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Secrets from the Banana Tree Kitchen – Balinese Rice Pudding

The line between breakfast and dessert is a fine one – just think of sugar-dusted crepes, crisp Belgian waffles and chocolate chip-studded muffins. At Banana Tree, this line is one that we love to walk. Any excuse to eat a sweet treat is fine by us! However, pancakes and pastries pale in comparison to our favourite breakfast-dessert crossover, Balinese Rice Pudding.

Half porridge, half dessert, Balinese Rice Pudding is the perfect thing to eat when you want something that’s simple, comforting and moreish. Hailing from Malaysia and Indonesia, this dish (known as ‘pulut hitam’) is made by slowly simmering sticky black rice until it is soft but still maintains a wonderfully toothsome texture. The rice is cooked with pandan leaves for an aromatic flavour, and it also gets a hit of sugar for caramelised sweetness. At the end, the pudding is drizzled with lightly salted coconut milk for a rich contrast.

This authentic dish is one that you’ll find on the menu of any Malaysian restaurant in West Hampstead worth its salt. However, at Banana Tree, we take our Balinese Rice Pudding to the next level by serving it with a cheeky scoop of melted coconut ice cream for a bit of extra decadence. It’s an excellent way to finish a meal (particularly one that’s packed with heat!).

Of course, in order to have the full Indochinese experience, you’ll need to swing by Banana Tree and sample our delicious curries, salads and noodles, then round out your dinner with a helping of our Balinese Rice Pudding. But if you want to bring a taste of our restaurant into your home, try whipping up this Banana Tree-inspired recipe for pulut hitam in your own kitchen.

At Banana Tree, we serve Balinese Rice Pudding for dessert, but it’s lovely any time of day – it’s even great as a make-ahead breakfast! Just cook it in advance, store it in the refrigerator and reheat it for a quick, satisfying morning meal.

Balinese ‘Pulut Hitam’ Rice Pudding, inspired by Banana Tree

Serves 6

300g black sticky rice

170g sugar

2 pandan leaves

450ml coconut milk

½ tsp. salt

Coconut ice cream, for serving

Place the rice in a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight.

Drain the rice and transfer to a saucepan. Cover with 1.5 litres of water, stir in the sugar, add the pandan leaves and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, over low heat for about 45 minutes, until the rice is soft and broken. Discard the pandan leaves.

Meanwhile, combine the coconut milk and salt in a saucepan and gently heat.

To serve, spoon some of the rice pudding into a bowl and drizzle the coconut milk over it. If serving for dessert, add a scoop of coconut ice cream on top. 

Why choose between breakfast and dessert? We love Balinese Rice Pudding because it does double duty. Whether you choose to eat Balinese Rice Pudding at the start of your day or the end of your meal, you’re in for a fantastic sweet treat.