Sweets can be good for you, too. Hardly anyone would guess that this creamy pudding was made with brown rice. Full of calcium, fiber and vitamins, it's good as a breakfast cereal, for dessert or as a healthy snack.
3 cups of cold water
1 1/4 cups brown rice, raw
4 1/2 cups reduced-fat or skim milk, divided
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie or apple bake seasoning, or
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, plus 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cornstarch
2 egg yolks (optional)
1/4 teaspoon yellow food coloring (Note #1)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
extra milk if required to correct consistency
Use a good non-stick covered saucepan to prepare this dish, unless you prefer to stir it most of the time.
Add rice to cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain rice in a strainer and rinse well in cold water. Run the rice through a food processor or blender until most of the grains are chopped into two to three pieces. Rinse well again and set aside to finish draining. (Note #2)
Place 3 cups of the milk in the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon. When it is boiling, add rinsed rice and raisins. Bring back to a full boil, still stirring. Cover pan tightly and turn heat to lowest possible setting. Cook until tender and the milk is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Check and stir about every 5 minutes during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
Place sugar, cornstarch and seasonings in a bowl and mix well. (Note #3) Add 1 1/2 cups of milk and stir or whisk well. Add to the rice and stir to mix, while still on the fire. Turn up the heat and return to a boil, stirring the whole time.
If using egg yolks, beat with a fork or whisk. Add a little of the rice mixture to the yolks and continue beating. Add yolk mixture to the pan of rice little by little, stirring.
Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. Check consistency: when mounded with the spoon, the pudding should sloooowly ooze down almost completely flat. If too thick, add a little milk. If too thin, stir and boil a little longer.
Add vanilla and food coloring and stir well. May be served hot or cold, with milk or plain. Garnish with a sprinkle of brown sugar or cinnamon-sugar if desired.
Note #1: If desired, add a little saffron with the raisins instead of using food coloring. You may skip coloring altogether, but pudding will be an unattractive beige color.
Note #2: We know that some of the nutrients will be washed away. Most will remain, however, along with the healthy fiber. Do you want creamy pudding or not!
Note #3: If you choose not to use the egg yolks and if the cooked rice seems a little runny, you may wish to add another 1/2 teaspoon of corn starch to the sugar mixture.