Monday, February 9, 2009

Arroz Con Leche de mi Tata (My Grandmas Rice Pudding)

I LOVE my Tata's (grandmother's) rice pudding.

Different countries have their own version of "Arroz Con Leche" and different cooks have their own personalized versions. It varies greatly, even in flavor and texture, the common thing is there's always a dairy and rice.

So what makes my grandmother's version worthwhile and delicious? Well it's so rich, creamy, and dense infused with a light lime or lemon flavor and cinnamon flavor. It incorporates whole milk, velvety evaporated milk, and rich creamy sweet condensed milk... as if that wasn't enough the butter gives it an unsurpassed richness and density. The short grain rice also makes it more creamy, more like risotto.

It's like "Arroz Con Leche" on steroids.

-2 cups short-grain rice (such as Valencia, , Bomba, Calaspara, Calrose, even other types of Japanese & Korean short-grain rices, oh almost forgot Arborio Rice also works here.)

-4 cups water
-1 big pinch of salt (about 1/4- 1/2 tsp. salt)
-2 cinnamon sticks
-2 small or 1 medium lime only the peel (lemon peel can be used in it's absence)
-3 cups whole milk
-1 can evaporated milk
-1 can sweetened condensed milk
-3/4's cup white cane sugar
-4- 8 tablespoons butter (that's about 1/2- 1 stick of butter)
-1/2- 1 cup regular raisins (optional some people hate raisins)
-ground cinnamon (to dust)

(1)In a large pot put rice and wash rice well, wash and drain about 3-5 times until water runs clear.

(2)Add water, salt, lime peel, and cinnamon stick, bring to a boil on high heat (stir occasionally while waiting for it to boil) once boiled stir, cover, and let simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes on the lowest heat until rice absorbs water.

(3)Meanwhile in a big bowl mix evaporated milk with whole milk, whisk in sweetened condensed milk and incorporate 3 milks well. (whatever you can't get out of the sweetened condensed milk can don't worry grab a spoon and scoop it out and eat it as a treat for you ha ha)

(4)Once the rice absorbs all the water, slowly add 3 milks mixture and stir in , bring heat back to high heat, and stir every 5 minutes occasionally until milk comes to a raging boil with the rice.

Trust me at first it will feel like you added to much milk but the rice will absorb a lot of it and thicken with time.
(5)Lower heat to low and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes total. After 5 minutes of of boiling on low the rice should have absorbed some of the milk and thickened a bit, check if grains are tender, add in white sugar, stir well, taste and see if you want to add more sugar to taste.

(6)At this point let it cook an additional 5 minutes, add the butter towards the end, and add the raisins to stir until everything is well incorporated.

(7)Turn off heat and dust lightly with ground cinnamon. (Your probably wondering why I have 1 pot and 1 other ceramic filled with rice pudding the reason is my father and little sister do not like raisins, so before adding the raisins I set aside some without raisins for my Dad and sister and whomever else may want to eat it without raisins)


This can be eaten as dessert at any temperature desired, it can be eaten hot, warm, room temp., or cold, it doesn't matter it's whatever you like. In hot day's I like it cold, in the winter I like it piping hot or warm. You can serve it in individual bowls and dust with cinnamon on those or like in my house we just make a big batch and everyone just get's their own bowl and goes help themselves. You can also eat this as a snack or heck even a big bowl for breakfast or late night meal ha ha.

Also, in case your wondering why I call my grandma "Tata" it's because she say's that's what they called grandmas in her family grandpa was called "Tato". I went to do some research and it came up that it's sometimes used in Madrid, Spain by some to refer to grandpa or grandma, it is used when the child is to young to properly say grandpa or grandma I think that's what came up, I don't know, some Cubans also call their grandma "Tata" and some Spaniards do to., I'm grown up well kinda and still call my grandmother "Tata" and she'd kill me if I called her anything else she say's "Abuela" (Grandma) or "Abuelita" (Granny) make her feel old.

*If you want to speed up the cooking time, while the rice is cooking with the water for about 25-30 minutes or so, you can mix the 3 milk mixtures and bring it to a boil then leave it on really low heat, that way when the rice has absorbed the water and you have to add the milk you won't have to wait long for the milk to come to a boil, after it boils you'll be done in like 10 more minutes.

*Well that's all I have to share for today :) Til next time ha ha.


Ben said...

I love arroz con leche and your Tata's version looks so yummy. Thanks for sharing.

Nathan said...

