Monday, June 04, 2007

Quinoa-Coconut-Cardamom Pudding: the best dessert in the world

I based this creation on the "Coconut-Cardamom Rice Pudding" recipe from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson. Only instead of rice, I used quinoa, a nutritious and nutty grain. The recipe calls for already-cooked grain, so this was an easy way to recycle some leftover quinoa. More important though, I realized that substituting quinoa (KEEN-wah) would complete a triple alliteration with Coconut and Cardamom. If there's anything I've learned from my vast cooking experience, it's not what a recipe tastes or looks like that determines the quality -- it's what it sounds like.

Anyway, the dish turned out quite well. I would still say that rice makes for a tastier and more satisfying dish. Rice gives a smooth feel, whereas quinoa results in a denser, crunchier texture. It's really a matter of preference. Rose water adds a great pizzazz but it's hard to come by and by no means essential. If unavailable, try using 1 tsp. of vanilla extract.

Serves 4

2 cups cooked quinoa (or basmati rice)
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup sugar or natural sweetener
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 cup coarsely chopped raw pistachios
1 1/2 tsps rose water (optional)
pinch of salt

Place the rice, coconut milk, sugar in a medium size saucepan over low heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cardamom and salt and simmer until thick and creamy, 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the pistachios and rose water. Let cool to room temperature before serving, or cover and refrigerate to serve chilled.

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