Plant-based sticky black rice pudding with vanilla cashew cream


  • 1 cup ​black glutinous rice*
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup panela sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/4 scant teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vanilla cashew cream (see below)
  • 2-4 tablespoons soy milk

Vanilla cashew cream

  • 1Β  cup cashews
  • Β½Β  cup soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

To serve

  • Extra cashew cream
  • Black sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Cook rice with 2 cups of water for 45 minutes.
  2. While rice is cooking, blend the cashews, soy milk, maple syrup and vanilla to make a thick cream.
  3. Once rice is cooked, mix in the panela sugar, salt, five spice powder and half cup of the cashew cream.
  4. Spoon the black riceΒ  mixture into individual glasses, ramekins or a large serving dish.
  5. When serving, add a dollop of the reserved cashew cream on top and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

The health benefits

Like all varieties of rice, black glutinous rice does not contain any gluten, so it’s safe for those eating a gluten-free diet. The rice has a β€˜glutinous’ texture which gives it a sticky texture when cooked. The black-purple color of the rice comes from a pigment called anthocyanin, which has potent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are compounds that are protective against oxidative stress caused by molecules known as free radicals. Oxidative stress has been associated with an increased risk of several chronic conditions, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and certain forms of cancer. It also contains more protein than white or even brown rice.

Cashews are rich in nutrients and beneficial plant compounds such as polyphenols and carotenoids which help to reduce inflammation and offer some protection against chronic illness. They are a high protein, dairy alternative and have a lower carbon footprint with only 0.3kg carbon dioxide emitted per kilogram of nut. Dairy on the other hand emits up to 21 kg CO2/kg. So not only are they a powerhouse of nutrients but they are kinder on the planet.

The ingredients

Black glutinous rice can be found in most Asian specialty stores or large supermarkets. Not to be confused with forbidden black rice, glutinous black rice is a longer grain with one end paler in colour than the other. Panela sugar – also known as rapadura sugar – is unrefined whole cane sugar where the juice of the sugar cane has been boiled and dehydrated. It retains many nutrients of sugar cane but it should be used sparingly as it is still a sugar. You can either buy panela as a solid block or in granules (which is used in this recipe). Chinese five spice powder can be found at most health food or online stores. If you can’t find it you can make your own by mixing cinnamon, fennel, cloves, star anise and pepper.

The method

This recipe is not only delicious but super easy to make! While the rice is cooking you can measure the other ingredients. It’s also a good time to blend the cashew cream. After the rice has cooked it’s as easy as mixing the other ingredients through and adding a dollop of cashew cream. The black sesame seeds are optional but give the dish that β€˜wow’ factor.

The verdict

A plant-based dessert rich in antioxidants, fibre and protein that is not only delicious but also health promoting. Enjoy hot as a dessert or cold for breakfast.

Nutritional values

Sticky black rice pudding (per serve/160ml)

Calories: 197 | Protein: 4.2 g | Carbohydrates: 37 g | Fat: 4 g | Saturated Fat: 0.5 g | Omega 3s: 0.1 gΒ  | Fibre: 1.65 g | Iron: 1.5 g | Calcium: 18.2 mg

Vanilla cashew cream (per serve/40ml)

Calories: 93 | Protein: 2.8 g | Carbohydrates: 8.1 g | Fat: 5.9 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Omega 3s: 0.1 gΒ  | Fibre: 0.6 g | Iron: 1.0 g | Calcium: 0.9 mg

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