An easy recipe for anyone desperate for a quick fix of the dairy rich version of this sweet comfort food. It takes about 20 minutes to prepare if you've got leftover rice.

  • 2c. cooked rice - I prefer polished jasmine rice, but any variety will work as long as you realize it may radically change the finished texture of the pudding.
  • 2c. milk (yes, you can sub in soy milk or rice milk, as long as it's not sweetened)
  • 2 large eggs (yes, you can use egg substitute, about half a cup)
  • 1/2c. sugar (if you really must use a sugar substitute, use sucralose as it can be cooked)
  • 1tsp. vanilla extract (I'm putting my foot down on this one, NO SUBSTITUTION. .... OK, OK, an actual vanilla bean is good too, but only the real deal will do!)
  • a dusting of cinnamon and/or nutmeg, or cardamom (optional)

Combine the milk and rice in a non-stick saucepan, add the spices if using them, and slowly heat to a low simmer. If it's a regular pot, you will need to scrape the bottom frequently with a heat resistant rubber spatula or some such to prevent scorching. While the rice and milk heats, beat the eggs well with the sugar and the vanilla.

When the rice and milk mixture is simmering, reduce the heat to low and remove the pan from the heat. Add all of the egg at once, stirring briskly to keep it from curdling on contact with the hot rice mixture. Continuing to stir, return the pan to the burner. Cook and stir for another minute or two until it starts to thicken. Cover the pan and let it sit over low heat and cook for another 5-8 minutes, stirring every once in a while. It should be very thick and essentially keep its shape when it's stirred; a spoon should stand up in it.

Serve immediately, or chill it for later. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 4-6 servings.

Fine tuning this recipe is easy. For softer rice, add about half a cup of water to the rice/milk mixture at the beginning and simmer for about 10 minutes before adding the eggs. For a sweeter pudding, add 2tbsp. more sugar or add raisins, dried cherries, or other dried fruit. Or spoon over the top some brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, or even jam when serving.

For raisins or currants, if you like them plump, stir in 1/4-1/2c. with the milk and rice. If you like them chewier, stir them in after it's finished cooking. If you like them boozy, soak them overnight in 2-3tbsp. of rum first, and stir it all into the pudding once it's done cooking. For a bit of crunch try sprinkling nuts over the top, like toasted sliced or slivered almonds or toasted hazelnuts broken into pieces. Or sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds. Or enjoy this homely dish in its natural state, it doesn't really need anything additional.

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