In Thailand, Black Rice Pudding is often served for breakfast, afternoon tea, and dessert. In my travels I’ve seen two versions, one is a loose rice slurry, cooked stovetop with coconut cream added afterward. The other is a rice and coconut custard, baked in the oven and served plain or with coconut ice cream.
This recipe is the later, the milk coconut combined with eggs, cooked until from and creamy is delicious warm or cold. In this version, I pushed the traditional recipe just a bit with a hint of shredded coconut for greater texture and moisture. I’ve been really enjoying playing with texture as well as colour lately and this was the perfect dish to add a touch of chewiness.
Every culture has a version of rice pudding. It’s comfort food at its finest, starchy, smooth, and creamy. This version is made with black rice, also known as forbidden rice or emperor’s rice; it’s not black so much as purple.
The Darker The Rice
Black rice is high in iron, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. Its grain is dense and high in fiber and that’s why it’s recommended to soak the grain first before you cook it, a minimum of four hours, though overnight is preferred. I didn’t know this the first time I cooked with it, four hours later it was still crunchy. A little research can go a long way in the kitchen. Live & learn.
Rule of thumb with rice, the darker the rice, the higher the nutritional value and, the longer it takes to cook.
I shot the rice (below) in its dry state alongside rice that had been soaked so that you can get an idea of how much it swells. This is one cup of black rice in both bowls. The water that drains off, is dark purple, and believe me, it stains.
Colour & Consistancy
If you’re thinking about experimenting with black rice it’s important to know its properties, it’s a wonderful grain to cook with, rich and nutty but it bleeds and so it’s best to either isolate it or utilize this property in any dishes you try.
This black rice pudding is a personal favorite, it reminds me of Thailand, its people, and their innately generous spirit. This weekend we’re having friends over to celebrate the lunar new year and this will be dessert.
Serve warm or cold. In Thailand, Black Rice Pudding is often served with sesame seeds. I chose black sesame seeds here to emphasize that black grain and, to have a little fun.
In Thailand, Black Rice Pudding is often served for breakfast, afternoon tea, and dessert. Richly favoured with coconut and vanilla, with a sweet base of black rice, it’s a comforting custard with an Asian flair.
1cup black glutinous rice 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar 2cups coconut milk (divided) 1cup water 3 eggs 2 tbsp granulated sugar 1 vanilla bean 1/2cup shredded, unsweetened coconut optional: finish with black sesame seeds
1. In a medium-sized saucepan, combine strained black rice, brown sugar in a pan, a 1/2 cup coconut milk, and 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 – 50 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. 2. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). In a medium bowl, combine remaining coconut milk, sugar, & coconut. Split vanilla bean in half and with the tip of a knife scrape out contents of the pod and add it to coconut milk mixture, allow to stand for 20 minutes to hydrate coconut. 4. Add eggs to coconut milk bowl and gently whisk until mixed. Strain the egg mixture into a pitcher, reserve coconut. 5. Coat inside of four ramekins with non-stick spray. Spoon (now slightly cooled) black rice mixture into prepared ramekins, fill to about half full. Then evenly pour coconut custard mixture to cover the rice, top each dish with an equal amount of reserved coconut. 6. Place ramekins in a roasting pan, then place roasting pan, on rack in center of your oven. Carefully pour in enough hot water to halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover entire pan with foil and bake for about 35-45 minutes, or until the custard has set.
Do ahead: soak black rice for a minimum of six hours, or overnight, then strain. This will soften and swell the rice.
Prep Time:90 minutes
Cook Time:45 Minutes
Keywords: Thai Rice Pudding, Black Rice Pudding, Forbidden Pudding
Fearlessly cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer, food marketing consultant, recipe developer and sustainability advocate. A Cordon Bleu trained chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and now shares all things delicious - right here.