand for dessert. Unlike Chinese black rice, also known as forbidden rice, black rice from Thailand is variegated in color, with a nutty taste and sticky texture when cooked. Sticky rice is usually soaked overnight and steamed, but in this preparation, it is simply boiled in water and coconut milk for 45 minutes, until the grains are soft but still pleasantly chewy.
Where To Find Thai Black Rice
You can find Thai black rice at Asian markets or Whole Foods, where it may be labeled “black sticky rice,” “black glutinous rice” or just “black rice.” Chinese black rice can be substituted, though the texture is a little different.
Type of Coconut Milk To Use
Although the pudding is traditionally prepared with full-fat coconut milk, I’ve found that light coconut milk works just as well, producing a lighter dish that also makes a satisfying breakfast. If you’re a fan of Thai mango and sticky rice, you can also serve it with sliced ripe mango, but it isn’t necessary. This particular pudding is all about the coconut, which is how we coconut fiends like it.
Serves4 to 6
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups
- 1 cup
Thai black rice
- 1 cup
light coconut milk
- 1/4 cup
unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3 tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon
In a medium saucepan, mix 2 cups water, rice and coconut milk, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring occasionally. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, make sure to keep a close eye, adding extra water, 1/4 cup at a time, if the rice gets too dry.
Meanwhile, toast the coconut. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the coconut on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes or until golden-brown, stirring once during baking.
When the rice is tender, add the sugar and salt. Simmer for a couple more minutes, or until pudding is desired texture. (Add a little more water for a looser pudding; let cook several more minutes for a drier pudding.) Taste and adjust seasoning. Spoon into individual bowls, top with toasted coconut flakes, and serve.
When making this pudding for breakfast, I only use 2 tablespoons of sugar for a less sweet version.
For a richer pudding, use full-fat coconut milk. Reserve the coconut cream — the thick layer that rises to the top of the can — and use a little to top each serving before adding the toasted coconut flakes.
You can reduce the cooking time by soaking the rice overnight before cooking. In a medium bowl, cover the rice with cold water and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. Drain and proceed with the recipe, reducing the water to 1-1 1/2 cups and the cooking time to 30 minutes before adding the sugar and salt.
Related: Beyond Rice Pudding: 7 Creamy Whole Grain Dessert Recipes
(Images: Anjali Prasertong)