Portuguese Sweet Rice Recipe

Mondego River Rice Fields

Cross pattern made with cinnamon

Sweet Rice is a typical Portuguese dessert. It's popular in Brazil too. In some regions when people were about to get married, it was traditional to give a Sweet Rice dish to friends or just people they knew. In return, they would receive money! My mother still did that in the fifties. I do not know if it’s just a tradition of rural areas surrounding rice fields. I live near River Mondego rice fields. It’s a beautiful landscape that changes constantly throughout the year. At first, fields are the earth's color, then they become big lakes and reflect the color of the skies, then they turn green when the rice starts to grow, and finally the end golden. I remember eating this dessert since my very early years. Then I learned how to do it from my mother of course. There are several recipes. Some have egg yolks and butter. This one has not but it’s still delicious and less fatty. Here’s the recipe for you.

Ingredients you need

1,5 Kg White Rice ( The grain should be round not long. Long grains are thinner and the final result will not be as good.) = 3.3 lbs
1, 5 Kg Sugar = 3.3 lbs
2 L Milk = 3.51 pt
1 mug Water
1 Lemon rind
Toppings: Cinnamon

How to prepare the Sweet Rice

Wash and drain white rice.

Bring milk and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt and taste to your liking. Keep stirring the milk or it will glue to the bottom! I use a wooden spoon.

Add rice and let it boil for 5 minutes.

Add the lemon rind. Remember, keep stirring constantly!

Remove the lemon rind after 10 minutes or it might get into small pieces or dissolve.

Low the temperature but let it boil slowly for 25-30 minutes. The rice must be cooked. You can try it to see if the grains are still hard.

Add the sugar and keep stirring for more 10 minutes. The liquid is still evaporating. How do you know it’s ready? When the spoon can stand up alone in the middle of the rice. It will also thicken some while cooling.

You can then remove it from the heat and pour it into a large serving bowl. Spread the rice flat. You can also pour it into small individual dishes.

To decorate sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Or you can use cinnamon to create traditional cross patterns by pinching a bit between your fingers and place over the rice continuously. Most people serve Sweet Rice cold. I like it hot! If you live in a very hot region you should refrigerate the rice. In my house, we never put Sweet Rice in the fridge also because it doesn’t last very long!

Bom apetite!