I seem to have developed a semi-serious addiction to chai lattes. There’s something about the combination of cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and star anise that is just so lovely and warming. And I adore rice pudding – it’s one of the ultimate comfort foods.
So this Chai Rice Pudding recipe brings together two of my favourites.
This dish was inspired by a conversation yesterday during a long lunch at my parent’s house. One of my aunties had brought along what is essentially an Asian rice pudding for dessert – gelatinous black rice cooked with brown palm sugar and coconut milk.
This led to me reminiscing about the rice pudding I ate in London when I was living there, which was basically white rice cooked in milk with vanilla.
I thought about cooking both the Western and Asian rice puddings and then combining them in a bowl in a yin yang design. As yin yang is about how opposites forces are interconnected and interdependent it would be both a recipe and a political, cultural, and anthropological statement. (Wow. Where did that come from?)
But I wasn’t sure. The yin yang pudding would be very dramatic but would it look a bit, well, twee? And would it taste good or would it be a confused mish-mash of flavours?
Then, as I was driving home, I had a lightbulb moment – what about a chai rice pudding? It would be just like a chai latte except it would contain rice and it would be just like a rice pudding but chai flavoured.
How could it not work?
So I made it this afternoon and I’m still eating it as I type this.
On this day, at this moment, I am completely content.
1 cup rice (I used long grain rice)
4 cups whole milk
1 cup freshly brewed tea (I used Twinings English Breakfast and left the tea left to brew for five minutes)
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
3 whole cardomon pods
1 whole star anise
6 large cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or 1 vanilla bean)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Put milk, tea, rice and all spices in a small saucepan and bring to boil. The turn down and simmer for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add sugar and turn heat back up to high. Cook for three to four minutes, stirring all the time as the pudding thickens.
Serve in individual bowls. If you wish, you can pick out the spices before serving (use a spoon as the pudding will be very hot) but I figure most people can cope with minor details like that.
Serves 4-6. Or 1. It all depends.