Maybe it’s because it’s winter, but we’ve had a real yen for warm, creamy foods, lately. That’s extended to dessert, too. Our latest fixation? Rice pudding. These chilly days and evenings just call out for it, you know? It’s like a Snuggie in a bowl.
Just to keep it interesting, I’ve been playing with the accent flavors, too. And what could be better than a promise of sunshiny summer in that comforting little dish? I speak of course, of mango. You can find dried mango wherever you are, in the dried fruit section. Combine it with a touch of sweet, aromatic cardamom, and you’ve got the best of all seasons!
4 cups milk (your choice)
1 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried mango
2 – 3 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
pinch of table salt
Put the milk and rice into a large deep saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to keep a skin from forming. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir well, cover tightly, and reduce the heat to low.
Simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes or so. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, and cook uncovered for about another 5 minutes, or until the rice is very soft and the desired texture is achieved. If the texture is too tight for your taste, add a little additional milk and stir continuously until it’s absorbed and the pudding is creamy.
Allow to cool a few minutes and serve while warm.
Oh, sure, you can go the prosaic raisins and cinnamon route, if you want to. In fact you can substitute any dried fruit you like. But the combination of the mango and the cardamom give it such a warm, tropical feeling and aroma, why wouldn’t you want that in the middle of a cold, dreary winter?