Happy Christmas Eve!
Arroz con dulce. Sweet rice. A Puerto Rican Christmas dish. Despite my Puerto Rican heritage, I was not introduced to this creamy amazingness until December of 2007.
It happened while I was visiting family in Puerto Rico. They gave me a rice dish and said eat it. The cinnamon clovey goodness was a welcoming holiday treat.
“You’ve never had this before?” My Tio asked astonishly.
“No!” I replied turning to Mumika, “why havent you made this?!?! Bad Puerto Rican!.
Turns out she forgot they made this around Christmas. I guess that’s what happens when you marry outside your culture. In fact, Mumika didn’t cook Puerto Rican food until after dad died.
As I stated in a previous post, I’m trying to make a traditional Puerto Rican Christmas meal a Christmas Eve tradition.
Arroz con dulce
1 1/2 cups rice
3 12.5 oz cans of coconut milk
3 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
A pinch of nutmeg
3/4 cup sugar
Ground cinnamon for garnish
Soak the rice in water for an hour. Strain rice and set aside.
In a medium pot pour 3 1/4 cans of coconut milk, and cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to it. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low heat.
At low heat, add the rice to the pot. Bring to a boil again and reduce to a low heat. As the rice soaks in the coconut milk, stir twice to make sure the rice at the bottom does not burn.
When the rice is dry, as in you can see the rice, stir in the sugar. Then add the remainder of the coconut.
Continue cooking on low heat stirring occasionally to make sure the rice does not burn. A light golden brown is fine, makes the rice look like it has character.
When you can see all the grains of rice and there is hardly any liquid left to boil down, take the cinnamon sticks and whole cloves out and pour the rice into a shallow container. A 9×13 baking dish works perfect.
Let the rice cool down to room temperature, sprinkle some cinnamon on top, and put it in the fridge.
Serve when cold.
Makes 16 servings. Calories: 180, Carbohydrates: 16 grams, Sugar: 10 grams, Fiber: 1 gram, Protein: 2 grams
Traditionally, there’s raisins but a) I hate raisins and b) dried fruit = extra sugar, a lot of extra sugar and c) I really hate raisins. Who wants dehydrated leathery fruit instead of juicy nommy goodness that bursts with flavor into your mouth with that first bite. But if you want to add raisins add 1/2 a cup when you add the sugar.
This dessert is amazing. It sings in your mouth Christmas carols in Spanish. One little square is enough because its so rich in flavor.
Also, do not leave this unattended while making it. The coconut milk will over boil and explode all over your stove. So keep a close eye on it. It took me an hour to make it. But its worth it in the end.
Even though it is a cold dessert, it also tastes scrumptious hot. The hardest part is waiting for it to chill. Luckily, I was at my inlaws so I didn’t have to worry about it luring me to eat it. my mother had to deal with that instead and I know she was just itching to get her hands on it because when I left her she was licking the pot clean.
It is that good.