Bubur ketan hitam, literally “black glutinous rice porridge”, is a sweet dessert porridge that’s common to Indonesia and the rest of the Malay Archipelago. In Singapore and Malaysia, it’s known as bubur pulut hitam, and is often served in Malay and Peranakan (Straits Chinese) homes and restaurants.
The concept of bubur ketan hitam is the same as bubur kacang hijau (mung bean dessert porridge), in that a main ingredient (usually glutinous rice or beans) is boiled until its consistency is almost that of congee. Pandan leaves are added for that characteristic fresh, grassy aroma, along with sugar and a pinch of salt. The dessert is then served with coconut cream or coconut milk for extra richness and creaminess. But although the cooking method is the same for many of these dessert porridges, bubur ketan hitam is by far my favourite, because of the unique texture and taste of black rice.
This dish is really very simple and satisfying, even if the thought of using black glutinous rice might seem intimidating. After all, it’s black and scary-looking, making one instinctively feel like it should be handled differently from normal, non-black ingredients. But don’t worry, it’s quite straightforward – the only thing to note is that it should be soaked for at least three hours, preferably overnight, to soften the grains, because black glutinous rice generally takes longer to cook.
To make good bubur ketan hitam, you’re looking for a thick, slightly pasty consistency. There are some ways to test this. First, the colour of the grains and the water should be almost the same, so that it’s hard to pick out the rice from the soup just by looking. Second, it should be easy to squish the grains with the back of a ladle or spoon. Third, when you scoop it, it shouldn’t be too runny and should show some inertia when falling off your spoon.
Black glutinous rice is commonly used in Chinese desserts, so it can be found in practically any supermarket in Singapore, and, I imagine, most Chinese grocery stores elsewhere. It comes in small packs and looks just like white rice, except, black.
This dish takes about 2 hours to cook, but it’s a very easy two hours. There’s practically no prep involved. Put the rice and water in a pot, go watch an episode or two of your favourite drama, and go back to the kitchen to stir it from time to time. You might even be able to squeeze in a meal, and have it fully cooked just in time for dessert!Print
Bubur ketan or pulut hitam, literally “black glutinous rice porridge”, is a sweet dessert porridge that’s common to the Malay Archipelago.
- 150g dried glutinous black rice rice (soak overnight beforehand)
- 2 litres water
- 2 pandan leaves, knotted.
- 3 tbsp raw sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- A drizzle of coconut cream (garnish)
- Wash the black rice thoroughly and drain.
- Put the black rice and the water in a large pot. Bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat, and leave to simmer.
- After an hour, add the sugar, salt, and pandan leaves.
- Simmer for another hour, until the rice is so soft it’s barely distinguishable from the water. Adjust sugar. Turn off the stove.
- Dish out to a serving bowl, drizzle with coconut cream, and serve.
- For this recipe, I’ve used raw sugar, but you can use any type of sugar you like.
- I haven’t used much sugar because I can’t handle anything too sweet. Do taste before serving, and adjust to your liking.
Keywords: Healthy, Coconut, Pandan, sugar