Matcha Rice Pudding
Anyone who has been reading along with me knows that I’m pretty clear about my favourite colour…drumroll….green!
Yep, green. The soothing greens of nature- the luscious variety of greens that create the most soothing, serene vistas and settings. The soft green moss, the fresh green grass, the deep green of majestic trees, the lush greens in a rainforest, the bright greens in ivy, ferns, and spring leaves that are just unfurling in April. Peridot green, Bottle green, Loden green, Olive green, Chartreuse…okay, I’ll stop now.
The first time I saw green rice, I was blown away! Green rice! It’s a short grain Chinese Rice with a green-tea like flavor. It has a somewhat sticky texture and is brightly colored and aromatic. The green comes from treating the rice with the juice of young bamboo plants. While milling the rice, the chlorophyll from the bamboo is added. This process causes the rice to be high in vitamin B, and gives it a flavor and aroma much like that of a jasmine green tea. So, I’ve used it a few times now, cooking it up in a savoury, risotto style method.
This household loves rice pudding. Really, really loves rice pudding. Total comfort food. Creamy, cinnamon-y, even slightly rum kissed (if you like rum-soaked raisins in your rice pudding) One day I looked at my green rice. Then I looked at my bag of matcha powder. Hmmm. Would they like each other? Why not? They are both green, they should get along swimmingly. (fine, that theory has holes in it) But I did think that if I use milk to make rice pudding, then why couldn’t I use matcha infused almond milk to make green rice pudding?
So I tried it. I started with water, matcha powder, cinnamon, vanilla and some sugar in a pot. I whisked them all up until the matcha and sugar were dissolved. When the water came to a boil, I added the rice. While I cooked it down slowly, I set another pot with almond milk on a burner to warm it through. Then, as the rice had almost incorporated all of the water, I slowly added the warmed almond milk, about a 1/2 cup at a time. Eventually I got the creamiest, greenest risotto simmering away. I deliberately closed my eyes as I sampled a bit with a spoon. Yep, it tasted like rice pudding! With a slight green tea undertone. In the best way.
Obviously, you don’t need to have bamboo rice to make this version of rice pudding. Any short, arborio style rice will work. It’s the beginning step of dissolving the matcha, cinnamon and sugar in water that is different from most pudding or risotto recipes. If you try to add the dry matcha powder afterwards, it will never break up, so you will lose that smooth green texture that you are desiring. Just like whisking it with the special matcha brush in a small amount of water when making tea or a latte, you need to follow this step first. I add the cinnamon at the same time, so that later on it will not be loose and ‘float’ throughout the pudding. This would make it appear muddy. Better to capture it at the beginning as well.
And yes, because this is a risotto method, this is a recipe where you will be hands on. But there is something so soothing about making a risotto, so I’m actually doing you a favour. I’m getting you to stop, be in the moment, smell the matcha 🙂 It’s for your emotional well being.
Instead of adding soaked raisins or nuts to this pudding, I decided on some contrasting colour. So I went for pomegranate seeds. But you could totally add chopped almonds, fresh mint leaves, or even toasted flaked coconut. In fact, I had some leftover pudding that I had for breakfast, and added all sorts of crunchy goodies on top. Worked wondrously.
Speaking of leftovers. You will find that as many rice puddings, if left overnight in the fridge, it will continue to soak up some of the milk, and become pretty thick. No worries. Just take out what you are eating, add it to a small sauce pan, along with a little more almond milk (you’ll figure out how much- but figure on at least 2 tbsp per 1/2 of cold rice pudding). Warm it up over low heat, and it will become the texture of the perfect rice pudding once again.
It may look green, but in the best way possible! And because you are using almond milk (or any other nut milk) it’s even vegan. I made a vegan dessert, and I wasn’t even trying!!
Matcha Rice Pudding
Comfort dessert using aromatic green tea matcha powder, and a short grain rice. Cooked up like a risotto, it is a comfort to make as well as eat.
- 2 tsp matcha
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup granulated cane or coconut sugar (or to taste, see notes)
- 3/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup arborio rice (or any short grain rice. I use bamboo rice, for the added nutrients, and it's green!)
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or any nut milk) Have extra on hand, just in case you want to thin the pudding out
In a medium stock pot, over medium heat, add the matcha powder, cinnamon, vanilla, sugar and water. Whisk vigorously to break up the matcha powder. Don't worry if there are bits that don't seem to dissolve, they will as the rice cooks up. Bring to a low boil.
Meanwhile, bring the 2 cups of almond milk to a simmer in another pot. Keep warm.
Add the rice to the water mixture. Stir and then reduce the heat to medium low. Stir regularly, until the water is almost all absorbed. Adjust the heat down to keep it at a gentle simmer, like any risotto.
Using a ladle or 1/2 cup measurement, add the warmed almond milk to the rice and cook until the almond milk is almost all absorbed. Continue this way until the rice is tender and creamy. You may need more or less milk.
Add a bit more milk at the end, as the rice will continue to absorb some, even when off the heat.
This recipe makes enough for four generous servings. I state that you may want to have more milk on hand- this is for those of you who would like it extra creamy.
I have the sugar set at 1/3 cup. I don't like desserts overly sweet. But feel free to taste as you are cooking and adjust if necessary. You can do this by adding another tbsp or so to the almond milk as it is simmering. Whisk to dissolve it.
If you are storing extra in the fridge, you may find that the next day it has become firm. This is easily remedied by reheating the amount you would like to eat in a small pot with a bit more milk. Set the pot over medium low heat and add the amount of milk you want to get it to the creamy texture you would like.
Top the pudding with pomegranate seeds, berries, flaked toasted coconut, slivered almonds, you get it!
Makes a great breakfast bowl as well!