Earthy and sweet coconut matcha rice pudding - so creamy no one will believe it's vegan! Topped with date-sweetened adzuki red bean paste for a savory-sweet dessert that's vegetal and nutty with a hint of caramel. (It also makes a great naturally green St. Patrick's Day treat!)
They raised the downtown Berkeley metered parking rate to $3.50/hour last week. Consequently, my friend Carla and I discovered last week that it's actually cheaper to pay someone to deliver our milk tea boba than it is to meet at the tea house downtown. That's insane right? This breaking news is a little dangerous for someone who works from home and generally always has a matcha latte boba craving.
February is gone, which means my annual foray into all things matcha has begun. With this vegan coconut matcha rice pudding with date adzuki bean paste, I'm kicking off Matcha March 2017.
For the past few Marches, I've filled my blog with all things matcha without any real explanation. Though your deductive reasoning skills are the tops and you probably guessed it has something/everything to do my love of St. Patrick's Day.
What if I told you that was all based on a lie though? What then?
I'm not a heavy drinker and I tend to avoid large crowds. I'm also not Irish (that I know of?). I love the holiday for literally no other reason than I was born on St. Patrick's Day.
Except that's not even true, you guys! In truth, I was born the day after St. Patrick's Day, which is a totally benign birthday. Until you get to college and realize everyone is hungover on your birthday and no one wants to go out the day after one of the biggest drinking days of the year. Then you start lying about your birthday and celebrating at midnight the night before.
So there you have it. My fake almost-birthday + my passion for matcha = Matcha March. Truth be told, I love matcha so much that even if it weren't for this birthday fib, I might still dedicate the month to matcha just for the alliteration.
A nod to my recent over-indulgence in warm matcha latte boba tea, this rice pudding combines lightly vegetal matcha and creamy coconut milk with the sweet texture of soft arborio rice porridge. My Nana's Danish rice pudding recipe, from which this is very loosely adapted, is served cold with whipped cream folded in at the last minute. But with this off again on again winter chill still lingering - and after spending a week eating the congee leftovers (rice pudding's savory twin) from a New York Times photoshoot - I've been craving warm sweet rice porridge.
Sasha sautéed up some bourbon dates with orange zest to serve atop the warm cinnamon coconut rice pudding variation on this same recipe that Alanna and I made for dessert the first night of our #realeatsretreat. I drew inspiration from those dates and used them to sweeten this adzuki red bean paste, giving it a mild caramel flavor reminiscent of maple roasted sweet potato mash.
These pudding cups combine earthy nutty matcha folded into creamy coconut rice pudding and a date-sweetened adzuki red bean paste topping to create a savory-sweet dessert that no one will believe is vegan! For that vibrant Saint Patrick's Day green, be sure to use high-quality matcha (see what I use in the recipe below).
Coconut Matcha Rice Pudding
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup uncooked arborio white rice
- 2-⅔ cups canned lite coconut milk (a little less than two 14.5oz cans)
- 1-⅓ cups coconut water
- ½ cup + 1 tablespoon raw turbinado sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Rodelle Organics Vanilla Extract)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon high-quality matcha (I use Encha organic latte grade matcha)
- ½ cup canned coconut cream (see note)
Date Adzuki Bean Paste
- ½ cup dry adzuki beans
- ½ cup finely chopped pitted dates (I used medjool dates)
- Bring water to boil over medium heat in a medium saucepan.
- Add rice and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Drain rice thoroughly and rinse saucepan.
- In the same saucepan, bring coconut milk, coconut water, sugar, vanilla bean scrapings and pod, vanilla extract, and salt to boil over medium heat.
- Stir in the drained rice and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes.
- Cover the saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Crack lid halfway through the cooking time to let some moisture out and be careful not to burn the rice on the bottom of pan.
- Fold in the coconut cream. Sift matcha powder over the top and stir to combine. Taste and adjust matcha to taste (I used close to 1½ tablespoons for a strong matcha flavor).
- Serve topped with date red bean paste.
Date Adzuki Bean Paste
- In a small saucepan, cover beans with water (3-4 cups) and bring to boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes then drain the beans well and rinse the saucepan.
- Return the beans to the pot, cover with 3-4 cups of water, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and bring to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 25-45 minutes, adding more water if needed to keep the beans covered. The beans will be very soft and will easily squish between your fingers when finished (almost falling apart on their own) - mine took 25 minutes, but you can cook up to an hour, if needed!
- Drain the beans through a fine mesh sieve or a towel-lined colander and again rinse the pot.
- Add the chopped dates and ¼ cup water to the pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring and adding more water a tablespoon at a time as needed if the dates get too dry. Cook until the dates begin to break down into a paste, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add the cooked beans to the pot and cook, stirring, until completely combined into a chunky paste. Spoon warm over rice pudding or, if you prefer, purée the sweet red beans in a food processor or blender until smooth before spooning over pudding
I do not recommend using the coconut cream from Trader Joe's as they seem to have updated their supplier and the new consistency is a bit oily.