Pulut hitam is easily one of the most popular desserts in the Southeast Asian region. Having so many names in local languages such as bubur ketan (Indonesian) or bee koh moy (Hokkien), this black glutinous rice dessert is a big favourite among many.
Using unpolished black glutinous rice instead of whole grain white glutinous rice makes this dessert more interesting due to its colour. Once cooked, it is rather purplish black, thus adding a mysterious feel to it.
What is black glutinous rice?
Black glutinous rice is naturally coloured dark purple that is almost black. It is said that it is rich in antioxidants and higher in fiber compared to white rice. This ingredient is usually used in desserts in the Southeast Asian region.
Black glutinous rice is not black rice, also known as forbidden rice.
Sugar used in pulut hitam
In this recipe, I combined the usage of both the palm sugar and rock sugar. Both types of sugar are milder in sweetness compared to caster sugar. Nevertheless, it may also be used in this recipe.
The combination of the palm and rock sugar makes this dessert less sweet. It has a very light undertone of sweetness due to the rock sugar whereas the light nutty sweetness is contributed by the palm sugar.
While we are on the topic of palm sugar, try to get your hands on the Malaysian palm sugar which is much darker. Thai palm sugar which is lighter in colour is less intense in flavour.
Must black glutinous rice be soaked?
It would be ideal to soak the black glutinous rice for 4 hours or overnight as they take a long time to cook. You can still make the pulut hitam dessert without soaking the rice beforehand. The cooking time would take longer, though. Besides, more water will be needed to cook the black glutinous rice until soft.
Cooking pulut hitam in rice cooker or pressure cooker
Pulut hitam dessert can be cooked in a rice cooker using the ‘porridge’ function. Do stir the dessert every now and then to stop it from sticking to the pot.
If using a pressure cooker, cook it over high heat for 10 minutes.
Thick pulut hitam
Pulut hitam can be cooked until liquid is reduced to a thicker consistency. Leaving it aside for 4-5 hours will also allow the starch to be released from the glutinous rice and thicken the dessert. You may also thicken the dessert with corn starch slurry which is made by mixing corn starch with water and added into the dessert towards the end of the cooking process.
How to serve pulut hitam?
Pulut hitam can be served either warm or chilled. Coconut milk is served on the side allowing guests to add it into the dessert as desired. I would normally serve pulut hitam chilled.
My guests were definitely intrigued especially when it was served together with Vanilla ice-cream with coconut milk drizzled over it.