I'll be straight up with you: I'm not really a cereal person. On a restaurant menu, I totally glaze over the cereal or grain section in favor of more exciting choices such as pancakes or eggs or French toast. Or a vanilla kreme filled donut. You know.
But I have discovered a treat in Bali that really revs my engine in the morning (yes, I just said that), and its name is Black Rice Pudding. It's wonderful, sweet, and provides me with ample energy for doing tons of yoga. This is actually me:
I know, I totally rule, right??
But back to the rice pudding. Actually, it doesn’t have to be a beginning of the day treat. The pudding can be eaten as a porridge-like morning food, or as a more rice pudding-y dessert. Black rice sweetened with palm sugar and wrapped in banana leaves can also be found at the markets for a traditional treat.
But to keep things fairly simple, I'm going to stick with the breakfast version, because it's my favorite time to enjoy this sweet treat. Plus, if it's technically breakfast, then it's ok to order dessert, too.
So what should you expect when you order black rice pudding?
The black rice is lightly boiled and then served in any number of slight variations on this basic method: with palm sugar-soaked coconut milk and bananas on top. I don't know how these fairly virtuous ingredients do it, but when they come together, they will make you want to keep eating until you burst open in some sort of carbohydratey explosion.
One of my favorites so far was from famed restaurant Casa Luna (home of a literary festival and a bakery--I felt very at home), where they serve it in a big bowl, made in the exact way detailed above. The rice itself is sort of al dente textured, but it softens as you eat it--almost like how Grape Nuts start out gravelly but then turn nice and soft in the milk. As the rice became soaked with the sweet coconut sugar mixture, each kernel became a vessel for transporting a mini burst of awesome in my mouth. There were just enough bananas to keep things interesting, but not too many so as to be distracting. This was a thoroughly happy food to eat.
But you don't have to limit yourself to Casa Luna for consuming this delicious treat. It's a common item on menus, and can typically be made any time of day.
I found a good-looking black rice pudding recipe in case you're intrigued. And I found another one that is like a tricked out version. It sounds about right to me, and I am going to give it a try when I am back home. Although more and more, Bali is starting to seem like home!
Love from Bali,
Mentioned: Casa Luna, Jalan Raya Ubud, Bali. Online here.