Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Thai Rice Pudding

4pm must have been a magical time for my mother.

Once my brother and I arrived home from school the tranquillity of the empty house dissipated so rapidly she could be forgiven for thinking it had been mere reverie.

Gasping through the hormonal fug of both early and mid adolescence – there are four years between us – we were mostly unpleasant both to each other and, regretfully, to her, by association. I have no idea how she put up with it and am not surprised that the occasional outburst came our way.

The debilitating and damning effects of the chemical surge were exasperated by hunger (probably because lunch had gone uneaten) and on entering the house the first question was always ‘What’s for tea?’ quickly followed by ‘When?’

Whatever the answer, we would head to the cereal cupboard to sate the hunger brought on by double Chemistry last thing in the afternoon or French lessons with the formidable Mrs. Losse (thanks to whom I will never, ever forget how to conjugate etre and avoir).

Cereal was our go-to, our emergency, our stop gap.

But not always.

There were a few occasions every month, more often in the winter when the weather made us more receptive to it, when a fresh rice pudding would have been slowly cooking in the oven. The soul-fulfilling smell of rice, milk and nutmeg was a great welcome home. Piled into bowls and topped with cinnamon and brown sugar or honey.

On those days we left the fighting until at least five o’clock.

An hour’s peace in exchange for rice pudding? Sounds like a good deal.

Thai Rice Pudding

This is a Thai-rice pudding as opposed to a Thai rice-pudding. The grains are of the fragrant jasmine variety which lends an extra level or warmth to the dish. They are particularly glutinous and sticky as well making for a hearty and satisfying dish just as good last thing at night as it is for breakfast with a cup of coffee.

One part Thai rice
Three/Four parts milk depending on how runny you like your rice pudding
Brown sugar

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the rice, stir the grains until they are coated with the butter then add the milk. Bring to an easy simmer, stir in as much or as little sugar as you like and a fine dusting of nutmeg (whenever I use mutmeg I always think of Anthony Bourdain’s advice, namely ‘go easy’).

Cook for 45 minutes in a pre-heated oven at about 130 degrees C by which point the rice should be cooked. Check halfway through – add more liquid if it needs it. This is an instinctive dish – you’ll know if it’s too dry.

It keeps in the fridge for about a week – great for spooning out and reheating at opportune moments to be topped with a dollop of strawberry jam or nuts and seeds if you are feeling virtuous.

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scandilicious said...

"The soul-fulfilling smell of rice, milk and nutmeg was a great welcome home."

Oh how I envy you! My mother, wonderful though she is, never made rice pudding. It was up to the 'Weegie grandmother to plump me up with this most delectable of winter puddings. We always had cinnamon on top but shall try nutmeg. I often use homemade plum jam which works a treat as a virtuous topping :)

Great recipe, shall have to try making this with thai rice...

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

I, too, was brought up on rice pudding, though not the Thai-rice variety. I must give it a try.

Unknown said...

someone told me recently that nugmeg is a narcotic, which may explain why I have to have it on all milk based sauces, puddings and for some reason brassicas. Also I'm with you on the nous sommes, vous etes but wonder why it doesn't help me shopping in france on holiday? Great blog,thanks.

Just Cook It said...

Scandilicious - At least you didn't have to rely on the tinned stuff (although it is good. Should I be saying that?)

forkful - there's just something so warming about it, maybe the associations with childhood. Gre at stuff

Cottage Garden Farmer - I read that Malcom X was a big fan of nutmeg when he was in jail. Supposed to have similar effects to cannabis.Grated into milk, apparently. Not that I've been researching it. Thanks for the kind words

Simon said...

I unfortunately was never brought up on rice pudding, so I will have to make up for lost time.

The restaurant Im a waiter at serve up an unbelievable warm rice pudding with plum sorbet and plum compote its frickin amazing!

Seeing that this is a thai hybrid how about some coconut or mango sorbet alongside. I shall try and get back to you.

Great blog sir