Boring old rice pudding turns vividly aromatic here, thanks to Indian inspiration. Fragrant long-grain basmati rice simmers gently in a mixture of coconut milk and water, flavored with vanilla-bean scrapings, ground ginger and cardamom, and lots of orange zest. Serve warm or chilled, moistened with a trickle of coconut milk and a sprinkling of orange zest. Optional: a terminal sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes or—for those fans of old-fashioned rice pudding—cinnamon.
- Yield: 4 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 45 mins
- Active: 15 mins
- 2 (13.66-ounce) cans coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1 cup raw basmati rice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest, plus orange zest strips for garnishing
- Toasted flake coconut or ground cinnamon (optional), for garnishing
- Combine 2 1/2 cups of the coconut milk, water, and salt in a medium saucepan. Split the 1/2 vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the blade of a paring knife. Add the seeds to the saucepan and stir, making sure everything’s well combined. Add the rice.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-low heat. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover the saucepan, but leave the lid slightly ajar to let steam escape.
- Simmer the rice for 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest. Continue cooking until the rice is creamy and soft. If the pudding starts to look dry, add the remaining coconut milk or a little water.
- Serve the pudding warm or cool, drizzled with the remaining coconut milk and sprinkled with strips of orange zest and optional toasted coconut flakes or ground cinnamon.