One of our absolute favorite restaurants is a Malaysian and Thai restaurant in nearby Kennesaw, Ga, called Panang. We usually have dessert (which is a rare restaurant treat for us) because one of their desserts is beloved by all four of us (another rare treat with a vegetarian mom, a meat-eating dad and two undecided kids). While we’ve tried a few others, the dessert that captures our hearts is called Pulut Hitam, a Malaysian sticky black rice pudding with coconut milk. Black rice has so many nutritional benefits. It’s even better for you than brown rice. On top of the benefits of brown rice, black rice has the same anthocyanin antioxidants that are found in blueberries and blackberries.
Since we can’t go out to eat every day, I bought a big bag of black rice at a wholesale club a few months ago. But, I’ll admit it, I was a little scared to try to make this dish on my own. I’ve never cooked black rice before and my family loves this dessert so much I didn’t want to besmirch its name by ruining it. But when Mr. Meaty said something like, “What’s the worst that can happen? We’ll compost it and try again.” I decided to take the risk. And since this Pulut Hitam recipe from Joyce of Kitchen Flavours seemed so simple, I gave it a shot. Joyce blogs from Selangor, Malaysia, so I know the recipe is likely relatively authentic. But my favorite part is that it’s cooked in a CrockPot, which always makes it easy to do with kids around the kitchen.
Since I made the rice on a bit of a whim, I didn’t get the pandan leaves (also known as screwpine leaves), and I didn’t miss whatever flavor it is that they impart. But I may try them next time. I imagine I’ll be able to find them at an Asian market. Also, since I don’t have access to fresh coconut milk like Joyce, (she’s so lucky!!) I used canned. This makes an incredible amount of sticky rice (about 6 cups).
The results were fantastic. The rice wasn’t quite as sweet as Panang’s version, but the kids and Mr. Meaty and I all loved it. Even a visiting neighbor loved this fancy dessert. And in the end it was so incredibly simple to make that I found myself wishing I’d tried it much earlier.
CrockPot Vegan Sticky Black Rice
1 cup pulut hitam (black glutinous rice)
8 cups boiling water (or hot water)
2/3 cup honey (more or less, to taste)
15 ounces coconut milk
Place all ingredients, except coconut milk, in CrockPot. Cook on LOW for 3 hours. Serve with a few tablespoons of coconut milk on top of each serving.
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