Trick for a tasty Halloween treat
After last year’s unfortunate Halloween candy bender (guess who methodically worked her way through an entire 200-count econo-size bag of mini York Peppermint Patties when not a single Trick-or-Treater showed up?), I vowed not to let a single “fun-sized” candy anything pass through the doorway into my home this year. And if the costumed neighborhood kids show up this year begging for treats, I will do what any self-respecting candyless nutritonist would do: dim the lights, ignore the doorbell, and be prepared to clean the eggs and toilet paper off my house in the morning.
Of course, this necessary act of self-preservation doesn’t mean that I won’t be treating myself to anything sweet, sticky and seasonably black-and-orange this week. It’s just that my sweet treat of choice this year will be made from ingredients decidedly more wholesome than high-fructose corn syrup and partially-hydrogenated oils: I’m making a Thai-inspired dessert that’s part Black Rice Pudding, part Mango Sticky Rice.
Traditionally, Black Rice Pudding is made with Thai Black Rice (which is sort of more purple-brown than black); however, Chinese Black “Forbidden” Rice is easier to come by in mainstream supermarkets, so I used that. (Bonus: it’s non-GMO and an heirloom rice variety to boot.) Purists will argue that Forbidden Rice isn’t sticky enough to produce the proper effect, but my experience created a perfectly rice-puddingy texture just fine. Black rice pudding is usually served with a savory-sweet coconut cream and toasted sesame seed topping, which is fine if you’re not going for a Halloween motif. Which I am. So I decided to take some liberties and borrow some taste (and color) inspiration from another popular Thai dessert, Mango Sticky Rice. I also reduced the amount of sugar typically found in this recipe and swapped Lite Coconut Milk for regular. The result is a delicious, sweet-enough treat that I will enjoy thoroughly as I sit in my darkened house with the blinds drawn on October 31st hoping the Trick-or-Treaters pass me by.
And if I may be so bold to suggest a pairing: since rice is the main event in this carb-centric dessert, I think it makes an excellent and satisfying finish to a light meal that’s more protein-and-vegetable-centric. Like an entree-sized bowl of soup. How about: a tangy Thai Tom Yum soup, Rick Bayless’ Classic Tortilla Soup (swap the chicken out with baked tofu cubes and add a heap of baby spinach leaves to make it vegetarian), or a classic Miso soup with Tofu?
Recipe: Thai Black Rice Pudding with Mango (serves 6)
1 cup black rice
3 cups water
1/3 cup sugar
1 can unsweetened Light Coconut Milk (shaken before use to blend)
2 cups fresh mango, cut into cubes (Fresh papaya makes a fine substitute if you can’t find a ripe mango this time of year)
- In a large saucepan (3-4 qts), mix black rice, 3 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to boil, then simmer covered for 45 minutes until rice is cooked. There will still be some liquid in the pot.
- Stir in the sugar, another 1/4 tsp salt and 1 1/2 cups of the coconut milk. Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil again, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 30 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Mixture should be thick and gooey and chewy
- Remove pudding from heat and let cool for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally during cooling.
- Serve in small dessert bowls drizzled with the remaining Light Coconut Milk (stirred to ensure well blended) and topped with 1/4 cup fresh mango cubes.
Approximate nutrition information per serving: 220 calories, 43g carbohydrate (of which ~2g are fiber), 3.5g protein and 4.5g fat.
…which is the caloric equivalent of 4 mini York Peppermint Patties, with decidedly more nutritional merit. The black color of Forbidden Rice derives from phytochemicals called anthocyanins, which are natural plant pigments with strong antioxidant properties. In fact, there’s a bunch of research out of Asia investigating the promising cancer-quashing effects of these black rice-derived anthocyanins. Which sadly, my beloved York Peppermint Patties can’t claim. Sigh. Not even the Pink ones.Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it, RSS feed.