Working With What You Have: Rice Pudding Cereal

DISH: Honeyed Rice Pudding Cereal with Walnuts
TYPE: Breakfast

Next to fried noodles and hot raisin bread, rice pudding cereal was my favorite breakfast growing up. It was my only experience of rice pudding for a long time, perhaps until I was introduced, in middle school, to cardamom-flavored kheer at Mughlai, the best Indian restaurant ever. We used to go there in big groups and order so much off the menu that the waiters would wind up giving us dessert for free. After that, I looked up recipes for Indian rice pudding and found that they were completely different from what my mother always made. Good old American rice pudding, baked or stovetop, also uses a different method. They all start from raw rice, which cooks in milk for a long time, and, as a result, turns into a pudding.

We began with leftover cooked rice (from a takeout container or otherwise), which is maybe why we called it “pudding cereal” and not just pudding. The rice would have dried out in the fridge and was ready, like stale bread for French toast, to absorb the egg, milk, and flavorings we added. I am sure the starch in the rice plays a role in thickening the pudding, but the egg does too, and together they make the dish ready in less than twenty minutes. I think when I made the Indian rice pudding, the recipe demanded I stand over the stove for something like 2 hours. This is not that.

Though you can throw in raisins or cinnamon, or any other kind of oatmeal-type add-ins, I like this best plain, or, if not exactly plain, topped with a lot of plain white sugar. In fact, I usually go easy on the sugar in the actual pudding just so I can load it on on top. And then I don’t mix it in, at least not for a while, eating spoonfuls while the sugar is still crunchy and then stirring it all together at last once the sugar has completely melted.

All that being said, this particular rendition of rice pudding cereal had a baklava-like Greek twist: I topped it with honey and a couple chopped walnuts. Good, if not as good as the sugar-topped original, but still worth slaving over the stove first thing in the morning for.
From my small, breakfast-centric kitchen to yours,


Honeyed Rice Pudding Cereal With Walnuts
Serves 3
1 cup cooked rice, at least 1 day old
1 egg
2 1/2 cups milk
pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts
Mix the rice with the egg in a small saucepan. Add the milk and pinch of salt and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Once it’s bubbling gently, you have two options: keep the heat on medium or medium high and stir contantly until the pudding is thickened, 5-10 minutes, or lower the heat to low and stir occasionally until thickened 15-20 minutes. Stir in a tablespoon or two of honey, then pour the rest on top. Sprinkle with walnuts and serve. Can also be eaten cold.

  • Kate

    I love the baklava-like topping on this favorite breakfast of mine. Two quick quesitons: first, do any proportions change for white or brown rice? Secondly, is it really necessary to wait overnight? Or, could I make this with fresh rice. Can’t wait to try your topping…mmmm!

  • Lauren

    Just made this with brown rice (with almonds instead of walnuts and a peach sliced on top. ┬áSuper nummy and a nice change from my daily bowl of oatmeal. I’ll definitely keep it in the rotation – especially when it gets colder with some warm spicy flavors.

    • BGSK

      Thrilled you enjoyed! It’s one of my all-time favorites.

  • Allison Marsh

    We just made this for breakfast since I was looking for a way to use leftover brown rice. Next time I would cut back the amount of milk used by at least a half cup as our pudding was a bit runnier than we like (we used the low slow method.) It ended up taking about 27 minutes on low to thicken but it tasted pretty good in the end. We seasoned with maple syrup, cardamom, and cinnamon.

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