Thursday, March 18, 2010

Veggie Might: Vegan Rice Pudding or What Took Me So Long?

Penned by the effervescent Leigh, Veggie Might is a weekly Thursday column about the wide world of Vegetarianism. Also, RIP Alex Chilton.

It’s an established fact, as long-time CHG readers know, that I’m a picky dessert eater. I have a long list of dislikes and flat-out hates that make me annoying when my girlfriends want to share tiramisu or strawberry shortcake.

My youth was spent turning up my nose at many of my grandmother’s and mother’s homemade offerings that didn’t involve chocolate chips or gelatin. I don’t recall if anyone ever offered me rice pudding, but I’m sure I would have refused the grainy white goop. The thing is I have no memory of it being a staple in my family’s dessert/snacktime repertoire.

Rice pudding has come lately to my attention via Indian restaurants. It’s warm, delicious, and simple, and but for the errant raisin, meets all my dessert criteria. Suddenly, I found myself craving it last weekend during the East Coast Monsoonami™, so for the first time, I made my it myself.

Jumping off from the “Rice Pudding” recipe in The Joy of Cooking, I replaced the whole milk with almond milk and used up the jasmine rice that had been hanging out in my pantry for far too long.

Though a bit time consuming, it’s criminally simple to make. It’s really just stirring; and I’m great at stirring. An hour later, I could barely wait for the fragrant, vanilla-scented porridge to cool before I dove in.

“What took me so long to make this?!” I said aloud to my dog. He looked at me with those eyes that say, “Whatever, lady.” I immediately ate two dishes. But it’s cool, since it’s pretty healthy for a dessert.

I still can’t believe my mother never made this for us when we were kids. Or maybe she did and I never ate it. Either way, vegan rice pudding is going into heavy rotation. Rice will never again last a year in this house.

If you dig this recipe, you may also dig

Vegan Jasmine Rice Pudding
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking
Serves 7–8

3/4 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt
4 cups almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
dash of cinnamon
almonds (optional garnish)

1) In a large saucepan, bring salted water and rice to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is fluffy.

2) Add the almond milk and sugar to the rice and increase heat to medium. Stirring frequently, cook for 30–40 minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy.

3) Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

4) Pour into 7–8 ramekins and cover with plastic wrap if you don’t like pudding skin. Once the pudding has cooled, or if you want to serve it warm (as I do), garnish with dashes of cinnamon and almonds, as desired.

5) Take a taste, close your eyes, and try to imagine heaven being better than this. Just try.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, and Price per Serving
Serves 7: 161.8 calories, 3.1 g fat, .9 g fiber, $0.40
Serves 8: 141.6 calories, 2.75 g fat, .75 g fiber, $0.35

3/4 cup jasmine rice: 450 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, $.41
1/4 tsp salt: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $.02
4 cups almond milk: 160 calories, 12g fat, 4g fiber, $1.99
1/2 cup sugar: 418.5 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, $.28
2 tsp vanilla: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $.04
cinnamon: negligible calories, fat, and fiber, $.02
14 almonds: 104 calories, 10g fat, 2g fiber, $.04
Totals: 1132.5 calories, 22g fat, 6g fiber, $2.80
Per serving (totals/7): 161.8 calories, 3.1g fat, .9g fiber, $.40
Per serving (totals/8): 141.6 calories, 2.75g fat, .75g fiber, $.35

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