Pulut Hitam is a Malay dessert best served warm. Made with coconut milk, palm sugar, pandan and black glutinous rice, this sweet rice pudding joins the rungs of many Asian dishes that can be highly subjective to the food critic.
I made this simply because I found the black rice at NTUC when walking around one day. Yes, I walk around NTUC, it’s like a park to me. Anyways, I picked it up and having never made Pulut Hitam before, I had to consult my very own, personal culinary Goddess – my mother. After penning down instructions clearly, I made this. Here are some things that’ll be good to know before you start:
The black rice needs to be soaked overnight.
And when you do that, the rice swells to twice its original size, so please use a large enough container for the soaking. I exclaimed because I got a shock at how much these rice grains swell! The soaking part is essential, it makes cooking the rice so much easier.
The cooking of the rice is time-consuming. I found it best to bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to a low simmer and continue simmering it until the rice is soft. The water will never evaporate completely, and in fact, you might have to pour in some more if you feel the water is evaporating. This pudding is rather gloopy, so you’ll need water to achieve that.
My mom also said that I should use white sugar. Instead, I’ve used dark brown sugar. This helps with lending the pudding a more complex sweetness and mellows the almost chemical bite of the black rice. Dark brown sugar is sugar with molasses added, it won’t be needed as much compared to white sugar as well. And the molasses in this adds so much depth to the final dish and goes great with the coconut milk.
Most people brew this with a knotted pandan leaf in the pan when cooking the rice. I did not have a pandan leaf about my person when I made this, hence I have left it out. But please feel free to include it when you’re making this.