The use of rice as food has more than 5000 years of tradition. There are an infinite number of dishes that can be made with this cereal, from sweet to savoury meals.

It is said that rice began to be cultivated in Southeast Asia 7000 years ago, and its consumption became famous in imperial China, a little over 3000 years ago. Just as rice reached China, it also reached India, on the other side of the Himalayas. Then, as a result of the commercial and cultural exchanges between Asia and Europe, dominated by the Arabs, this cereal was introduced in the old continent around the 9th century.

From there, the custom of eating it in Europe remained, and around the 15th century, during the Renaissance period, it developed local dishes such as Paella or Risotto, but there is one dish that have stolen the heart of many in both hemispheres: Arroz con Leche, a creamy dessert made with rice and milk, all cooked in a pan over low heat.

A traditional recipe in every country

This food has many variations around the world, such as Phirni in India. While it’s most often enjoyed as a sweet treat, in some European and American countries this sweet rice-based meal is eaten as breakfast.

For this post, we bring you an overview of what an Arroz con Leche is, you will know about its variants in each country and you will learn how to make a delicious Arroz con Leche with Meringue.

Now, if you’re looking an alternative recipe to make this amazing meal, visit MahatmaRice® website and check its Arroz con Leche recipe version to rise up your culinary knowledge by clicking the next link:

Arroz con Leche: one of the sweetest rice-based desserts

Arroz con Leche or Rice pudding is a dessert made with rice cooked in cow’s milk, which can be substituted with coconut milk, almond milk, or even goat or sheep milk, depending on taste, nutritional requirements, or the customs of the diner.

This is a very common meal in Latin America, where each country has its version. But also, in Europe and Asia, there are a lot of different versions of this dessert.

England: where it all began

It has been said that Arroz con Leche has its origins in England during the 14th century. At that time, rice was considered a priceless food and it was exclusive for the elites and rich people because of its difficulty to import from Asia to Europe.

As time went by, consumption of this meal changed: it became a more affordable food and sweet-tasting dessert.

A dessert with many versions worldwide

Although rice pudding is rice cooked in milk, each country gives its national touch to this delicious dessert. Here are some of them:

In Spain, prunes or sultanas are often added, as well as Oporto wine. A variant of rice pudding called “Arroz Emperatriz“, which includes egg yolks, is widely eaten there.

In Peru, there’s a variety called “Arroz Zambito”, which is prepared with chancaca, a preparation made from the syrup or undistilled juice of sugar cane that has been soaked, boiled, moulded, and dried. Sultanas, grated coconut, and nuts are also added.

In addition, in Italy, it is usually flavoured with orange peel. In Iceland, butter is added; in Germany, they add apples, and the French’s favourite extra is caramel.

Also, Caribbean and islanders prefer it with coconut or condensed milk; in Iran, saffron is the preferred additive; and in Turkey, it is called sütlaç, which is served in earthenware vessels, as the dessert is baked after the classic or traditional preparation.

A delicious Arroz con Leche with Meringue recipe

Now, we will show you how to make a classic rice pudding, where you should have the following ingredients at hand and follow the steps for its preparation.

  • 140 g of long grain white rice.
  • 250 ml of whole milk.
  • 1 cinnamon stick.
  • 3 egg whites.
  • 3 tbsp of granulated sugar.
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice.
  • 1/4 tsp of salt.
  • 2 tbsp of icing sugar.
  1. Put a pan on the heat with the whole milk, 3 tablespoons of sugar, the long-grain white rice, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the cinnamon stick. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.
  2. Remove from the heat.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick. Place in a baking dish with an approximate surface area of 20×20 cm.
  4. Place the three egg whites in a bowl and beat them with a whisk, adding 2 tablespoons of icing sugar little by little and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice while continuing to beat until you obtain a firm meringue.
  5. Spread the meringue in the bowl over the rice surface.
  6. Turn on the oven broiler and place the dish in the oven. Leave to gratin until the meringue begins to brown; leave to cool.
  7. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve

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