I never much liked rice pudding until I went to the Middle East where I discovered a new world of rice pudding and ways to make it. Koshari and rice pudding were my favorite lunch in Cairo and we sometimes had rice pudding in people's homes. When I got back to the US, I found a decent recipe in a Jewish cookbook that called for Cream of Rice that I could usually make without burning.
But then I started trying more authentic recipes (sorry, but Cream of Rice isn't quite authentic, although it's easier) and also discovered that I couldn't make rice pudding without burning it. I burned through lots of recipes (and I don't burn food). I tried some several times and always had to throw the whole mess out.
I knew my problem was cooking rice in milk, so I looked through my cookbooks for a few recipes that add the milk after the rice was cooked and tried those in the last week or two. And finally, I've made rice pudding successfully. For now, one uses broken rice and the other uses black sticky rice, both of which are available at Asian stores.
Tibetan Rice Pudding (from Beyond the Great Wall)
3 c water
1 c broken rice
pinch of salt
3 c milk (or a combination of milk and coconut milk)
1/2 c dried apples, chopped (I didn't have any on hand when I made it the first time, so I left out the apples, but they are good)
3 T honey (or more, to taste, especially if you don't have apples)
2 T butter (optional, I didn't add it)
Boil the water, rinse the rice, and add the rice to the water. Lower the heat and cook, covered for about 15 minutes till most of the water is absorbed and the rice is soft. Add the salt, milk, and apples, then bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, covered, for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring every so often (or rather more, if you're nervous like me). After 30 minutes, add the honey. The pudding will be very thick. It's really good with salted pistachios.
Black Sticky Rice Pudding (from Hot Sour Salty Sweet)
Bring 3 cups of water and 2 cups of black sticky rice to a boil, let it boil for a couple minutes (make sure to stir!), then cover and reduce the heat to medium or medium-low and cook for 10 minutes, then turn the heat to the lowest setting and cook, still covered, for another 30 minutes till the rice is done. Just before it's finished combine 2 cups of coconut milk (one can, usually) with 1/2 tsp salt and 3/4 c brown sugar in a pot. Stir to help the sugar dissolve, then bring just to a boil. Pour the sweetened milk into the rice when the rice is cooked. It's lovely served with mango.
I'd never used black rice before last night, so when it looked and smelled like black beans while it was cooking, I wasn't too excited, but the pudding was delicious. Simply amazing.