Sticky rice is eaten everywhere in Vietnam and the black-hued variety is best-known boiled, sweetened and served as a pudding. When cooked, the rice has a viscous texture and turns a deep purplish colour, which adds a lovely bit of vibrancy to dishes. Essentially a rice pudding, we’ve added flourishes of shaved coconut and palm sugar in this recipe. If you prefer this dessert congee-style – more like rice porridge – add more water and sugar to taste.
- 195 g (¾ cup) finely grated dark palm sugar (see Note)
- 65 g (⅓ cup) black sticky rice (see Note), soaked overnight
- 125 ml (½ cup) coconut cream
- 165 g (¾ cups) caster sugar
- 600 ml thickened cream
- 1 pandanus leaf (see Note), knotted
- 6 egg yolks
- fresh shaved coconut, toasted
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time overnight
DRINK Don Julio Anejo Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico ($100)
To make dark palm sugar syrup, place palm sugar and 125 ml water in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Set aside to cool completely.
Drain rice, place in a small saucepan and add enough water to cover by 2½ cm. Place over high heat, stir in half the coconut cream and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until rice is tender but still maintains its shape. Stir in remaining 60ml coconut cream, 55 g caster sugar and 1 tsp salt. Set aside to cool completely.
Place thickened cream and pandanus leaf in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to just below boiling point. Place egg yolks and remaining 110 g caster sugar in a bowl, whisking until thick and pale. Pour hot cream over yolk mixture, whisking to combine. Pour mixture back into pan and cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes or until mixture coats the back of the spoon. Strain through a sieve.
Preheat oven to 150°C. Divide rice mixture among 4 x 250 ml (1 cup) ramekin dishes, then carefully top with cream mixture. Place ramekins in a roasting pan and pour enough boiling water into pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Cover pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until custard is set but still slightly wobbly. Remove ramekins from pan and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve topped with toasted coconut and drizzled with dark palm sugar syrup.
• Dark palm sugar, black sticky rice and pandanus leaves are available from Asian food shops.
Photography by Chris Chen. Drinks suggestions by Dan Coward.