If I was even remotely musical, I’d write a song for Thai black rice pudding with strawberries (or any other kind of fruit, really).
For Christmas and New Years 2006, my husband and I flew to Thailand for a belated honeymoon. The timing had several key benefits – besides avoiding the barrage of family drama that inevitably happens over the holidays regarding where we will be spending our time, December and January in South East Asia is the “mild season,” meaning that it is beautifully green without being ridiculously hot and humid. Sure, Thailand’s beautiful year-round, but you don’t really know uncomfortable until you travel from a moderate climate to suffer 105°F at 95% humidity.
While we were there, we visited Chiang Mai, in the northern part of the country. Far less crowded than Bangkok, Chiang Mai also boasts an inordinately high number of cooking classes for tourists. For roughly $20 you spend the day with a group of other confused white people, trying to decode the secrets of authentic Thai cooking. Our teacher took pity on us and shared her family secret early in the class: sugar and fish sauce. While there are a multitude of traditional ingredients in Thai cooking, those two flavors will give you an authentic taste with very little effort.
I have to say that during the entire three weeks we spent in Thailand, the cooking classes I took were the highlight of the trip. I even dragged my husband to one, and now all he makes at home when it’s his turn to cook is fried rice (though I’m not complaining). Perhaps the best part of the classes was the chance to cook outside, and I swear to Zod, when I build my dream house, there will be an outdoor kitchen. Oh yes, there will.
If you’re curious, I’ve included a few photos of the cooking class if you scroll down past the recipe.
One thing that is generally included in the price of the class is a little hand-bound cookbook with the recipes for all of the dishes that you made that day. Perhaps the easiest thing we made was black rice pudding, a ridiculously simple and dramatic looking dessert. In class we made it with bananas, but here at home I use strawberries since they contrast so well with the color of the rice.
This dish calls for black glutinous rice, but if you can’t find it, you can use chinese black forbidden rice. The texture will be a little different, but it will be just as tasty. Another reason to substitute rices is that you have to soak glutinous rice overnight, while forbidden rice takes about as long to prepare as brown rice.
Also, I also took a vegetable carving class while I was in Chiang Mai. Long story short, it was probably the most stressful two days of my entire trip:
Thai Black Rice Pudding with Strawberries
- 1 cup black glutinous rice
- 1 cup organic coconut milk (NOT the lite stuff)
- 4 tablespoons agave nectar (the recipe calls for white sugar, but I avoid it)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Fresh strawberries
- Soak and prepare the rice to specifications on package (directions can differ depending on the exact variety you’ve picked up).
- In a saucepan, heat coconut milk to a simmer, adding agave nectar or sugar. Mixture should be very sweet, so feel free to add more sweetener to taste. Add salt and simmer for a few minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken. Fold into black rice, making sure not to smash the grains.
- Serve in individual bowls, with cut up strawberries to garnish.
This content was originally posted on FearlessFresh.com.