Black rice pudding with salted coconut cream

Glossy black grains of rice stuck to our daughter’s baby cheeks has become a familiar sight as she so loves this inky pudding. Any Asian supermarket should sell black rice from either Indonesia or Thailand. It is packed with nutrients and has a great nuttiness, but needs long soaking to soften the pre-packed hulls before cooking. I like the rice not too sweet (do add more palm sugar if you’d prefer) and a luscious topping of salty coconut cream provides the perfect unctuous contrast.

Fire Islands by Eleanor Ford (Murdoch Books, £25). Photography by Kristin Perers

Rice Pudding Ingredients Serves: 4


  1. Wash the rice well in several changes of water, picking out any grit or husks. Leave to soak in cold water overnight.
  2. Drain the water and wash the rice again. Put in a pan with 800 ml (3¼ cups) water and the pandan leaves. Bubble uncovered over a medium heat for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until you have a soft, porridge-like rice pudding. Depending on your rice, it may need more water and longer cooking for the grains to yield.
  3. Discard the pandan leaves and stir in the palm sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring, for a final 5 minutes. Leave to cool to room temperature. Mix a pinch of salt into the coconut cream and serve in a jug to drizzle cool white over inky black.
  4. Make homemade toasted coconut cream for a nutty, complex, slightly smoky flavour. Start with pieces of mature coconut fresh removed from the shell. Set the brown skin of the coconut over a naked flame until it toasts and nearly blackens (scrape o. any very black bits). Grate the coconut and skin very finely and mix with an equal quantity of water and a pinch of salt. Sit for a few minutes, then massage and squeeze to extract as much oil and flavour as possible from the coconut. Strain into a jug.
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