How about some RIZ AU LAIT NOUVEAU? Or some Vegan Leftover Brown Rice Pudding if you prefer…

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I made a little too much brown rice for dinner. I never seem to make too much basmati or jasmine or just plane old boring white rice, so how does this happen with brown rice? One big reason is Mr. Fish. He loves white rice (and refined sugars, pastas, etc.) and there is generally none left, regardless of the initial amount made. Brown rice, or riz complet or whole rice as we call it here, has a much more difficult time winning his heart. Or his stomach.

I think that Mr. Fish has a thing for rice pudding or riz au lait. It had not escaped my attention that his mom often stocked her fridge with store-bought two-serving sized containers of rice pudding prior to our visits when we still lived in Paris and came down for weekends, but it wasn’t something we’d ever really talked about openly. By the end of the weekend they’d be gone, mysteriously, thought I never once saw him indulge. He’d never slipped any in our cart while grocery shopping, never proposed we make some or more aptly that I make some; it remained a non dit. And at the beginning of our relationship I was in a lacto-ovo period, so I totally could have made some, or at least bought some, I digress.


I decided to make some pudding with this leftover rice taking up room in my tiny fridge, but the problem is that my childhood memories of rice pudding were anything but compatible with my vegan lifestyle. After a few cursory searches on-line I found that whole eggs, cream and milk were rice pudding’s best friends. There were some vegan options out there, but most all of them called for white rice, cooked or uncooked. So I did what I do best, I improvised. I went to a few culinary Frenchie blogs and websites hoping to find something close to what Mr. Fish loved, noted the recipes, omitting the obvious animal components, and set to work, the Guppy at my side “helping” me. This is what we came up with:

  • Riz au Lait Nouveau or Vegan (leftover) Brown Rice Pudding*
  • 3 cups non-dairy milk (I used plain soy)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/3 cup raisins (I used half golden, half regular)
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice

Add all the ingredients and stir over medium heat until the rice syrup is dissolved, then add the rice and raisins. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until most of the milk has been absorbed, stirring occasionally. I’m a fairly novice cook, so I wondered if I’d have to add a little arrow root or kuzo to thicken things up, but the rice broke down nicely and made things starchy enough and after cooling it was thick and creamy. I used a blend of raisins because neither Mr. Fish nor the Guppy like raisins, and because the Guppy is practically a fruitarian right now, I’ll try just about anything I can to get trace nutrients into her. It worked!! The golden raisins just sort of blended into the mix and looked like rice.

The real test was Mr. Fish- would he indulge sans restraint, as if it were the real deal, or would he taste it and turn up his nose as he often does at my “healthy” versions of things. I intentionally was generous with the sweet content to help convince him it could be yummy without whole cream and eggs. He was rather surprised by the color because it was a bit less chemically-induced white than the store-bought counterparts he’d grown to love, but I told him it was the vanilla and he reluctantly tasted…and…SUCCESS! He loved it, and after his first bowl asked me if he could have another without it being too decadent. He didn’t even diss the raisins as he usually does. There was no riz au lait to be found in our fridge the next day. Now, I was sure to make it clear as I often must that cruelty-free is sadly not synonymous with calorie-free, but it was cholesterol free and nearly fat-free, so a healthier indulgence.

*As I typed the title for today’s entry, I couldn’t help but think how terribly unsexy that sounded “Vegan (leftover) Brown Rice Pudding”. Huh. Thanks, but no thanks, missy. It’s true, adding the word “leftover” to nearly anything moves it to a sort of second class position, because hey, were it delicious in the first place, well, there would be none left, right? Thanks to the grace of the French language it has become riz au lait nouveau, and that, my friends, sounds soooo much better, n’est ce pas?