All right, my little cooking children. There are no words to describe this week's confection. Except to say that it comes from my Ecuadorian neighbors (who may have made it up and it may not be the national dish of Ecuador at all). And it is comfort beyond grandma's quilt, a good book, a cuppa cocoa, and your best friend.
Let us dive in.
Ecuadorian Coconut Rice Pudding
(This can be doubled. Or quadrupled. Or octupled.)
1 cup rice
4 cups water
1 stick cinnamon
1/2" vanilla bean pod (Please, I beg of you, use a vanilla bean, not extract. The difference knows no bounds, and using extract will make vanilla beans all over the world weep inconsolably. Me too.)
2 whole cloves (little dried brown flower buds, not garlic.)
2 cans coconut milk or cream of coconut
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 slices of yellow American cheese (I know, right?! I think it thickens the pudding, and you can't taste it. But it is against my principles to eat something that has to be labeled "food"–as in "cheesefood"–in order for me to know it is edible. So I don't use it in the pudding anymore, and it is fine without. But hey. It's up to you.)
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup raisins (These would be great in it. I leave them out due to the anti-raisin faction in my home.)
Sugar to taste (but only if you want to go into a sugar-coma. I don't add any sugar. The condensed milk and coconut do just fine.)
- Pour water into a saucepan and bring to boil.
- Add rice, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean (I mean it), and cloves. Leave until rice consumes the water and is soft. (Around 20-30 minutes. Check toward the end.)
- Slowly add coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Stir slowly and constantly so it will not stick. Add raisins (if you must. I must) and coconut, and keep stirring.
- After it starts to thicken add the cheese. (Unless you are like me and it is against your ethics to eat cheesefood. Also, here is where you add the extra sugar that you don't need–before you add the cheese that you don't want. Honestly, you should just skip step 4. The pudding thickens as it sits and it is plenty sweet.)
- Serve hot or cold. But baby it's cold outside. Serve this puppy hot.
- Pass out with a sigh and go to heaven as your body digests this bit of gastronomic delight.