Indonesian black rice pudding

A luscious black rice pudding made with coconut milk and palm sugar. Vegan and gluten free, this is a traditional Indonesian breakfast.

Indonesian black rice pudding - vegan, gluten free, and delicious for a nourishing breafkast or afternoon snack //

We spent a few days in Ubud, Bali, in December. It wasn’t our favourite part of the trip – I blame Elizabeth Gilbert for ruining Ubud – but it’s definitely where we ate the best.

We stayed in a gorgeous hotel while we were there, guesthouses arranged around a courtyard garden. Our room was huge, with marble everywhere, and elaborate woodcarvings, and a great big canopy bed. On the first night I was lying in it reading by the light of my e-reader, with Paul, who was a little under the weather, snoozing beside me. I could hear insects buzzing around the room (those woodcarvings had a lot of openings to the outside) and I figured I’d finish my chapter, find my earplugs, and then just ignore them and go to sleep in the safety of our mosquito net.

No sooner had I finished my chapter when I sensed a thwack, as if something rather large had flown up against the net, so reached over and turned on the light only to discover that something large had flown up against the net. A bat. A freaking bat was clinging to the outside of our mosquito net.

Indonesian black rice pudding - vegan, gluten free, and delicious for a nourishing breafkast or afternoon snack //

Cue about 10 hysterical minutes with me tiptoeing around the room trying to catch the bloody thing with a sarong, with Paul was directing the operation from within the safety of the mosquito net. In the end we got it out of the room (I made Paul get out of bed and do the deed after I had finally trapped it) and then spent a very sleepless night listening to every chirp or scratch around us.

Anyways, that hotel had amazing breakfasts, and this was one of them. They only made black rice pudding once a week, and it had to be ordered a day in advance, but thankfully our days were aligned and I got to enjoy it. The pudding I had there was far too sweet for my tastes, but I knew as soon as I tried it that I wanted to recreate it here.

The good news is you don’t need to travel to Indonesia or fend off bats in your room to try this luscious pudding. So long as you can find some black rice, also known as forbidden rice, it’s incredibly easy to make.

Indonesian black rice pudding - vegan, gluten free, and delicious for a nourishing breafkast or afternoon snack //

The pudding I had in Indonesia was scented with coconut, and sweetened with palm sugar. I bought some natural palm sugar while I was there, and really enjoy the subtle sweetness and smoky flavour it provides, but I suspect that a good number of you won’t be able to get your hands on the stuff – and nor should you make a big effort for just a couple of tablespoons. I think that coconut sugar would work like a charm here, as would any other sweetener you like to use in moderation. Maple syrup, honey, sucanat, or muscovado sugar would all work nicely.

You need a bit of time to make this, so it’s not ideal for a weekday morning breakfast. My preference, however, is to eat it cold, or with the chill just taken off, and in that case it works well for a make-ahead meal.

I like my black rice pudding topped with some chopped fruit, and a sprinkle of seeds or nuts to add a touch of protein. An extra drizzle of coconut milk isn’t mandatory, but you definitely won’t regret it.

MM_Know_Icon_FINALBlack rice, also known as forbidden rice, is a type of sticky rice produced by heirloom plants in Indonesia, Thailand, and China. Legend has it that during the Ming Dynasty in China only the emperors were allowed to eat black rice, hence the name forbidden rice. The black colour (actually a deep dark purple) belies a powerful punch of antioxidants from anthocyanins, the same antioxidants as are found in blueberries and other purple foods. These fight inflammation, free radicals, and are thought to improve cardiovascular and brain function. Black rice is a rich source of zinc, copper, and iron, and is a significant source of dietary fiber.

Indonesian black rice pudding - vegan, gluten free, and delicious for a nourishing breafkast or afternoon snack //

One year ago: Coconutty Banana Walnut Granola
Three years ago: Egg Quesadilla (one of my fave quick and easy meals!)

Indonesian black rice pudding - vegan, gluten free, and delicious for a nourishing breafkast or afternoon snack //
4.75 from 8 votes

Indonesian black rice pudding

A luscious black rice pudding made with coconut milk and palm sugar. Vegan and gluten free, this is a special Indonesian breakfast.
Course Breakfast, vegan
Prep Time 6 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 6 minutes
Servings 4
Author The Muffin Myth


  • 1 cup / 200g black rice
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 -2 Tbsp natural palm sugar coconut sugar, or other sweetener of your choice
  • diced banana and hemp hearts for garnish


  1. In a medium-sized pot, combine the black rice, coconut milk (reserve a couple of Tbsp for drizzling if you like) salt, and water.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce the temperature to low and simmer covered until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (you still want a little liquid as the pudding will continue to thicken as it cools). This will take about an hour, so be sure to give it a good stir every once in a while and check on the cooking progress.
  3. Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat, then stir in one Tbsp of your chosen sweetener, and taste. You may or may not want to add another.
  4. Serve hot, warm, or cold (my favourite) drizzled with a bit of extra coconut milk, and garnished with diced banana and a sprinkle of hemp hearts.

 Adapted from My New Roots

Indonesian black rice pudding - vegan, gluten free, and delicious for a nourishing breafkast or afternoon snack //



  1. I spent about a half of a day chasing a bat out of my house a few years ago. I don’t know how it got in, but it was absolutely nerve wracking, so I totally feel your pain! Glad you at least got some good breakfast inspiration out of the experience. Sounds delicious. I’ve been wanting to try some new recipes with black rice, and I love anything with coconut milk, so I’ll give this a try soon.

