This recipe creates a thick rice pudding. Made with coconut cream and fresh flower water, it has a sweet and exotic fragrance.
1/2 cup glutinous rice
1/2 cup unsprayed honeysuckle flowers, citrus blossoms or fragrant rose petals
1 3/4 cups boiling water
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons palm sugar
1 cup frozen thick coconut milk, thawed
4 teaspoons fine rice flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Rose petals, honeysuckle or lemon blossoms for garnish (optional)
Soak rice in warm water to cover by at least 1 inch for from 2 hours or overnight. Float honeysuckle flowers or the blossoms or petals in 1/2 cup warm water, cover, and let steep at room temperature for several hours.
Prepare a steamer, using a 14-inch wok, a Dutch oven or stockpot. Place a steaming rack in pot and pour in at least 2 inches of water (rack should be above water level). Cover and bring to a boil.
Drain rice and place in a wide, shallow bowl. Place bowl on rack in steamer. Add the 1 3/4 cups boiling water to rice, cover steamer and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, adding more boiling water to steamer as needed to keep the water level fairly constant.
When done, rice should be soft, and liquid almost soaked up and a little creamy. The rice will be a bit crunchy on the outside, but creamy in the center.
Remove petals from flower water and save for garnish if desired. Warm soaking water a little, then stir in palm sugar until just dissolved, adjusting sweetness as desired. Be careful heating the water, if it gets too hot, it will lose its aroma. Pour scented water over rice and stir gently. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.
Coconut cream: Pour coconut milk into a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat, whisk in rice flour and cook until just thickened. Stir in salt.
To serve: If rice has been refrigerated, reheat it in a steamer, or microwave until warm. Spoon rice into bowls and top with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the thickened coconut milk. Garnish with flowers, if desired.
Photo: Elm Street Antiques