Rice pudding preferences seem to be a very personal decision. Our tasting group of 4 tried Scandinavian, Persian, Thai, and Indian rice puddings, and each had its own distinct flavor. I also made 2 versions of rice pudding, one with whole milk and one with almond milk. They had cooled down to room temperature by the time we tasted it so I reheated it, but it still wasn’t as good as it was hot and fresh.
We had so many different flavors, textures, and presentations of rice pudding that it feels hard to compare. I tried a Buddhist temple’s restaurant in East Dallas, Kalachandji’s, and they have a popular vegetarian buffet, but you can get dessert to-go, and a good-sized portion too. We had a couple black/purple rice pudding samples that were both delicious and served hot. Some of the portions, such as Ruang Thai, were tiny.
I met some really nice people on the ride pudding journey - as most samples you can’t get at grocery stores. Only Trader Joe’s had it of the 4 grocery stores I tried. And I’m guessing almost no one comes in and asks for dessert to-go. Judging by the surprised servers I met.
Oddly I had a lot of trouble eating through the leftover samples. Some went bad quickly, and many need to be served at certain temperatures. One of the tasters had never had rice pudding before, so I guess it’s not as common as I thought it was. When I want a rice dessert I think I’ll go to mango sticky rice - served hot or cold, a summer dish with fresh mango.
There wasn’t a clear winner, as we all had widely different tastes. Tied for first place was the homemade one with whole milk and Ruang Thai, which would have won if the portion size was bigger.
Second place was Kalajandi’s, and third place was Trader Joe’s, but one taster didn’t like any of those four.
Our least favorite was homemade almond milk which was watery, not creamy, and the second least favorite was from Kasra Persian as the rose water reminded many tasters of soap.
Here is the homemade rice pudding recipe I used. Let us know if you enjoy it as much as we did!
1 quart whole milk
1 cup white rice
6 tablespoons raw sugar
1 t salt
1 T vanilla
1 t cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
In a medium saucepan bring milk, rice, sugar and salt to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Lower heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes until the pudding thickens. Remove from heat and add vanilla and spices.