Thursday, 8 March 2012

Jasmine Rice Pudding with Poached Rhubarb

In the farmers' market right now, and quite likely in the shops pretty soon, are the gorgeous rosy pink stalks of the first of rhubarb. It's the one other thing besides purple sprouting broccoli that's in season in this lull between winter and spring.

This rhubarb is 'forced', which sounds kind of bad, but actually just mean they are grown in darkened sheds. They are actually more succulent and prettier than the sturdier outdoor-grown mottled green stalks. Before coming to Londom, I've never seen rhubarb or even heard of them, let alone taste them, and my first try eating them plainly cooked (sans sweetener) left my mouth puckered at its sourness. But subsequent attempts roasting or poaching them with some sugar or honey changed my mind and I'm in love with this sour fruit-vegetable.

Since the cold winds and rain have returned after a week of surprisingly sunny weather, I'm not going to do anything involving sorbets or jelly, nor strawberries (oh when will you arrive?). Rice is my ultimate comfort food, whether for savoury or sweet. I don't buy pudding rice; I simply use jasmine rice, cooked much like congee, but with a rich stir of thick coconut milk instead of milk, much like I do for traditional black sticky rice pudding. I know the traditional british rice pudding is baked in the oven and has a 'skin' on top; I do't know about you but I really, don't fancy skin.

Coconut Jasmine Rice Pudding
serves 2 greedy people, or up to 4
1/2 cup jasmine rice, rinsed twice and drained
1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut cream (i.e. the thick portion floating on top)
1 cinnamon stick
pinch of unrefined sea salt

1. In a saucepan, combine rice with water, coconut milk, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes, till it's cooked to a soft creamy consistency.
2.Remove from heat, before stirring in the coconut cream and let cool, or you can chill extra in the fridge for a cold pudding.

Poached Rhubarb with Ginger
1 pound rhubarb stalks
250ml water
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
3-4 tbsp unrefined cane sugar

1. Bring sugar, water and ginger to a simmer in a wide pan, till sugar dissolves.
2. Trim and cut rhubarb stalks into 1" long pieces and add to the ginger syrup. Bring to a simmer again, for just another 1-2 minutes. You want the rhubarb tender but not falling apart into a compote/mush.
3. Serve warm, or cool if you like, with the rice pudding, and you can also keep the extra in the fridge to top porridge or pancakes (sourdough crepes!) or plain Greek yogurt.

A scoop of creamy pudding with the faint fragrance of jasmine rice, the richness of coconut milk, and the sweet-sharpness of rhubarb,with just that little heat from the ginger, was all I needed on that cold rainy day. Oh, and a big warm fluffy pillow, and the temporary make-belief that I had no schoolwork due. Ah, bliss.

I'm submitting this to the One Ingredient (Rhubarb) Challenge hosted by Working London Mummy this month, and How to Cook Good Food on alternate months!


  1. What a delicious combination, I never would have thought of putting these two together!

  2. Oh ! I LOVE the color! Sounds interesting with rhubarb & ginger. And the coconut rice pudding is a pure delice!! Yummy! Have a nice weekend Shu Han! :)

  3. Ah, rice pudding and rhubarb!! I haven't had this in years! My mother used to make it for desserts sometime. I loved the sharp acidity of the rhubarb paired with mild and gently sweet rice - she never used jasmine rice or coconut milk though - her rice puds were rather more standard. I love the sound of this and how creamy it looks nomnom :D

  4. I love it when I see rhubarb in the shops. It's one of my favourite fruits/vegetables. When I was a child we had it in the garden so I often got to eat rhubarb but now it feels like such a treat.

  5. Heh, i *love* the skin on rice pudding, but then I was brought up eating it (much int he same way I always ate and enjoyed the skin on custard, the crusts on bread...). However, I would happily forgo the skin to have a taste of this, it sounds delicious.

  6. farine: thanks, think of it as a sort of light chunky compote with a sort of breakfast porridge ;)

    kit: thanks! I love the colours too!

    charles: haha I know this may sound weird to some, but I don't always have milk in the fridge whereas I will always have coconut milk in the larder. same for the pudding vs jasmine rice. I'm glad this brought back your childhood memories (:

    konde: thank you!

    corina: it's such a shame that it's gone a little out of sight today): try dropping by a farmer's market, they should have plenty in the comign weeks!

    the grubworm: I love the crust on bread too, my mum used to cut it off when she made sandwiches and I didn't understand why she would do that. skin though.. hmm..

  7. Thank you for reminding me rhubarb will be starting soon. I am not sure if Switzerland or France does forced rhubarb (I know it's much more popular in UK), but even the "standard" rhubarb will appear soon! I love rhubarb and even as a child I loved to bite the sour rhubarb stalk (I like and have always liked sour food a lot).
    Your dessert looks beautiful. The rhubarb colour is so gorgeous! I will look for it tomorrow on the market.

  8. I've never actually tried rhubarb before, but this sounds lovely! I might have to give it a go. Beautiful photos as well :)

  9. YES for rhubarb season! It's one of my favorites and i love the idea of pairing it with creamy delicious rice pudding!

  10. I would eat your rice pudding even though I don't normally like it. I love your idea of using jasmine rice and cooking it with coconut milk & cream. I loathe the skin too....yuk!

  11. sissi: I didn;t know you could bite the rhubarb stalk raw! I love sour food a lot too. I can happily suck a lemon quarter without wincing.

    brittany: thanks brittany, rhubarb is lovely! do try it!

    joanne: YES! (:

    laura: it's a love it or hate it thing I guess. some people seem to adore it, and wouldn't consider it rice pudding without the skin!

  12. i'm always looking for ways to eat rhubarb and rice pudding sounds like the perfect sweet to go with the tartness of the rhubarb!

  13. I am so pleased you entered this into the #oneingredient challenge!!

  14. thanks for sharing. this is fab comfort food!

  15. who knew? jasmine rice and coconut milk! yum!