Monday, February 20, 2012

Traditional Rice pudding

Hey guys!  Hope everyone had an awesome weekend.  I for one have not been feeling well.  Came down with some viral upper respiratory infection and pink eye, and was down in the dumps for a good 3 days.  Yuck!  BUT!  I am feeling tons better today and ready to tackle the laundry and some much needed clean up.  Yahoo!

So, today I'm gonna show you guys how to make traditional rice pudding.  Well, traditional for MY family anyway.  As far back as I can remember, rice pudding was a favorite breakfast meal for me.  Especially in the winter.  I can remember waking up in the morning and smelling it as soon as I stepped out into the hallway.  Mmmm.  I love the stuff!  My parents are a combination of Mexican, American-Indian, and Spaniard.  Most of the cooking growing up was Mexican food.  Mom and Dad always called this recipe "Atole" (ah-tol-ay).  Atole actually means oatmeal, but I guess to them this was Mexican oatmeal.  If you look up other recipes you may also see it called "Arroz con leche".  That means rice w/milk.  I know there are tons of other variations of rice pudding recipes out there.  Just depends on where you grew up.  Not only that, but you know how people tweak recipes to their liking.  I've seen some recipes even call for eggs and cream. Anyway!  This recipe is the same one that my mom would make for us.  I haven't changed a thing.  It's easy, simple, and most of the ingredients you have on hand anyway.  Let's do it!
You'll need:
2 C rice
1/8 tsp salt
1/2-1 C sugar
1 TB cinnamon or 1 cinnamon stick
1 C raisins

First you want to cook your rice according to package directions.  I say this because regular long grain rice takes 1 1/2 C water for every cup of rice, and brown rice takes 2 C water for every cup of rice.  FYI: Each cup of dry rice will yield about 3 cups of cooked rice.  Just so you know what you're gonna end up with.  If you have a rice steamer, you can steam the rice first and then just put 6 cups of cooked rice into a large pot for your rice pudding.  I have a steamer, but I prefer just to make it all in one pot.  Less clean up.  OK!  So, you cook your rice.  You want to make sure that the rice has soaked up all of the water.  We don't want watery rice pudding.

 Now that you're rice is cooked, this is where you add the milk.  I didn't put a measurement for the milk, because I never measure it.  You just pour in enough milk to completely cover the rice and maybe even about an inch more.  
 Now you will add your salt, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins.  I would start off with just a 1/2 C of the sugar.  I made a double batch.  Enough to last us the next 4 days.  I barely had enough room to add all of my ingredients.  Eeek!

When you add the rest of the ingredients you want to gently stir it all in.  If you get too aggressive with it, you'll break up the rice and make it mushy.  If you're going for mushy, I guess that's OK.  To each their own, right?  Either way, it's still edible and tastes gooooooOOd!
Now comes the hard part.....cover and let it sit on low-med heat for about 30 min-1 hour.  This is important because this is where the flavors come together and the raisins get nice and plump.  After about 30 min, go ahead and stick a spoon in there and taste it.  If it's not sweet enough for you, this is when you'll add that other 1/2 C of sugar.  Make note on how much you ended up putting in so you'll know for next time.

That's it!  Just a few ingredients and you've got a yummy breakfast.  I love it as a snack or even dessert.  If you make it as a dessert you can drop a dollop of whipping cream on top.  For me, that makes it an official dessert.  Store it in the fridge and when you go to warm up a bowl, you may need to add some more milk. It will dry up quite a bit after cooling.  
 You can see that some of my raisins aren't very dark.  That's because I used half regular raisins and half golden raisins.  They were there, so I used em'.


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