I’m super excited about today’s sweet and scrumptious recipe. It’s a chai rice pudding that’s full of dried fruit, spices, maple syrup, and hearty brown rice. It makes for a perfectly healthy dessert, or–if you’re in the mood for something rich and celebratory–a great breakfast dish, too.
The recipe comes to you from a new cookbook that I’m particularly excited about: The Blender Girl cookbook, by Tess Masters. Many of my readers know Tess and her work already; she’s the mastermind behind the Healthy Blender Recipes website, which features a slew of vegan, raw, and gluten free recipes with a special emphasis on blending (so: puddings, smoothies, soups, raw desserts, and so on).
I first connected with Tess in NYC two years ago, and I was immediately charmed by her boundless energy (she’s a force of nature!), her infectious laugh, her empathy, and her enthusiasm for healthy living. Tess’ story, which you can read about in the preface of her book, involves a healing journey that brought her to many different food and lifestyle philosophies (raw, vegan, Body Ecology, alkaline diet, etc.). In the end, she “blended” up these different viewpoints to find the “eating style” (as I like to call it) that works for her. It’s something most of us in the healthy living corner have done, and it’s always interesting to hear from others who have gone through the process.
Tess’ book is gorgeous. It is exquisitely photographed, vibrant, elegant, heartfelt, and it features 100 gluten free and vegan recipes. As with Tess’ site, there’s an emphasis on blending! Some delectable highlights include edamame dip:
Gluten free pad Thai:
And this insane raw chocolate orange torte. OMG.
Other featured recipes in the collection include Fresh Spring Rolls with Orange-Almond Sauce, Twisted Caesar Pleaser, and Spicy Chickpea Burgers with Portobello Buns and Greens. One thing I love about Tess’ recipes–and it’s a quality I strive for with my own recipes–is that they’re highly adaptable and easy to make. Add an extra squeeze of this, another handful of that, or leave something out altogether—you can’t really mess them up. The book also includes details on the benefits of soaking, sprouting, and dehydrating as well as eating raw, probiotic-rich, and alkaline ingredients. But what makes the book shine the most is Tess’ incredible enthusiasm for healthy living, her sense of fun and adventure. And that’s what’ll keep me revisiting her words again and again.
If you’re eager for a taste of Tess’ work, check out this chai rice pudding. It’s fantastic, and you won’t be disappointed.
Chai Rice Pudding by Tess Masters
- 1/4 cup 60ml plus 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 apples peeled, cored, and cubed
- 1 cup 240ml canned coconut milk (shake, then pour)
- 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground cloves
- Pinch of natural salt
- 3 cups 450g cooked short-grain brown rice (soft but not mushy)
- 1/4 cup 45g raisins
- 1 cup 240ml unsweetened almond milk (strained if homemade)
- 1/3 cup 40g chopped raw pistachios
- In a saucepan over high heat, bring the 1/4 cup (60ml) of maple syrup and the water to a boil (this should take less than a minute). As soon as the mixture bubbles, reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the apples. Cook the apples for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they caramelize lightly and soften slightly but remain mostly firm.
- While the apples are cooking, put the coconut milk, the remaining 3 tablespoons of maple syrup, the vanilla, ginger, spices, and salt into your blender and blast on medium-high for about 10 seconds, until combined. Add 1 1/2 cups (225g) of the rice and process on medium-low for a few seconds, until creamy but rustic. (If you’re using a high-speed blender, be careful of overdoing it; you don’t want a completely smooth blend here, and it can happen quickly. The pudding will be goopy if you overblend. If you’re using a conventional blender, your machine will let you know when the mixture is ready; it’ll thicken and be difficult to blend.) Add the blended mixture and the raisins to the cooked apples and stir to combine. Stir in 1/2 cup (120ml) of the almond milk and the remaining 11/2 cups (225g) of cooked rice. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup (120ml) of almond milk and simmer for 5 minutes more, until you have your desired consistency (I take my rice pudding off the heat as soon as the liquid has been absorbed). Tweak the maple syrup to taste.
- Serve warm, at room temperature, or even chilled; add 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup (60ml) milk if you serve it chilled, to soften it up. Sprinkle pistachios on each serving.
- Recipe reprinted with permission from The Blender Girl: Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts, and Drinks--100 Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes! by Tess Masters, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
Tess is so talented and so generous. The Blender Girl cookbook is a perfect tribute to the work she’s done and the community she’s created, and I recommend it highly. Check it out today–and in the meantime, I hope you savor this beautiful pudding. I’ll see you back here tomorrow for weekend reading!
All photos in this post taken by Anson Smart © 2014