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Dessert for the calorie-conscious

March 15, 2011

Photo Courtesy: Harini Prakash

Rice pudding is a universally loved dish and every country has its own variant. In India and Pakistan it is popularly known as kheer which though tasty, is also very sweet and contains copious amounts of full fat milk. The Western variation comes with a generous dose of cream and eggs in addition to the milk. The healthiest among the lot is the Thai version which is made with coconut milk. This is well suited for weight watchers as an occasional serving is definitely not as calorific as other versions. It has a fairly lower quantity of sugar and no cream, eggs or milk. Traditional Thai pudding is topped with mangoes, which I love to add when in season but during other times of the year, I prefer seasonal fruits, either poached or roasted.

The following recipe includes a topping my son loves best – candied dried fruits. Each variation comes with its own novelty. Do try them all, it won’t fail your expectations!

Coconut milk pudding Yield: 3 servings

Ingredients:

For the pudding:

Rice (long grain) – ½ cup Water – 1 cupCoconut milk (first extract if fresh or half a can if using store-bought) – ¾ cup + ½ cupGranulated sugar – ¼ cup Vanilla stick – ½ stick, slit horizontally and scraped directly

For the topping:

Toasted cashew nuts and almonds, chopped into small bits – 3-4 tbsp. Sugar – 3 tbsp. Water – A little, to melt the sugar

Method:

The pudding:

Soak rice for 3 hours. Drain well and pound coarsely so that the grains become half their size.

Boil water and add the pounded rice. Cook until water is absorbed.

Add ¾ cup coconut milk, sugar and scrape vanilla seeds (or you may substitute with vanilla extract) into the pan.

Cook further, stirring well so that the mixture is evenly distributed throughout, until the milk is absorbed.

The topping:

Heat a saucepan with sugar and water, just enough to melt the sugar. When the sugar melts, add toasted nuts and keep stirring until the nuts are well coated with sugar and the pan becomes dry.

Serving: In a bowl, pour some of the pudding, add a few tablespoons of fresh, thick coconut milk and top with candied fruits.

*If you want specific recipes for the next blog post, feel free to suggest in the comment box below and I will try my best to accommodate your requests.

Sunshinemom aka Harini is a vegan food writer, food photographer and food stylist. To see her work, visit her blog or Flickr album.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.