Thrifty Dishes

Easy Atole De Arroz (Mexican Rice Pudding)

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I am a first generation Mexican American– my parents emigrated from Mexico several decades ago, and my siblings and I were born here in Houston, Texas.  My mom embraced the American culture passionately– we only spoke English in the household, celebrated American holidays, and grew up on traditional American cuisine.  My mom rarely made Mexican dishes, but the ones she did make were family favorites.  One of those dishes was Atole de Arroz.

My first trip to Mexico to visit my grandmother (I’m the one in the pink, yellow, and black dress.  My grandmother, mom, and little brother are also pictured.)Screenshot_20171130-103739.jpg

My mom is the kind of cook that doesn’t need measuring cups– she’s very intuitive in the kitchen like that…she is also far more patient than I in the kitchen.  🙂  That said, I’ve not been able to replicate the flavors and texture of her Atole; however, through experimentation, I’ve managed to come up with a recipe that comes pretty close.

This is an easy recipe that takes me about half the time to make relative to my mom’s more traditional recipe.  That said, I like to prepare the rice and liquid ingredients separately but simultaneously, and mix together only after both are done.  The recipe below yields about 4-6 servings which is perfect for my bug and I and will last us a couple of days; however, since I plan to make this dish for my family’s Christmas dinner this year, I am going to quadruple the recipe.

What you’ll need

  • A medium-sized saucepan (for rice)
  • A small saucepan (for liquid ingredients)
  • Measuring Cups
  • Small whisk

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (cooked) white rice
  • 1 – 2 sticks of cinnamon (1 tsp of ground cinnamon will substitute just fine)
  • 1 tbs of vanilla (or vanilla substitute) (this ingredient is optional)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 – 1 cup of regular milk (depending on your desired consistency)

Instructions:

  1. In the medium saucepan, prepare the white rice according to packaging instructions and set aside.  (When I’m running low on time, I just begin Step 2 on a different burner while I’m waiting for my rice to reach a boil). 
  2. In the small saucepan, add water and cinnamon (sticks or ground cinnamon) and set to medium/medium-high heat until the water begins to boil.
  3. When the water/cinnamon reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low/low-medium, and add condensed milk, evaporated milk, and vanilla.  Whisk well, cover, and simmer for at least 10 minutes, continuing to whisk every few minutes to ensure consistency of the mixture.  The mixture will thicken slightly and will turn a light caramel color ready for the next step.
  4. Pour the water/cinnamon/milk mixture into the medium saucepan with the cooked rice and stir well.  Place on low heat for another 10 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  5. Add 1/2 – 1 cup of regular milk to mixture to reach desired consistency.  (I like a thicker Atole, so I usually add about 1/2 cup.)
  6. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve warm.  Alternatively, place the Atole into the fridge and serve chilled.  Enjoy!

The total cost for the ingredients is about $7; this is assuming that you have none of the ingredients on hand, and that you would purchase the smallest standard-sized packages typically sold in stores.  This is pretty good considering that you would still have enough ingredients left over for at least another batch– after that you would likely have to purchase another can of condensed milk to make additional batches with the remaining ingredients.

Atole de Arroz was one of my favorite treats as a child; I love that it is now one of my bug’s favorites.  I’d love to hear from you– let me know if you liked it as much as we do!

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