I decided to honor Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated September 15 to October 15, by cooking the recipes I learned from my mother and grandmothers while growing up in Tepic, Nayarit. It is a city located in west-central Mexico by the Pacific Ocean.
My mother and grandmothers each had their own way of cooking, but what they all had in common was that they didn't use measurements. They calculated everything by trial and error — and I learned to do it the same way.
Many of the most pleasant memories of my childhood are related to food. Not only the way our special recipes were prepared, but also enjoying our meals together as a family.
One of the common foods in my home was Arroz con Leche, which translates to Rice with Milk. It is also known as Mexican Rice Pudding. In my home, Arroz con Leche was sometimes served as part of breakfast, or as a dessert after dinner.
This special recipe remains a favorite amongst my own children, and I wanted to share it with you! While this recipe is simple, I found it relatively challenging to make because I had to actually MEASURE the ingredients!
I hope your family enjoys this sweet treat as much as mine does!
Arroz con Leche
Makes six servings.
- 1 cup basmati rice or long-grain white rice
- 4 cups whole milk (you can substitute with non-dairy milk if desired)
- 1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
- 2 cups of water
- 1 brown sugar cone (This is commonly known as piloncillo and can often be found in Hispanic sections of supermarkets. It can be substituted with 1 cup of brown sugar and two teaspoons of molasses.)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup raisins
- In a small bowl soak the rice in one cup of water. Set aside.
- In a medium-size saucepan, stir in the whole milk, evaporated milk, one cup of water, brown sugar cone, and the cinnamon stick. Continue cooking over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Add the rice and the water in which it was soaking to the saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and cook uncovered, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick, about 25 minutes. Add the raisins, and stir well.
- Serve warm or cold.
Betty Sánchez is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Yuba-Sutter, Calif.