A little history about my family: I’m first generation Canadian born from Portuguese parents who fled a dictatorship controlled Portugal in the 1970’s. I had a very traditional Portuguese upbringing which, thankfully, meant a lot of delicious Portuguese cuisine.
What is Portuguese cuisine?
No. It’s not just Nando’s chicken.
But whenever people ask me I have a hard time describing Portuguese food. “Uhhh it’s a lot of cod fish and chourico and kale and potatoes and beans”.
But it really is so much more than that.
Ethnic foods such as sushi, pad thai or jap chae are no longer ethnic anymore. They’ve become mainstream and a regular part of our every day lives. Yet Portuguese cuisine remains undiscovered.
I’m here to uncover it.
(along with the help of my mom)
Welcome to the Portuguese Cooking series.
Today we start off with one of my favourite desserts (with variations from all over the world) – Arroz Doce, also known as Sweet Rice or Rice pudding.
Serves: 1 large serving platter or 6 individual plates
- 1 cup white short grain rice
- 2 1/2 cups 2% milk
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Pinch of salt
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1hr 20 minutes
- In a pot bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add rice, stir and immediately drain water.
- Add one cup milk, lemon peel and a pinch of salt to your rice. Simmer at very low heat, occasionally mixing to prevent the rice from sticking to the pot.
- When the rice starts to absorb the liquids, add another cup of milk. Let simmer over low heat and continue to stir occassionally.
- Once the rice has again started to absorb the milk, add one cup of sugar and stir.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 4 egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Add to the pot of rice with a tablespoon of butter. Mix thoroughly and often to prevent sticking over low heat.
- Continue to simmer until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is thoroughly cooked. Remove lemon peels.
- Pour your sweet rice onto a serving platter or individual plates and decorate with cinnamon. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
Arroz doce is very easy to cook but, like most Portuguese recipes, is just a bit time consuming. The most important thing to remember is to cook the rice over a very low heat and to stir often. You don’t need to be a slave to the stove for the entire hour and a half. My mom often will leave the rice for a bit while she does other things. But do check on it every so often and give it a good stir. The finished result will be very sticky, sweet and delicious!
The cross hatch cinnamon design you see above is pretty standard, but there are so many ways you can decorate your arroz doce. This stenciled design and all of these make me happy. But if decorating intimidates you there’s nothing wrong with simply sprinkling the cinnamon on top. For an extra special touch top it off with a stick of cinnamon.
I hope you try it out and enjoy this sweet as much as I do!
Oh and heads up! Thursday’s Squirrelly Minds expert is a makeup artist! Have any questions about makeup? E-mail them for a chance for Sara to answer.