I first posted this recipe in February of 2007. I've made it many times since then and still love it; I've adjusted the recipe ever-so-slightly in the interim. I usually use sweet brown rice (of the Japanese variety), but the white version is also great. it uses very little added sugar; the rice is truly what makes it sweet (not TOO sweet) and also thickens the milk nicely.
I use a neuro-fuzzy-logic rice cooker to make rice and rice pudding, so I’m afraid that my instructions are specific to this piece of kitchen equipment. you could probably cook the rice in water on top of the stove, then bake it in a covered casserole in the oven for about an hour to approximate the same thing, but I wouldn’t know for sure.
1 cup (8 ounces, not a smaller rice-cooker cup) uncooked Japanese sweet rice, either brown or white (sometimes called mochigome or sho-chiku-bai)
dash of salt
water to cook
combine the rice and salt in the rice cooker bowl, and add the amount of water called for by your rice cooker. cook on the appropriate cycle (brown or white, depending on what kind of rice you used), and when finished, take the cooking bowl out of the cooker and let it cool a bit.
2-1/2 cups whole milk (set 1/2 cup aside)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons brown sugar or maple syrup
1/2 cup currants
to serve: a bit of butter and extra brown sugar or maple syrup to taste
stir the milk, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar (or maple syrup) and currants in to the rice in the bowl. taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. pop the bowl back into the rice cooker and set it for the porridge cycle. mine’s done when the little song plays! add the reserved 1/2 cup of milk after the cooking's done and adjust for salt. serve with butter and brown sugar &/or maple syrup as desired.
note: any other dried fruit can substitute for the currants -- cherries are nice, and would make the pudding especially delicious if topped with toasted, slivered almonds at the end. if I wanted rice pudding with fresh fruit (like berries, bananas, etc.), I'd make a different version with vanilla, a bit of nutmeg and maybe an egg, minus cinnamon and currants, and serve the fruit over the pudding when it's done (rather than cooking it). I'll work on that recipe soon. ha! "work."