Thursday, August 03, 2006

Last Nights Dinner

A fresh and yummy antipasto with grilled chicken and some great baguette:

And then, in search of a treat:
I started off trying to make Thai style coconut sticky rice, except skipping the endless washing of the rice and using a whole can of coconut milk because I can't stand to have part of the can left over and I wanted something extra coconutty. Oh, and I added a bunch more sugar too...
I tossed in rice, straight from the bag, the coconut milk, sugar, some vanilla bean paste and a little water, but for some reason my rice cooker wouldn't cooperate. It shut off after about ten minutes and then refused to stay in cook mode, which I suspect is related to the sugar and the coconut milk being heavier than a standard rice and water mixture.
So I dumped everything into a saute pan and started stirring over low heat. I ended up cooking and stirring for about a half hour and added about another cup or so of water gradually as it was absorbed by the cooking rice, just like with risotto. To finish, I added the juice of half a lime and some zest and topped with some toasted flake coconut. I think it would have benefitted from some butter at the end too, but that would have put it into the Ina Garten stratosphere of fat content (given the presence of an entire can of coconut milk) and I just couldn't stuff my guilt THAT far down.
Garnished with a lime slice and there you have it...dessert risotto, aka coconut rice pudding, risotto style, because you never know what you might invent if you've got a big enough sugar jones.

I thought it was pretty darn good, but you've definitely got to be a rice pudding or sticky rice eater to appreciate it. I think it would have been great with mango or any other slightly tart tropical fruit, either mixed in at the end or used as garnish. Boy and I disagreed on this, but for me the addition of the lime zest and juice was what really made it work.
It's definitely got to be eaten warm. I had a taste of the leftovers from the fridge for breakfast was too gummy.

Risotto Style Coconut Sticky Rice

1 1/3c. short grain sweet rice. (I used Apple Brand from the Asian market but I think regular arborio rice would be fine too.)
14oz. canned coconut milk
2/3c. water, plus more as needed
3/4c. sugar
Vanilla bean or bean paste
1/4tsp. salt
juice and zest of 1/2 a lime
toasted coconut
lime slices

Combine rice, coconut milk , vanilla bean and 2/3c. water in large saute pan or skillet over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed, gradually adding more water as needed, like you would with risotto. Cook and stir until rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and add the juice of half a lime and 1-2tsps. of zest. (Stir in a tablespoon or two of butter here, too, maybe).
Spoon into serving dishes, garnish with toasted coconut and a slice of lime and serve warm. Makes 4-6 servings.

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