Friday, December 19, 2008

Visions of Coco Danced in My Head

I admit it. I've stolen. I've stolen food off my mom's chopping board and taken spoonfuls of whatever was cooking in her caldero. But, there was no food that I enjoyed stealing more than her Arroz con Dulce. Arroz con Dulce is a Puerto Rican coconut rice pudding that involves several steps, my favorite being the part when the rice is cooking in the sweet coconut liquid, soaking up all of its savory flavors. Seeing that my mother only makes this dish during Christmas, tuve que aprovechar.

I can recall those days when I carefully watched from a distance her motions. I eagerly waited with the biggest spoon I could find in my hand, imagining how it would taste to drink up some of the treasured mixture of milk, coconut and sugar. When she turned her back I snuck up behind and scooped up some liquid, but oh! The wretched metal spoon gave me away as it banged loudly against the aluminum pot. After a quick scolding I'd scurry off, spoon in hand. After years of this game, my mother decided to add extra liquid to the mix, so that I could finally enjoy more than a stolen spoonful of the liquid the rice greedily soaked up. Now as an adult I feel lucky, not only do I not have to sneak a taste, but I could drink a whole cup of it if I wanted to!

This past weekend my mother and I cooked up a batch of Arroz con Dulce, and guess what? We both got our own cup of the mixture to drink for ourselves. I knew it, I knew I wasn't the only one who snuck some out of the caldero!

Below are some pictures of the process, and of the finish product. I've included our family recipe for Arroz con Dulce, which of course, includes two extra cups of the liquid mixture for you to enjoy!

Arroz con Dulce

1 1/2 cups medium grain white rice (Soak overnight but not less than 1 hour in water before cooking, then drain)
1 - 14 oz. can of coconut milk
1 - 14 oz. can of cream of coconut
1 - 14 oz. cans of evaporated milk
(For dairy free, use 14 oz of almond milk)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
6 whole cloves
8 oz of water
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
Add some coconut flakes if desired

1.  Let rice soak overnight, but not less than one hour.

2.  In a saucepan over medium heat, boil the coconut milk, evaporated milk, (almond milk), water, cloves, cinnamon and salt.  Lower heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

3.  Stir in cream of coconut and bring to a boil.

4.  Add the rice and raisins.  At low heat, simmer and cover until the rice is soft and liquids is almost about 15-20 minutes. 

5.  Once the rice is done, scoop it out and flatten onto a dish (you might need more than one dish), spreading the rice out to the shape of the plate. May be eaten warm or chilled.  If chilled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.


  1. I remember my abuelita making this all the time. Personally, I'm not fond of it but the aromas wafting from the kitchen were always fantastic. I don't know if it's Puertorican or not but, I LOVE bizcocho tres leches. I've tried some recipes but they always seem to run short on the creamy liquid that makes the cake so moist. It tastes best when the cake is really moist, practically soaked. In that sense, I totally understand the adding more liquid to the arroz con dulce's the BEST part!

  2. I LOVE it!!! me encanta!! write more! what did you cook for christmas? hmmm...i'll see if i have any puerto rico pictures to help! ahh! if you see one, let me know okay!