Thai Rice Pudding

Thai rice pudding
Francis Kompalitch/Canopy/Getty Images
Ratings (14)
  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 3 to 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
509 Calories
15g Fat
85g Carbs
8g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Thai rice pudding is scrumptious, healthy, and nourishing and this recipe is meant to be served warm. It's a popular dessert in Thailand that starts with Thai sweet rice, which is also called "sticky" or "glutinous" rice. It is flavored with coconut milk, brown sugar, plus warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and star anise.

This recipe can be customized to suit your personal taste and it's fun to explore all the options. One of the first is to choose your sugar. White sugar will give you a pure white rice pudding. Palm sugar is really nice and it, along with brown sugar, will result in a darker color that has a rich, warm flavor.

Top the rice pudding with your choice of cream, milk (or condensed milk), soy or rice milk, or more coconut milk or cream for the perfect finishing touch.

You can also make a mango sauce to give it an exotic fruit flair that's perfect for summer. Alternatively, adding red adzuki beans or red bean paste gives the pudding extra texture, vitamins, natural color, and flavor. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Thai sweet rice
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (13 1/2 ounces) coconut milk
  • 3/4–1 cup sugar (palm, brown, or white, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves (ground)
  • Optional: whole star anise (for garnish)
  • Optional: cinnamon sticks (for garnish)
  • Optional: crushed peanuts (for garnish)
  • Optional: toasted coconut (for garnish)

Steps to Make It

  1. In a large pot that has a lid, place the rice and add 2 cups of the water. Allow it to soak for 10 minutes or longer.

  2. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups water and salt to the pot. Stir well.

  3. Place over high heat. As soon as the water comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low. Cover 3/4 of the pot so the lid is sitting askew, allowing some of the steam to escape.

  4. Boil the rice like this for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.

  5. Turn off the heat, but keep the pot on the burner. Place the lid on tight and allow the rice to "steam" in this way for 5 to 10 minutes.

  6. Remove the lid and add the coconut milk, stirring until incorporated (you may have to break up the rice a little with a spoon or fork).

  7. Turn the heat on low and, while gently simmering, add 3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar to suit your taste.  Add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

  8. Taste test the pudding for sweetness. Add more sugar if it's not sweet enough or more coconut milk if it's too sweet.

  9. The rice will eventually absorb most of the coconut milk, creating a very thick rice pudding.

  10. Now you have two options: Add coconut milk to the entire batch or in individual serving bowls. Adding more coconut milk to the pot will create a thinner pudding that can be scooped into bowls. For the other option, scoop the pudding into bowls and surround it with a little coconut milk (or cream or the milk of your choice).

  11. Garnish each serving by sprinkling extra cinnamon or nutmeg on top. Decorate it with cinnamon sticks, whole star anise, and crushed peanuts or toasted coconut if desired.

Mango Sauce

Make a mango sauce to use instead of the spices and give your rice pudding a tropical fruit taste. It can be served hot or cold and many people prefer cold pudding with warm mango sauce.

To do this, dice 2 ripe mangoes and place them in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon of condensed milk. Stir and simmer for 1 minute. Use it to top the pudding or create fun layers.

If you're making it ahead, be sure to store the sauce and pudding separately because the pudding will thicken with time. You'll need to thin it out by adding a little water or coconut milk. Stir this in and add more sugar or condensed milk if you think it could use a little sweetness.

To heat the pudding back up, gently simmer it in a saucepan over medium heat. The mango sauce should only take a few seconds in the microwave. Don't go too long or you'll lose some of that great mango flavor.