This is what happens when a restaurant doesn’t have what I want.
Basically Pulut Hitam is a rice porridge dessert made from black rice (which is actually a deep deep purple). Black rice has more fiber than white rice blah blah blah, so if you’re health conscious, you might have come across some.
Cooking the rice is pretty simple.
1. RINSE the rice and dump the water a couple of times to wash.
2. SOAK the rice for 1 hour to 24 hours. Honestly I didn’t taste a difference because you cook it to mush.
3. BOIL the rice, about 1/2 rice 1/2 water, and simmer for 30-35 minutes if you like your dessert grainy and plan on adding taro cubes (technically a different dessert), or 45 minutes (shown in picture above) if you want it to be more Pulut Hitam-y.
3.5. STIR the rice occasionally to prevent it from making a burnt patina on the bottom, and taste test!!
The only hard part of this recipe is finding the ingredients (which are all available at New Kam Man in New York Chinatown… and probably also available in your local Chinese food superstore). The next ingredient is…. palm sugar.
Palm sugar comes in these funky discs. I tried to smash it against the counter at first… hence the dents.
I took a hammer to it! Anyway, it tastes a little bit like sugar cane and is very mild. It turns out that I didn’t need to smash it into smithereens. This recipe requires A LOT of sugar. I ended up using the whole disk for about 1.5 cups of cooked rice. Either add a little sugar and zap it to soften it up, or stir like crazy and crush it with your mixing utensil.
I feel like it’s not a South Asian dessert until you’ve added some coconut milk. I’d love to make this fresh, but it’s just easier to buy the can. Someday when I’m old, I’m going to spend my days smashing coconuts and peeling plum tomatoes.
You end up with this goopy looking light purple thing. It’s much more delicious than it looks. I imagine that one day a molecular gastronomist will either strain the grainy stuff out of this and turn it into a flan or a creme brulee; or they will make it even grainier and more concentrated and make it into a cake or cookie.