Friday, 20 May 2011

Sticky Black Rice Pudding with Papaya, Lime & Toasted Coconut

This one is for Kat and the crew from the Contact Improvisation dance retreat I catered for over Easter down at St Andrews Beach in Victoria. Of all the desserts I make when catering for a retreat, this would have to be the favourite. I love it because it's simple and cheap to make, and so versatile: you can eat it warm in the winter or cool in the summer.

To be honest, I am not sure what it is that makes this dessert so popular with everyone. It's just rice and sugar! I guess the black/purple colour is pretty stunning, especially when you add 

the contrasting creamy white coconut custard.

If you top the pudding with fresh papaya, lime zest and toasted shredded coconut you take the dessert to a whole other level. When I eat it, I am always reminded of Bali, where it's traditionally eaten for Sunday breakfast (and made incredibly sweet). They simply drizzle a little salty coconut milk over the top (instead of the custard I suggest here).

I love to add anything tropical to this recipe. Bananas are especially good, either cooked in with the sticky black rice (add just after you have sweetened the rice) or fresh and sliced over the custard instead of papaya and coconut.

Sticky Rice

500gm black rice
300gm palm (grated) or coconut sugar
3/4 cup sultanas
2x vanilla beans, scape seed
1 tbs cinnamon
200ml coconut cream


800ml coconut cream
2 tsp agar agar
2 tbs arrowroot powder
1/4 cup white palm sugar, light agave syrup or organic cane sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Papaya, Lime Zest and Coconut salad

1/2 ripe papaya, finely diced
1x lime zest
1 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted

Black rice pudding

Place the black rice in a pot with one inch of water over the line of the rice. If you have time soak the rice to shorten the cooking time overnight or for a couple of hours. Place on a medium heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally (use a heat mat if you have one) to prevent burning or sticking.
Add more water as needed (cook like you would cook risotto) cook until the rice grain begins to cook and split apart or is soft, taking care not to add too much water. The texture should resemble and thick ploppy texture and not be too watery. Once the rice grain is fully cooked and soft add sultana's and cinnamon and cook for a further 5 minute. Add the coconut cream and allow the rice to absorb it. Then add sugar and stir to dissolve it fully. Spoon into a large dessert dish (I use a 30cm x 20cm white baking dish) the rice should be approximately 1.5 inches high. Alternately spoon into attractive dessert dishes of your choice, glass works best so you can see the contrasting layers. Allow it to cool in the fridge while you make the custard.


Gently heat the coconut cream with the sugar. Mix arrowroot and agar agar together in a mug of water and dissolve to form a paste. Mixing arrowroot takes a few moments, at first it can be very stiff but keep stirring, it will soften! Slowly stir into hot (but not boiling) coconut cream and hand whisk until the coconut cream thickens into a smooth custard. Remove from the heat and allow the custard to cool for 2-3 minutes. Pour over the black rice to form a one inch thick custard. Place in the fridge to fully cool, approximately 30 minutes.

Garnish with papaya, lime and toasted coconut salad, or banana as suggested above in blog notes or simply garnish with toasted coconut.

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