Day 558: Rice is nice

My last few donations to the food bank bin at my local grocery store have been various condiments and a rogue jar of Nutella, so I thought I’d get back to basics today.

And what could be more basic than a bag of rice? Who doesn’t like rice? Okay, there must be a few rice-intolerant folks out there. But you must admit, it does go with so many different dishes and cuisines. From Latin American to Asian to African, from main course to dessert.

Did you know?

  • Rice has been cultivated for over 5,000 years.
  • It takes 2,000 to 5,000 tons of water to produce a ton of rice.
  • Rice is grown on every continent except Antarctica.
  • 50% of all the world’s rice is eaten within 8 miles of where it is grown.
  • Asians eat as much as 300 pounds per person each year, while in the United Arab Emirates it is about 450 pounds, and in France about 10 pounds.

Rice pudding: I'm in the "add raisins" camp. You?

And here’s one of my favourite recipes for Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/2 cup  (125 mL)  uncooked short-grain rice
1 cup  (250 mL)  boiling water
1/3 cup  (75 mL)  granulated sugar
1 tsp  (5 mL)  cornstarch
5 cups  (1.25 L)  milk
1/3 cup  (75 mL)  raisins, optional
2 egg yolks, optional
1 tsp  (5 mL)  vanilla
1 tbsp  (15 mL)  ground cinnamon

Preparation

1. Place rice and boiling water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook gently, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until rice has absorbed water.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in 1 cup (250 mL) milk. Add mixture to rice along with remaining milk. Add raisins if using.

3. Bring pudding to a boil. Partially cover and cook gently for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very creamy and thick. (If the heat is too low the pudding will take forever to thicken, but if it is too high it will boil over. It is best to stay on the low side, but I promise it will thicken eventually.)

4. Stir in egg yolks if using. Cook gently for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls and dust with cinnamon.

Makes 8 servings.

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