What to CookBreakfast

Leftover-Rice Rice Pudding

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Each Thursday, Emily Vikre (a.k.a. fiveandspice) will be sharing a new way to love breakfast -- because breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day. It's also the most awesome.

Today: Leftover rice isn’t really leftovers: It's the start of a very good, speedy weekday breakfast.

Leftover rice, I believe, isn’t really leftovers so much as it is the start of a new meal. When you have leftover rice, you have the base for fried rice or rice pudding, and it’s worth making leftover rice specifically for both of these dishes. 

More: How to make great, fluffy rice.

Fried rice makes for a splendid breakfast -- it usually has an egg in it anyway, so it’s definitely breakfast food. But today let’s focus on rice pudding, which, while less sizzling, is just as splendid for breakfast in its own gentle way. The soft quietness of rice pudding reminds me of powdery fresh snowbanks, both of which make me think of forgiveness. I’d also like to shove my face into both of them.

Rice pudding made from leftover rice isn’t really a recipe -- it's a forgiving formula. It’s taking your already cooked rice and deciding that it is going to absorb more and become more. You can start with any sort of rice: white, brown, short-grain, long-grain. Just know that different types of rice will give you different textures. You then take your leftover rice and add an equal or up to three times the volume of creamy liquid (milk, coconut milk, almond milk, cream -- it’s best if you use at least some cream or its equivalent. The richness makes the pudding special.) The more liquid you add, the more pudding-y the final result will be, but the longer it will take to cook. Then, you gently simmer the rice and cream together until all the liquid is absorbed and the texture is thick but not gloppy.

I like to sweeten my pudding with maple syrup and spice it with cardamom and cinnamon. Sometimes I add raisins, and sometimes I make a quick sauce from frozen berries to top my pudding Scandinavian-style, but really you can do what you want. My senior year in college, my roommate and I were famous for our wild rice pudding for breakfast. It was a mix of wild rice, cream, dried cranberries and blueberries, and maple syrup. Whenever we had visitors, we would force them awake at 5:30 AM to eat it with us before we headed out for our days -- unforgettable, for a variety of reasons.

More: Dinner will happily take your leftover rice, too.

My Weekday Morning Rice Pudding

Serves 1

1/2 cup leftover cooked rice
1/4 cup milk or coconut milk
1/4 cup cream (or coconut milk)
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup (use more or less to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt
Fruit of your choice for topping (I tend to either use golden raisins or dried currants, or I make a quick sauce with whatever frozen berries are lurking in the freezer)

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Emily Vikre

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Tags: Weeknight Cooking