Coconut black Rice Pudding with Fresh Mangos

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I went to a Vietnamese Chinese market yesterday and bought some beautiful and delicious tropical fruits.  The mangos reminded me of the ones that I used to buy in Malaysia when I was filming Marco Polo.  This morning, I made a coconut black rice pudding with fresh mangos for breakfast. Rice with crushed peanuts is a usual staple for breakfast in Southeast Asia. It is as ordinary as oatmeal in the West.  Of course you can also serve this rice pudding as a dessert.  For me, coconut and mango is a perfect combination, like peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and chocolate.

I made my rice in the automatic rice cooker as I sliced the fruits. It’s simple and easy. I used the coconut milk beverage from the carton to cook the rice. And I drizzled about 2 to 3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk from the can on top of the pudding before serving. 

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Coconut Black Rice Pudding with Fresh Mangos

Ingredients:

1 cup of Thai black sweet rice or Forbidden Rice

2 cups coconut milk, beverage from the carton

1/4 cup or more xylitol or sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 to 3 tablespoons full fat coconut milk, can

2 tablespoon crushed peanuts, optional

2 ripe yellow mangos, peeled, pitted and sliced (small, flattened oval shape mangos)

Preparation:

Pour the rice, coconut milk beverage, xylitol or sugar, vanilla in the rice cooker and let soak for 30 minutes before pushing the on button.

When the rice cooker turns to warm, let rice sit for 5 minutes. Scoop rice into serving bowls and top with fresh mango slices, coconut milk from the can and crushed peanuts if using.

If you like your pudding wetter and creamier, you can also pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup of coconut milk from the can into the rice cooker after rice has been cooked. Mix with a non-scratch spatula before scooping into serving bowls.  If you use forbidden rice instead of sticky rice, it tastes better in the creamier version.

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I used the left-over coconut milk from the can and the mango to make coconut mango panna cotta. I will share the recipe another time. 

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Cashew Cardamom Chia Pudding & Chocolate Chia Pudding

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Raining season is here in Malaysia. Dark and gloomy days call for sweet treats to lift up the spirits.  These chia puddings are the perfect thing to make for a day as grey as today — effortless to prepare and guiltless to eat.  You can make one before you go to bed and have it for breakfast.  Or you can make one before you leave the house for work and have it for dessert.  Basically it’s just a little workout for your arms — shaking the glass jar as vigorously as you can for a minute or two and voila!  My favorite chia pudding is coconut mango, especially when I can get my hands on the sweet and buttery Ipoh mangos here.  I also love mixed berry chia puddings. 

Today, I whipped up a cashew cardamom chia pudding and a chocolate chia pudding. These happened to be the ingredients that I had in my kitchenette.  They turned out quite delicious.  It has been fun for me to prepare food with limited resources and tools here in my service apartment.  I don’t have a car and can’t just dash to the market to get a missing ingredient, but I find this challenge interesting.  I’ve learned to make do with whatever I have and still cook healthy and delicious food.  I was never a part of the raw food movement — firmly believing that our ancestors’ discovery of fire was a crucial step for us to evolve into humans.  However, I have made quite a number of raw or nearly raw desserts since my arrival here.  There is simply no oven in my kitchenette. 

I think that there is an inherent opportunity whenever we are limited by our circumstances.  We experiment and become more inventive. 

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Cashew Cardamom Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

3 tablespoon chia seeds

1/2 cup raw cashew nuts

1 1/2 cup water

2 tablespoon raw honey

5 cardamom pods

A pinch of salt

Fruits and more cashews for garnish

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Preparation:

Soak the cashews in the water for 8 hours or overnight if you don’t have a powerful blender such as a Vitamix.  Blend the soaked cashew with the water, honey and the cardamom into cashew milk.

Pour the cashew mixture into a glass jar with a water tight lid, add chia seeds and shake vigorously for a minute.  Leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.  Take out the jar and give it another vigorous shake. Put it back to the fridge for 6 hours or longer. The shaking is to prevent the chia seeds from clumping. If you don’t have time, you don’t have to shake it a second time.  If you prefer your pudding less solid, add a little more water.

Garnish with fruits and cashew nuts before serving.  Dried fruits and seeds will go well with this too.

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Chocolate Chia Pudding

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon chia seeds

1 cup milk of choice

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons unsweetened 100% cocoa powder

1 tablespoon brown sugar or xylitol or sweetener of choice

A pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or 1/4 vanilla extract

Fruits, seeds and shaved dark chocolate to garnish

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Preparation:

Mix the cup of milk with the cocoa powder, sugar, salt and vanilla paste into a chocolate milk and pour into a jar with a water tight lid.  Add chia and shake vigorously for a minute.  Leave it in the fridge for 20 minutes or so and shake it vigorously one more time.  Let sit in the fridge for 6 hours or longer.

Garnish with fruits and seeds before serving.

These puddings will keep in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

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