creamy coconut rice pudding with date compote recipe {dairy-free}


As a mum, I feel like I spend all my life preparing food. As a food blogger, I feel like I spend all my time thinking about food. There's barely a second that goes by when I'm not doing one or the other, so much so that some would call me obsessed. I do. But believe it or not, it's not often I cook something that makes me jump of my seat, it's that good.

This people, is one of those dishes.

It was one of the first recipes I bookmarked in my new book. At the time I felt like soup, so made this first. But what I really should have made straight off, was pudding.

Creamy rice pudding with a touch of rose water, citrusy sweet date compote and crunchy green flecks sprinkled over top for a little added drama. What's not to like?!

Admittedly I have played around with the recipe somewhat, okay actually quite a lot. But someone needed to convert this to dairy-free eh? I also cut the sugar in half, completely omitting it from the date compote. I find dates are more than sweet enough for me, just as they are. And if I'd had more than a few tablespoons of brown rice syrup left in my jar I would have used that as the sweetener, making it cane sugar-free too. Maybe next time.

Now I've made many a rice pudding in my time, but adding cornflour was a first for me! It gives such a beautiful creaminess to the dish and body that can sometimes be lacking in rice pudding. The book suggests you serve it chilled but just between you and me, ahem, and speaking from personal experience, it's perfect straight from the pot, at room temperature and chilled. Just so you know...

A few last notes before I leave you today.
Have you had your say over here yet? Also, if you've been searching high and low for a gluten-free Anzac Biscuit recipe, look no further. Xx ~emm

Adapted from a recipe in Modern Flavours of Arabia by Suzanne Husseini. To read my full write-up on this book, click here.

creamy coconut rice pudding with date compote
As I've mentioned before most tinned coconut cream and milk contain some really nasty additives. Read the labels (even on 'organic' ones) and make sure the ingredients list reads only pure coconut kernel extract and water. I use Ayam brand premium coconut milk and cream, or TCC brand coconut milk (contains citric acid too, but I reckon that's okay) available at most supermarkets (I buy mine at Coles). I always avoid buying 'light' versions and if you read the label you'll see why.
serves 6

  • 3 tablespoon (gluten-free) cornflour (corn starch)
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • 2 x 400ml tins natural coconut milk
  • 400ml water, extra
  • 1 teaspoon natural vanilla paste (or 1 scraped vanilla pod)
  • 1 cup (200g) short-grain rice (I used arborio), soaked in cold water for at least 2-4 hours or overnight, drained
  • 1/2 cup (100g) natural raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rose water

date compote

  • 1 cup (160g) pitted dried dates, chopped roughly
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) water
  • zest of half a orange
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped, to garnish

Combine the cornflour and water in a small bowl  and stir to dissolve, then set aside.
In a large heavy-based saucepan combine the coconut milk, extra 400ml of water and vanilla paste. Bring to the boil, then add the drained rice. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring often until the rice is tender and the mixture has thickened. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour in the cornflour mixture and stir continuously for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the rosewater. 

To make the date compote put all the ingredients except for the pistachios into a small saucepan. Bring the the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook stirring often for 3-4 minutes, using the back of a spoon to gently press the dates against the side of the pan to help break them down until the dates for a paste. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

To serve, spoon rice pudding into glass cups or small bowls, cover and chill if you prefer or serve the pudding warm or room temperature, topped with a spoonful of date compote and a sprinkling of chopped pistachios. 

Linked to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-free

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  • Reply
    The Food Mentalist
    April 19, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Love your photos and the simplicity of this dish. The rosewater would impart a lovely flavour and I just love creamy rice!

  • Reply
    April 19, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks constantly of food, sometimes I think it am mono dimensional! Love the pudding, coconut and rosewater definitely a big hit.

