Vegan Black-Eyed Pea Coconut Rice Pudding

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Does the idea of black-eyed peas in a dessert kind of weird you out?   There were no moon cakes or daifuku mochi (or any other Asian bean desserts) in my youth, so I’ll totally understand if it does.  I was finally turned by some Hawaiian shave ice with ice cream and azuki beans.  So so good.  I always think the tourists who skip the beans at Matsumoto’s or Aoki’s are totally missing out.

This rice pudding gets an Asian makeover with the addition of coconut milk and black-eyed peas.  It also uses palm sugar, although you can certainly substitute white or brown sugar.  But if you have access to a well-stocked Asian grocery, I’d urge you to seek it out.  It has a much richer complexity than your standard table sugar, with notes of butterscotch and caramel.

Vegan Black-Eyed Pea Coconut Rice Pudding

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

* 8 cups of water, divided
* 1/2 cup black-eyed peas, rinsed
* 1/2 cup glutinous/sticky rice, rinsed
* 2 cans (15 ounces) coconut milk
* 2/3 cup palm sugar (can substitute white sugar or mix white and brown sugar)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup toasted unsweetened coconut (optional)

Directions:

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan and add the black-eyed peas. Return to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer until the black-eyes peas have softened. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring the remaining 3 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan and add the rice. Return to a boil, stirring frequently, and then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed by the rice or evaporated. Add the coconut milk, sugar, and salt and stir to dissolve. Let simmer away until the mixture begins to thicken.

Stir in the black-eyed peas and stir gently. Continue cooking until the black-eyed peas are heated through and the pudding is at your desired thickness. Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with toasted coconut, if desired.

Note: Want even more coconut flavor? I bet this vegan coconut whipped cream would be great on top.

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