‘I can make that.’ Do you have that thought sometimes?
I do. Often. Most of the time it’s in reference to a recipe. It usually happens when I’m scrolling through my social media feeds.
Similar thoughts include:
‘I wonder if I can make that healthy…’
‘I could veganize that by…’
‘If I made that I would…’
This recipe is an example of a time when I thought to myself, ‘I can make that.’ After I checked out the recipe the thought changed to ‘I can make that healthier.”
I can’t help it. Healthifying recipes is my passion.
Brown Rice Maple Cardamom Pudding
The photo of Dreamy Leaf’s Brown Rice and Maple Cardamom Pudding isn’t what first caught my attention.
It was “brown rice”.
I know. I’m weird. Some obsess over chocolate. Others obsess over peanut butter. Me? I obsess over wholesome ingredients. Brown rice… chickpeas… dates…
Then I allowed myself to take in the whole title. Maple… cardamom… pudding. Cardamom? Hell yes. Pudding? Oh yeah.
But maple? I paused.
It’s not that I dislike the taste of maple. The word triggered a hunch. I predicted that the recipe would include too much added (and refined) sugar. I.e. it wouldn’t be healthy.
I clicked the link in Dreamy Leaf’s profile to check out the recipe.
The recipe may be fine for some. But once I saw the recipe, it confirmed my hypothesis: too much added sugar
I also noticed that it was high fat and contained coconut. Two more characteristics I wasn’t fond of.
The road to my own brown rice pudding
I was still going to try the recipe. I was simply going to change up a few ingredients in order to make it fit my standards.
I knew I’d be keeping many aspects of the original recipe.
The brown rice and cardamom were keepers. Plant-based milk, cinnamon and an almond taste were staying as well.
The main components that I was going to alter were the:
- Almond milk
- Coconut cream
- Maple syrup
(I omitted the vanilla extract for availability reasons, and not for taste or health reasons.)
What were the new players to the game?
- Dates. The dates replaced the maple syrup as the sweetener.
- Almond extract. It gives a slight nutty flavor similar to the almond milk.
- Cornstarch. Cornstarch thickens the pudding up a bit and allows it to set in the refrigerator.
Honorable mentions include black pepper and fenugreek. Black pepper brings out the sweet flavor while adding to the slight kick that cardamom and cinnamon bring. Fenugreek compliments cardamom in a way similar to nutmeg.
I also adore fenugreek. It’s an amazing spice. Now it was time to execute.
Sometimes dates are the pits
I outlined my process for making the pudding and got to work.
I began by adding some rice and water to a small blender cup. I blended for a few moments to pulverize the rice. Then I added my dates and cornstarch.
I began to blend again.
What the hell? There was a weird noise coming from my mini blender. Why did it sound like there were rocks in my blender?
OH S**T. I forgot to pit the dates.
I’d soaked them without removing the pits. And then I’d put them in my blender. Crap.
I didn’t know what to do. The mixture was so thick and chunky that I couldn’t distinguish date chunks from pits. I started going through the mixture with a spoon, attempting to get the pits out.
The first round of “pitting” was somewhat successful. I fished two pits out. Yet that meant 3 remained. I didn’t know what else to do except finish the recipe.
I added the spices and almond extract and started blending again. The noise coming from the blender was disturbing. I knew it shouldn’t be making that noise. I also knew what the problem was.
I just didn’t know how to fix it.
As soon as everything looked like it was blended I cut the engine. I diluted the rice milk mixture by adding water. Instead of blending this time, I simply screwed on the lid and shook.
I poured the blended mixture slowly into my saucepan. At the bottom of my blender cup were the remaining date pits. I was relieved that they weren’t pulverized into my sticky rice pudding.
The pits didn’t ruin my pudding. I was quite content. I finished the recipe according to plan.
After a quick photo shoot, I thoroughly enjoyed my sticky rice pudding.
Say hello to dessert in less than 20 minutes flat. Dreamy Cardamom and Date Sticky Brown Rice Pudding is as tempting as it is healthy. You won’t be able to resist making this low-fat dessert over and over.
Vegan and free of added salt, sugar, oil, gluten, soy, nuts and seeds
Reasons to love this recipe: low fat, ready in 20 minutes or less, no refined sugar
Time: 20 minutes
Inspired by Dreamy Leaf
- 2 c. cooked brown rice
- 1 1/2 c. warm water (from the tap is fine)
- 10 pitted and soaked dates
- 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. cardamom
- 1/4 tsp. fenugreek
- 1/8 tsp. cinnamon
- 3 cracks black pepper
- 1 tsp. almond extract
Add 1/2 cup rice, 1/4 cup warm water, dates and cornstarch to a small blender. Blend until smooth.
Add the spices (cardamom, fenugreek, cinnamon and black pepper) and the almond extract to the blender. Blend again. Finally, add the other 1 cup of water to the blender. Pulse momentarily to incorporate the water.
Transfer the blended mixture and the rest of the brown rice to a medium saucepan. Cover.
Turn the heat on high to bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil. Occasionally stir the mixture to prevent sticking. Once the pudding is boiling, uncover the pan and turn down the heat to a simmer. Allow the pudding to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Enjoy warm. Garnish with fruit or spices as desired.