Almost Paleo Sticky Rice Pudding

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on January 7, 2015

Almost Paleo Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.comThe cold weather has each of us yearning for comfort foods, and one of the most classic desserts of all, is something many of us grew up eating. In our family, rice pudding was not a dessert we ever planned to make. It was one of those items that we made when there was leftover rice or extra milk that we didn’t want to toss out. Having said that, I will tell you that whenever my parents made it, we all loved eating it – hot or cold, it was always a family favorite.

As I get older, I have tried to move away from certain foods and generally find myself eating a modified Paleo diet. For those of you who have never heard of the Paleo diet, let me simply say that Paleo purists define it as a diet plain that includes fruits, vegetables, animal proteins, some starches like sweet potatoes and plantains, but it excludes all grains. Why? Well because whole grains contain many gut irritants, and when consumed, wreak havoc on the intestinal lining causing pain, gas, bloating. For many, dairy products cause the same type of problems, so it’s important to keep those to a minimum also. Some researchers say that these gut irritants can spur autoimmune diseases like celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and even multiple sclerosis.

The prevalence of autoimmune disorders is rapidly rising and now affects an estimated 23.5 million Americans, 75% of them being women. In fact, autoimmune diseases are now among the top 10 leading causes of death in American women under the age of 65. Emerging research shows that most autoimmune conditions may share a common cause relating to problems in the intestinal lining of the gut, which may begin years before symptoms may manifest. I find that I feel better on a modified Paleo diet, and as scientists learn more about what is acceptable,  I find myself adding back items that I enjoy…and one of them is white rice.

So, if rice is a grain, how is it Paleo?

Experts argue that there is a difference between brown rice and white rice. Brown rice still maintains the protective outer fibrous layer that is darker than the rest of the grain. In this part of the grain, you will not only find the plants micronutrients but also potentially toxic chemicals that nature has built in to protect the plant. So, in essence, brown rice is not considered Paleo because it contains these harmful irritants that may cause problems when ingested. Once you remove this outer shell, you have pure white starch that is sold as white rice.

White rice may not have any irritants, but it also doesn’t have any nutrients – but, neither does coconut oil, which is used almost exclusively in the Paleo diet. The question here should really be whether you are using the Paleo diet to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight or adopt a healthier lifestyle for the long term. If you are trying to lose weight, then adding a lot of starch to your diet would not be a wise thing to do, but using white rice sparingly would be fine.  If instead you are trying to gain weight or need an acceptable source of fuel that is easily digestible and gluten free to provide energy for workout or strength training, then adding white rice to your regimen would make sense.

So to all of you who may need an acceptable Paleo dessert, that also happens to be vegan, this one is a great alternative.

Paleo Sticky Rice Pudding
1 cup sticky rice (arborio or regular short grain is OK, DO NOT use par boiled rice)
2 cups hot water
1 cinnamon stick
1 pinch of salt
2 cups vanilla flavored coconut milk, unsweetened & whole fat (or half and half if making full fat traditional)
1 cup coconut cream, (or heavy cream if making traditional)
2 yolks **add only if making traditional
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup agave or honey to taste (or 1/2 cup sugar if making traditional)

Add the rice to a small sieve and place this in a bowl filled with cold water to rinse & soak the rice well for about 20-30 minutes. Then, add this to a small pot with the 2 cups of water, salt and cinnamon stick. Simmer this on very low heat for about 5 minutes, until the water has evaporated.

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Toss the starchy water…

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

At this point, the rice will be half cooked, so add in the 2 cups of vanilla flavored coconut milk (or half and half if making traditional), along with your choice of sweetener and stir well together. Some of the rice may have stuck a little to the bottom of the pan, and this is OK as long as it has not burned. Use a spoon to gently stir it all together.

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Continue cooking on very low heat until the rice has cooked through and has thickened. This is why I like to use sticky rice – a good bit of the starch was rinsed off initially, but some remains to thicken the rice pudding and add some creaminess to the final product. If you are using the yolks to make the traditional version, whisk the yolks in with the 2 cups of half and half and then stir all of this into the partially cooked rice. Cook this gently over low heat and you will see that the egg yolks add a lovely golden color to the final product.

IMG_1294

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Once the rice pudding has thickened and the rice has cooked through completely, add in 1 cup of refrigerated coconut cream (or heavy cream if making traditional).

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

To see what I am talking about when I say coconut cream, you must first refrigerate a can of whole coconut milk overnight. The next day, you will see that the cream has separated from the water and has risen to the top. Scrape out all of this cream and use if for a variety of different desserts including a low carb vegan chocolate mousse. One can will yield about 2 cups of this cream.

Pale & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

I use 1 cup of it along with some vanilla and cinnamon to finish off the rice pudding. Stir it all together and serve warm or pour it into individual ramekins and chill. Serve as is or with sliced fresh fruit. Make sure to store your rice pudding covered in a glass, ceramic or plastic bowl.

Paleo & Vegan Sticky Rice Pudding, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

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