Fusion Friday: Spiced rice pudding (arroz con leche)

I have to admit, trying to find a Spanish fusion recipe for today has been nothing but trouble. For weeks I’ve been scouring the internet for a decent-looking recipe that fused Spanish cuisine with another that was actually recognizable to no avail. Spanish-Italian? Paella with tomatoes in it. Spanish-English? Chorizo bangers ‘n’ mash. Chinese tapas? Quit lying, internet – that’s straight up dim sum and you know it.

Finally, I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason there are no good fusion recipes is that Spanish cuisine, in and of itself, is already a fusion. It mixes ingredients and flavors from such a wide variety of styles that I’m not sure there’s that much left to mix it with. Sure, there’s no Spanish borscht (thank God), but by and large, most flavors are represented.

So, with that in mind, I’ve decided to feature a recipe that showcases some of that mixing of flavors. This recipe from Girl’s Guide to Spain combines the traditional Moorish ingredients of almonds, cardamom, citrus and rice into a delicious dessert (plus, it suggests topping it with mango – my favorite fruit!)

Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk and Cardamom

Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Author: Lauren Aloise
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (freshly ground if possible)
  • 2 cups of full fat, high quality coconut milk (I find Goya to be poor quality for this recipe and here in Spain I buy the brand sold at Corte Inglés)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (you can always add more)
  • ¼ cup basmati rice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Lime zest
  • Toasted almonds
  • Toasted coconut
  • Fresh fruit (optional, but I like mango or berries)
  1. In a saucepan bring the coconut milk, whole milk, and sugar to a bubble (stir to make sure the bottom doesn’t stick or burn).
  2. Add in the rice, cardamom, and salt. Stir well and lower the heat to a simmer. Let it reduce over the next 45 minutes until it is a thick and creamy pudding consistency. Make sure to stir every few minutes so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn.
  3. Taste the pudding, add more sugar if necessary and let it cool. You can serve it warm, or spoon it into serving bowls and refrigerate until cold.
  4. In the meantime, toast slivered almonds and sweetened coconut in a hot oven (don’t let them burn!). Top the rice pudding with the toasted almonds and coconut, grated lime zest, and mango or other fresh fruit.
  5. Enjoy your very own rice pudding with coconut milk and cardamom!