Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Arroz con leche

It occurred to me this morning that I haven't posted a recipe in a while.  How very remiss of me!  I've decided to make it up to you guys by posting one of my favorite (and one of the easiest!) recipes ever. If you're not familiar with Spanish, arroz con leche translates to rice pudding (or literally rice with milk).  One of things I love about rice pudding, apart from the fact that it's so delicious AND low-maintenance, is that the dish is universal.  Every culture has some variation of this dish.  In Iran, they make this dish with saffron, rose water, and cardamom.  I've seen American versions made with raisins and rum. My sister does a Thai version of this dish with papaya chunks, ginger and peanuts. This means that you can play around with the ingredients a little and feel free to dress it up as suits your taste!

Here is the recipe for the Latin version of this dish, adapted from Ingrid Hoffman.

You will need:
1 cup of white rice (I like jasmine rice because of the flavor and aroma).
3 whole cinnamon sticks
3-4 whole cloves
4 cups of water
3 cups of whole milk
1 can of 14 oz sweetened, condensed milk
1 egg beaten
1 vanilla bean (split the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds. Keep the pod!)

1. Wash the rice three of four times until water runs clear.
2.  In a medium sauce pan, put the cleaned rice in four cups of water.  Add your aromatics: the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and vanilla pod (Note:  You will use the vanilla seeds that you scraped out later in the recipe. For now, just add the empty vanilla pod for aroma and flavor).
3.  Let water, rice, and aromatics soak for 1 hour.
4.  After an hour, bring the water to boil on medium-high heat, uncovered. When it boils, lower the heat to medium and let it cook until the water has mostly evaporated.
5.  Add the milk, condensed milk and the beaten egg.
6.  At this point, add in the vanilla bean seeds.
7. Stir until mixture thickens, around 20 minutes.
8.  Fish out the cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean pod, and cloves.
9.  Remove from heat and transfer to serving bowl.*

* I like to serve arroz con leche in individual glass cups. This way, everyone can add extra cinnamon as they wish and you can dress it up with a cinnamon stick for decoration as I did in the photo above.

Happy cooking! Hope you enjoy!