Rice pudding exists in several countries in varied forms – please see the link below for a brief history on rice pudding.
India itself has several forms of rice pudding, with each region having their own take on it. In South India, a form of rice pudding called ‘Pongal’ is made for the Harvest Festival which occurs in January each year. This is flavoured with jaggery and has nuts and raisins in it and is scented with ghee and cardamom. Another form of sugar, called rock candy or rock sugar can also be used to flavour rice. The flavour is really distinctive. An Indian rice pudding, called ‘kheer’ or ‘payasam’ is also very popular. It can be made with milk or coconut milk.
I got this recipe from http://www.tarteletteblog.com/2011/08/recipe-gluten-free-fig-gateau-de-riz.html .
However, I used basmati rice. I think that it really makes a difference – the aroma of basmati rice is unique and so is the flavour. It elevates the dish and I used jaggery instead of brown sugar and added ghee and cardamom powder. I also served it with chocolate sauce. The figs looked superb and the dish tasted wonderful. This is so easy to make and it can be made in advance and heated up whenever you want to serve it. It’s also gluten free.
PREP: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 50 minutes
1 cup basmati rice
1 cup water
13/4 cups coconut milk
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup jaggery
6 large eggs
1/3 cup ghee/butter
1 tsp cardamom powder/vanilla essence
20 small figs, sliced thinly
Chocolate sauce/Sweetened cream
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line a 13×9 inch pan with parchment paper.
Soak the basmati rice in 1 cup of water and 1 cup of coconut milk for 15 minutes with the salt. Cook in a rice cooker until the rice is cooked. Do not overcook. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Combine the jaggery, eggs, ¾ cup coconut milk, ghee and cardamom powder. Add this mixture to the rice and mix until well combined. Spoon into the prepared baking dish and arrange the figs on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes until it is lightly browned on top. Serve hot with chocolate sauce or a dollop of sweetened cream.