Arroz con leche is another one of those down home dishes, it's comfort food to many. Hope you try my Tata's version and tell me what you think :)

Marilyn said...

I Looove Arroz con Leche!
Saludos para Tata, great recipe.

Hilda said...

Genial este arroz con leche de tu Tata...
Lo malo de un buen arroz cremosito es que no puedes tomar solo un poco.

Karen said...

I love rice pudding and have my grandmother's recipe also. I'm going to have to make it soon!

Karen Brown Letarte said...

Estoy de acuerdo con Hilda-- es imposible no comer una racion enorme :) Por eso, casi nunca preparo arroz con leche.

!A mi no me gustan las pasas tampoco! Pero me encantan las grosellas negras, y por lo usual, las uso en vez de las pasas. (!Yo se, no tiene sentido!)

Karen Brown Letarte said...

Nathan, your grandma ROCKS!! I can't wait to try this! (of course, it's very, very bad for me... which means it will taste wonderful!)

:) Karen

Núria said...

I would love to meet your Tata, Nathan!
You know I never made arroz con leche before? I tried once, but it's too much for me... I mean, if it was a first, I would eat the whole bowl, but being a dessert... I'm so full by then that I can not eat two bites.

Nathan said...

Thanks :)

Muy cierto una cucharada te lleva a otra y la otra te lleva a otra, etc. jaja

Looking forward to your grandmother's rice pudding :)I'll go check out your blog when I have time this week :)

Karen Brown Letarte,
Yo nunca e' probado las grosellas negras, a que saben? Son lo que en ingles le llaman "blackcurrent"?... Okay back to english lol. your Spanish is very good :) Hope you enjoy i whenever you decide to make it, I like you am a guilty dessert fiend ha ha.

Nathan said...

Haha I almost forgot to respond to you sorry. Try making some "Arroz Con Leche" is condensed and evaporated milk popular in Spain? If you can't get it feel free to use milk in place of the evaporated milk, and replace the condensed milk with more sugar.

My biggest tip to you, is do not add the sugar until the rice is tender, do not "only" cook the rice in milk use water to, if you use only milk it will take FOREVER and if you add the sugar when the rice is still hard it will also take FOREVER.

You are so right rice pudding can be really heavy as a dessert after a large meal, and then I feel sorta guilty if I eat it after a meal (because I eat rice with most meals and then in addition eating a extra bowl of sweet rice pudding is just tooo much)

I usually have it for breakfast or as a meal or even late night snack haha. Same thing goes for bread pudding it's to heavy for me to indulge in after a meal.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I tried your recipe but I added too much salt, maybe too much lemon rind? I added the rind of one whole lemon. Too much? It was creamy but I wonder if boiling the three milk was the way to go since it feels a little gritty.... could it be that I added the butter when it was still on the low fire for about three minutes?
Maybe I'll go more traditional and leave out the butter next time. Any suggestions?

Nathan said...

Yeah the whole lemon peel is a bit too much I would say, if you see the photo I only used two small strips of lime peel, same would've been fine with lemon. As for the grittiness I'm shocked, all i could think about is the too much salt, maybe you used a coarse ground salt but it should've dissolved? Maybe the milks turned gritty because u didn't stir while heating up and something happened to the condensed milk? Maybe the rice wasn't cooked all the way through before you added the milks (did u taste the grains of rice prior to adding everthing else) there is nothing gritty about any of the ingredients in their all I could think of as gritty is undercooked rice.

Next time forget the water measurements and cover with about 1-2 inches water the rice, with the cinnamon stick, and use 2 strips of the lime or lemon peel (remove the white pith or it will be bitter) omit the salt because maybe the butter you use is salted enough, taste the rice before adding the milks (be sure you whisk them together and they are well incorporated as they are heating up) and taste the rice before adding the milk to insure it's tender. Don't add sugar until rice is thickening with milk for awhile. Adding sugar too early will seize the rice from softening in my opinion.

Regardless of the recipe you use, follow the above precautions, undercooked rice or grits is the worse thing you can have in a rice pudding, and saltiness too.

Anonymous said...

I love your recipe, but I like my arroz con leche a little soupy, what would I need to do to get that consistency ?

Nathan said...


If you want it more soupy, add more milk and don't allow to reduce as much. You can also make a more loose Mexican type of rice pudding (boil rice in water with cinnamon until cooked, add evaporated milk, condensed if desired if not sugar will do, and add cows milk allow to simmer and thin out with milk as you see needed)