No Bake Dessert | Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding … with dragon fruit & rambutans

“I like rice. Rice is great if you’re hungry and want 2000 of something. ”
Mich Ehrenborg

Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding … with dragon fruit & rambutans, a welcome and wonderful change from the rice pudding I usually serve. As much as we love the Indian version, with saffron and pistachios, this version topped with Thai fruit was a riot of colours. Pretty … and pretty yummy too! The idea of serving it came from a Phirni Custard I had done while reviewing Everyone Can Cook by Vikas Khanna, the inspiration for the skewered fruit from a BBC recipe I had seen somwehere.

Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding Mr PAB was on an official trip to Bangkok and enjoyed a whole slew of Thai fruit at the hotel there. I love Thai fruit, so bright and colourful, and full of flavour. It costs an arm and a leg to buy them here, so I was pleasantly surprised when he arrived laden with bags of fruit.

RambutansEnjoy them as is was pretty much how the plan was going. Some shots later, the daughter looked aghast that I ‘wasn’t doing anything’ with them! “Aren’t you going to make ‘something’ with them? How can we just eat them all?” I had no plans at the time, but soon after the head was buzzing!Strawberry Vanilla Macaron TrifleBaking wasn’t in my line of thought but something more fun certainly was. One of my most pinned images from the Vanilla & Strawberry Macaron Trifle was a contender. Yet we needed dessert the same night! The jelly would have to wait since it needed an overnight set. Rice pudding seemed plenty more tangible.

Rambutans SUCH FUN! In line with Thai fruit, I added some coconut milk to the rice pudding, and lemongrass and ginger juice for flavours. Beautiful undertones of a tropical rice pudding teased the palette in every spoonful … mild, gentle, addictive!

Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding 4If you love the gentle flavours of coconut milk, this creamy make ahead rice pudding is for you. If you have time, then maybe infuse the milk with lemon grass and ginger the night before. Strain and use. Or if you haven’t had time to think and plan like me, make a tight little bundle of lemon grass, grate and squeeze out the ginger juice…Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding 5The Indian rice pudding is traditionally a vegetarian, eggless dessert option. It’s creamy with beautiful texture. Gluten free too. This version, the Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding is a wonderful make ahead dessert option. Can be set in pudding bowls or serving glasses a day or two in advanceTop it with fruit the same day else the fruit tends to lose its shine and appeal!

Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding 7The basic recipe is pretty generic. For Indian flavours, you could skip the lemongrass and ginger. Use cardamom powder and saffron instead. The latter reminds me of a stunning Saffron Caramel Panna Cotta I made a while ago. That’s another great make ahead dessert option.

Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding Rambutans are similar to the Indian litchi, just a little firmer. The outer covering of course grabs your eyeballs. Amazing colours! The dragon fruit is another story altogether. I could stare at it all day long. The fruit of a cactus plant, in many ways it seems unreal!

Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding If the outer appearance is mesmerising, just cut through the fruit and be ready for magic! For me, it was a trip back to 101 Dalmatians! I fell in love with the black and white interiors, and the pretty pink contrasting inner membrane. An explosion of colours, nature that mesmerises, black and white that pleases! Wow!!

[print_this]Recipe: Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding your picture

Summary: The Indian rice pudding is traditionally a vegetarian, eggless dessert option. It’s creamy with beautiful texture. Gluten free too. This version, the Tropical Coconut Milk Rice Pudding is a wonderful make ahead dessert option. Can be set in pudding bowls or serving glasses a day or two in advance. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

  • Rice pudding
  • 1 bunch lemongrass, bruised
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves
  • 200ml low fat cream
  • 100g basmati rice, washed, drained
  • 150ml 2% milk
  • 1tin sweetened condensed milk {approx 400g}
  • 1 tin coconut milk {400g}
  • Fruit topping
  • 1 dragon fruit, diced with pink membrane
  • 200g rambutans
  • Simple sugar & lime syrup


  1. Gently heat the low fat cream, add the lemongrass and lime leaves and leave to infuse covered in the fridge overnight.
  2. Place the rice on a microwave safe platter, and microwave for a minute, stir, and repeat. The rice should be dry by now. Grind , stir into 150ml cold milk and reserve.
  3. Bring the coconut milk to a simmering boil & add the condensed milk, stirring constantly while adding it.

  4. Add the cream & mix in well.

  5. Now mix the ground rice with the reserved cold milk. Take the pan off the heat source, mix in the rice mixture thoroughly, & put back on simmer.
  6. Cook uncovered, on low heat, for 30-45 minutes until it becomes thick the rice grains are cooked. Stir often to avoid getting the rice into lumps.
  7. Cool to room temperature, then ladle into serving dishes to set. It will become thicker as it sets. Chill covered for up to 3 days in the fridge.
  8. Toss the fruit in a simple sugar and lime syrup {1/8 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar simmered until the sugar is dissolved}. Serve over the pudding if desired.


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  • 3 years ago

    Oh, I can’t express how much I love the flavors of this trendy, fusion phirni. Lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and dragon fruit makes this rice pudding irresistible. Gorgeous photo.

    I am wondering though how your husband was able to bring the fruits through customs. We forgot an orange in our backpack once(it was snack for our toddler from the previous day’s sightseeing), and customs almost fined us.

  • Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas! My father grows dragon fruit over at his house, and we’re always looking for recipes in which to use them, so thank you for this wonderful post!

  • 3 years ago

    ah dear what lovely andf beautiful dessert (like aways)
    I whish you a happy and lovely Christmas and a happy New Year:)

  • Exquisite! Wishing you all the best for the festive season.

  • 3 years ago

    I wishhhhhhhh you a very happy Christmas and a happy New Year 2014

    what lovely pictures and beautiful dessert 🙂

  • 3 years ago

    So pretty! A refined looking and tasting dessert.

    Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2014!



  • 3 years ago

    I just had to with you and your family a Merry Christmas Deeba. I know it wi bell be filled with delicious dishes like this one. Eat well and smile often.

    • 3 years ago

      You are far too sweet Val. Merry Christmas to you and all your dear ones too, especially Lil Burnt Toast! Much love! Cheers to all the good times we spent together, and with the Blogger Aid cookbook!

  • 3 years ago

    Bookmarking your site.. Wonderful recipes !! Today is the first time I am visiting your site and it is awesome!!

    • 3 years ago

      Thank you for stopping by Sundari…. and for your sweet words!

  • 3 years ago

    What the hell? Was I in a coma? How the hell did I miss this post?!
    It’s gorgeous. I MUSt get my hands on some dragonfruit.

  • 2 years ago

    Good heavens, thanks very much for posting this! It is going to be so helpful when I order Coconut Milk at the market! So Astonishing!

  • Susannah
    2 years ago

    I’d like to follow this recipe, but you don’t say when to include the coconut milk?

  • Neha
    2 years ago

    LOve your recipes. This recipe serves how many individuals?

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