#69 arroz con leche

Although common translation calls this rice pudding, I refuse to associate it with the different variants that exist in the world, simply because for Latin America, arroz con leche – literally rice with milk – is it’s own delicious and comfort-filled treat.  And even in spite of the fact that arroz con leche itself has many variants on its own, our simpler Honduran version is (of course) my favorite!  It doesn’t involve egg yolk like the Mexican kind, or coffee like the Colombian kind, or coconut milk like the Brazilian kind…it’s a simple blend of rice, milk, cinnamon, sugar, and maybe raisins!

Sweet & simple, this creamy dessert is a delicious reminder of my childhood.  It was a family favorite at my great grandparent’s house, and I can even remember the glass bowl it was set on the table in right after lunch.  Of course, the delicious traditional was passed on and my mother also prepared arroz con leche ever so often.  I was very surprised upon my arrival in Germany to find their own version of rice pudding, Milchreis, sold in the yogurt section of the supermarket.  I’ve gotta admit, I haven’t done my research well and have refused to try any other version of arroz con leche out there!  Stubborn as I am, the truth is I don’t mind the smells & tastes of great batch of my Honduran version made with love right at home.

For the Arroz con Leche

  • 3 cups (720ml) of water
  • 1 cup (250g) of long-grain white rice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 cups (960ml) of whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (200g) of sugar
  • Cinnamon powder (for garnish)

Clean & wash the rice before using it.  In a heavy pot add the rice, cinnamon stick, and salt with 4 cups of water and set heat to high.  Bring the rice mixture to a boil, uncovered.  When it starts to boil, lower the heat to medium and cook until water is almost evaporated.

While the rice is cooking, add the milk to the pot, along with vanilla extract and sugar to the rice and cook over medium-low heat, stirring carefully, until it thickens slightly or until desired consistency, about 30 minutes.  Please note that as the rice cools, it thickens.  Let cool uncovered.  Sprinkle with cinnamon powder when serving.

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