Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk

Rice pudding or as we call it Shir-berenj in Farsi, is one of the all time comfort Iranian dessert. It's traditionally made with milk, rice, rose water, cinnamon and/or caraway seeds, and sweetened by either sugar or honey or jam. It's safe to say that every household has their way of cooking Shir-berenj. My mom usually doesn't add any sugar and we would eat it with dates or her home made orange blossom jam.

Today I put my own twist on our all time favorite shir-berenj and made it with coconut milk. It was a delicious alternative to traditional Shir-berenj; much creamer with intense coconut flavor as I've also added toasted shredded coconuts to it.
Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rice, I used Royal rice
  • 2 cups organic coconut milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Roasted shredded coconuts
  • 1/4 cup rose water (optional)
  • Cinnamon powder as needed

Process:

  1. Wash the rice with warm water, soak it for at least 2 hours; the longer it soaks, the easier the rice will cook. After two hours or so, drain the water.
  2. Place 2 cups of water and 2 cups of coconut milk in a medium sauce pan and bring to boil. Add the rice and let it boil for about 2 minutes. Now lower the heat and put the lid on and let the rice simmer; avoid stirring it too often. You want the rice to cook slowly soaking the coconut flavor. This takes about 1 hour.
  3. If you see the water/milk evaporated and the rice isn't fully cooked add about 1/2 cup warm water or milk. Use a hand blender to semi blend the rice. I like to keep some rice chucks, it will give Shir-berenj a nice texture. Add sugar, rose water and shredded coconuts. Let simmer for another 10 minutes.
  4. Turn the heat off and plate the Shir-berenj in your favorite dessert dishes and decorate with toasted shredded coconuts and a dash of cinnamon.
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