Coconut and Cracked Brown Rice Pudding

December 15, 2017(updated on August 30, 2021)

Earlier in the fall, I got an email from the folks at Goya. They were writing to tell me about one of the ways that they’re working to reduce hunger and asked if I’d be interested in helping spread the word. You see, every time someone has bought a can of Goya Coconut Milk in November and December, Goya has been donating products to Feeding America.

The donated food is then distributed to hungry families through local food banks across the country. This ‘Can Do’ campaign is part of Goya Gives, a national initiative committed to supporting local communities through social and environmental causes. By the end of the year, Goya will donate at least 600,000 pounds of food (the more you buy, the more they give).

They asked if they could send me a few ingredients with which I would develop a recipe featuring coconut milk. Of course I said yes (anything to help feed more people). The only problem is that I missed one word in the email. Savory. They wanted me to create a savory dish that could be served for dinner (makes sense, since Meatless Mondays was also part of the partnership). I blame the amount of space my new book is currently taking up in my head.

I made rice pudding before I reread the email and realized my mistake. And I just didn’t have time to create something new. So I’m here with a recipe that’s only in partial keeping with the campaign. But if it encourages you to head out and buy some Goya coconut milk, then I will still have done my job. And if savory is what you want, here are some other recipes to try.

I still encourage you to try this recipe. It’s lush, not-too-sweet, and is the perfect foil to bright, tangy jams. It’s cooked in the oven and only stirred occasionally, so it’s wonderfully hands off. The only trick is that you need to blitz the rice in a blender or food processor before combining it with the rest of the ingredients, to ensure a truly creamy texture.

This oven cooked technique borrows from recipes published by Laurie Colwin, Jane Grigson, and others. I use lengths of lemon peel to help balance the richness of the coconut milk, but you could also try lime or even cardamom pods. This time of year, a few cloves and some clementine peel would also be nice.

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Coconut and Cracked Brown Rice Pudding


  • 3/4 cup brown rice
  • 2 cans coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar brown sugar also works just fine
  • 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt


  • Preheat the oven to 250F.
  • Put the rice into a blender or food processor and pulse until most of the grains are cracked, but not so much that the rice is pulverized.
  • Combine the rice, coconut milk, and coconut sugar in an oven-safe pan or casserole.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, take strips of peel off the lemon (avoiding going too deeply. You don't want the white pith). Add the strips to the pot, along with a pinch of salt.
  • Place the pan in the oven and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring every half hour or so.
  • The time is up when you try a few grains of rice and they're all tender (careful, it will be hot).
  • Remove the pot from the oven. The pudding will still be a little liquidy, but it will thicken as it cools.
  • Serve with a dollop of jam, fruit butter, or leftover cranberry sauce.


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