Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Vietnamese Sweet Sticky Rice Pudding with Black-eyed Peas and Coconut Sauce

The Thanksgiving holiday is long over and I have turned my attention to Christmas sweets. On Sunday I restocked my supply of chocolate and extracts of peppermint and vanilla in preparation for the pre-Christmas baking. I'm already planning on what cookies I will make to give out to friends and bring to parties and possibly trade at a cookie swap. As I sorted through recipes to gather my list of ingredients I needed, I found one recipe I thought was lost...one for which I had all the ingredients in good supply because this is a sweet that I had been meaning to make for some time, but to my dismay had misplaced the recipe. It was Sweet Sticky Rice Pudding with Black-eyed Peas topped with Coconut Sauce. I learned to make this in a Vietnamese cooking class I had taken about a year ago. Thinking I had lost the recipe, I had tried to find something similar so I could get the right ratio of water to rice, it is not the usual 2 to 1. Unfortunately, I found nothing quite like it. I even emailed the instructor of the class for the basic ratios and to my dismay, she never replied! My excitement at finding this long lost recipe caused me to push aside my fancy Christmas baking for the time and turn my focus to making this simple yet exotic, warm or cold but comforting dessert made of rice and beans. Lou just finished his second bowl of this sweet treat for the night. He too was glad I found the recipe.

Vietnamese Sweet Sticky Rice Pudding with Black-eyed Peas and Coconut Sauce

1 cup dried black-eyed peas, rinse, soak in warm water for 2 hours
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 cups water
1 cup Thai glutinous rice, rinse, soak in warm water for 2 hours
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 -13.5 oz. can coconut milk
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

salted, roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)

Note that you will be soaking both the rice and the black-eyed peas for 2 hours in separate bowls. Drain the black-eyed peas first, pick through and remove any floating skins and particles. In a medium saucepan, cover the beans by at least an inch with water and add the baking soda. Bring the beans to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until tender, but not mushy. Drain the beans, rinse with cold water and set aside.

While the beans are cooking, bring 6 cups of water to boil in a 4 quart saucepan. Add the glutinous rice and boil for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to simmer and stir in the sugar, vanilla and salt. Then add the cooked beans and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the pudding to cool slightly. It will be very soupy at this point and will thicken as it cools.

In a small saucepan, whisk together the coconut milk and the cornstarch before heating to dissolve the cornstarch. Then, over medium heat, stir in the sugar and salt and bring the mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Dish up the rice pudding into individual serving bowls and drizzle the coconut sauce over the pudding. Garnish with chopped peanuts if you like and enjoy!

The leftovers are great warmed up slightly in the microwave, or you can eat this cold too.

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