    • Reply
      April 19, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      I swear it's all I think about. I try not to always talk about it when around other people though, so they don't think I'm completely mad! 😉

  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef
    April 19, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Such a lovely sounding recipe indeed, I love rose water and Ayam coconut cream is certainly the best out there.
    (I have one of those spoons- are they apostle spoons? Mine was from my great grandma)

    • Reply
      April 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      I have no idea? I found that spoon at an op-shop I think. I love it 🙂

  • Reply
    April 19, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    This looks amazing and vegan too

  • Reply
    April 19, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    I'm with you, I tend to zone out and think about food in some of my college lecture classes! Whoops!
    This rice pudding is now officially my new food to fantasize about… it looks divine!

  • Reply
    Sherilyn @ Wholepromise
    April 20, 2012 at 3:45 am

    Absolutely – what is there not to like about this. I am going to have to give this a try. The flavours sound divine. Hope you are well…..

  • Reply
    April 20, 2012 at 4:18 am

    i really love good rice pudding. Both versions – milk and coconut milk. The rose water is a great addition, too.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Coconut rice pudding is divine…and even better with Date Compote! Yummm!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Well this just sounds amazing. I don't have rose water but when I do…oh boy I'm making this. I think I'll follow your suggestion and try it with rice syrup. Love it.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Ooooooh, this is beautifully French… rice pudding, like riz au lait, but with the sugary awesomeness of dates!

  • Reply
    April 23, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I am not a fan of rice puddings (although I like rice cakes…) but this I would taste :-). And dairy free! Good one!


  • Reply
    EA-The Spicy RD
    April 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Gorgeous and delicious coconut pudding recipe! We have a store here in the States called Trader Joes, and they have coconut milk without any additives. Can't wait to try this out!

  • Reply
    erin @ yummy supper
    April 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    Emma, that coconut rice pudding looks heavenly! And I love dates. I need to make this one. Once again, I am so appreciative of what you have to share with the rest of us.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Making food, thinking about food, eating food…you've summed it up! Coconut rice pudding is one of my favorites, and the date compote sounds divine! As always, I love your photos.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Me and rice pudding have never been a thing – you know the whole rice as a main carb as oppose to something sweet. But might give this recipe a go – sounds delish and I love dates! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 26, 2012 at 12:41 am

    I have just nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award:

  • Reply
    Rachel Collins
    May 3, 2013 at 4:59 am

    Emm, made this last night. Have never been big on rice pudding but had promised Elisha some as she loves it. OH MY GOD so yummy, I've now had three bowls of it – warm, room temp and cold, each delicious. The date compote and pistachios just the perfect accompaniment. Just gorgeous!

    • Reply
      May 3, 2013 at 5:10 am

      Yay so glad you made this Rach, it's one of my favs too xx

  • Reply
    October 5, 2013 at 2:00 am

    Thank you, thank you so much for COCONUT RICE PUDDING recipe will try this on next Sunday, me and my hubby both are very happy to read this recipe..

  • Reply
    Chicago Bankruptcy Law Office of Lorraine Greenberg
    May 8, 2014 at 4:40 am

    I just made this with a large container of leftover takeout rice. Used a can of coconut milk mixed with enough regular milk to make 3 cups. My kids and husband loved it, warm from the stove. I considered leaving out the lemon zest, but I’m glad I put it in because it added a nice fresh flavor. I left out the toasted coconut since I didn’t have any. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    February 23, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Still my go-to for comfort food Em… 🙂

  • Reply
    February 23, 2015 at 10:00 am

    (that was me, Rachel) oops!

  • Reply
    June 29, 2015 at 8:40 am

    This was DELICIOUS Emma!! I did use brown rice syrup as the sweetener and the dates were super amazing on the top too. Also super quick and easy to make after soaking the rice earlier. Thanks again – your recipes are always perfect x

  • Reply
    June 29, 2015 at 8:42 am

    AND I'm really looking forward to eating the leftovers tomorrow at work – there will be a lot of food envy I know!!

  • Reply
    Shangri La
    May 10, 2016 at 10:49 am

    I finally found rose water at my IGA and made this tonight. Yummy!!! I toasted some flaked almonds instead of pistachios and halved the quantity in case the others didn't like it. Seems they did which is good as I made it for my son to try as he is vegan. I love rice pudding but this is out of this world. I really love your recipes and have just bought your first book online so can't wait to try more. I love the way you note which recipes are vegan, gf etc. thank you!

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