    • We did figure out how the bat got in – turns out the husband had opened the bathroom window before we went for dinner, and neither of us realized it was still open when we went to bed. Let me know how this turns out for you, Alissa!

  2. You actually caught that bat!!! I would have been screaming so loud that the hotel security would have broken down the door to see what the problem was, and then they would have caught it! You are my hero.

    Okay, this rice pudding sounds incredible. I have all of the ingredients in my pantry, including palm sugar. I’m going to make some today so that my husband and I can have it for breakfast tomorrow. Thanks for the inspiration Katie!

    • Oh we were screaming! I’m sure the neighbours thought there was a murder scene happening in there, but this was a Bali guest house and the main hotel was down the street. We eventually caught the (exhausted and terrified) bat when it landed on the mosquito net again and the husband whacked it hard with his pillow. The bat fell down and was lying on it’s back panting like crazy when I threw the sarong over of it. But the poor little guy did fly away after we tossed it over the balcony, so no bats were hurt in this operation! I hope you love this pudding as much as I do!

    • I think that Ubud was a much quieter place before the popularity of Eat, Pray, Love. It’s influence was clear there, in the type of tourist that was in Ubud as compared to other parts of Bali, and Ubud has become very commercial. There’s a Starbucks on the main drag, for Pete’s sake! I felt that we visited Ubud probably 5-10 years too late.

      • That’s really good insight! Your response reminds me of something I heard on public radio recently. I listened to a seasoned traveler speak about the fact that guidebooks can ruin the great spots in a particular city by generating more traffic than the location may be able to accommodate / making the area much more touristy than the cultural gem it was prior to the exposure.

        I made your rice pudding recipe tonight to reheat for breakfast tomorrow. It was delicious, and I can’t wait for breakfast!

        • Yeah, that makes sense. I’ve read that Rick Steves and the railway have ruined the Cinque Terre in Italy, and I don’t know what it was like there before his influence and before the railway meant easy access to those towns, but it sure is touristy now! Of course, Ubud and the Cinque Terre are both places I’ve been to, so I suppose I’m part of the problem!

          Glad you enjoyed the rice pudding. It’s one of my favourites, though I must say I prefer it cold!

          • I totally get what both of you are saying, and Ubud is definitely commercialized. However, with globalization there are so few places that exist untouched by the world. And frankly there is so much we can learn by traveling (even if people have been there before us). I still had an incredible journey in Bali, and would definitely go back and try getting to the western side!

            Balinese food is probably up there in my favorite cuisine! I cannot wait to make this pudding at home, because it was definitely a highlight!

          • I had a great time in Bali! Would love to go back and explore other parts. I found the pollution (plastic washed up all over the beach) in Seminyak particularly sad, but I agree there is much to learn from traveling and I always love exploring new places. I hope you love this black rice pudding as much as I do!

      • Thanks for the recipe. I was there in the early 90s and Ubud was a beautiful place…a town of Balinese artists and artisans. Very quite. No traffic. I’d hate to see it now. It sounds too upmarket for me. What a shame.

      • I first went to Ubud 30 years ago. There was Murni’s Warong a few shops and little else. It has become increasingly popular year. by year. I don’t think the book ruined it but it pointed it a little more in the direction it was already going. Stay outside of town and come in for the restaurant or shopping if you must but it’s a great place to base yourself and so so much better than the south. There are great day trips activities like am amazing bike ride and elephant sanctuary just stay out of town when you aren’t a one of the amazing restaurant s. Renting a house is fab.
        Great recipe. Will def try.

        • I remember Murni’s, best satay ever. We were there for the last King of Ubud’s funeral, 1976 I think. Well before the tourists got there. Sadly Bali is a place I wouldn’t bother visiting now. Full of drunk Aussie bogans (I am Australian before anyone gets rattled but acknowledge we are amoung the top 5 worst tourists in the world) though out of town gets you away from them. It is sad too that so many Javanese have moved in, culturally that is.

  3. Oh gosh Katie, that does sound pretty traumatic! At least this was probably offset by such good food at the hotel (which sounds lovely), including the black rice pudding. I do have palm sugar, which I have to chip away at to use: it’s SO hard, isn’t it? I am bookmarking this for the next southeast Asian meal I make for friends. It will be dessert rather than breakfast. I don’t tend to have many breakfast parties!

    • This palm sugar is powdery, with a very similar texture to coconut palm sugar or sucanat. I wonder if it’s been made differently from the palm sugar you have – is it more like jaggery? But yes! Do make this dish. It’d be a fabulous dessert as well.

  4. Ahhh Bubur Pulut Hitam. I loved this the first time I tried it and it happened to be a in restaurant not far from Ubud. However I’m suprised you haven’t mentioned pandan leaves in the recipe. They can be difficult to source but they are what give the dish such a unique taste. This is the first recipe I’ve seen that hasn’t included them.

  5. We are at this very moment sitting at Sweet Orange Warung in the Kajeng Rice fields just outside Ubud eating black rice pudding & decided to google the recipe & here I found your recipe , thank you so much going to make it back home in South Africa. After 3 months of travel here in Bali I have to agree with most of the comments above. I would have loved to see it all 10 years ago too much sea and land polution not to mention traffic noise. Have a beautiful day 🦋


  1. […] us to leave the house!  I brought a little bit of Indonesia into my breakfast trying Katie’s Indonesian black rice pudding recipe. […]

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