300 ml Water
150 ml short grain rice
700 ml whole milk
400 ml bilberriesfresh or frozen
200 ml Water
100 - 150 ml Sugar
Traditionally, Christmas porridge has always been made from oat or barley. Then, in the 19th century, rice was imported to Finland, and it quickly replaced oat and barley at Christmas, since it was expensive and thus considered a festive ingredient. Despite rice becoming commonplace and less exotic over the 20th century, this version of porridge is still going strong at the Christmas table.
How to Make Rice Porridge:
- Use a special porridge saucepan or a saucepan with an extra thick bottom to prevent the porridge from burning on the bottom.
- Bring the water to the boil in the saucepan. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until the water is wholly absorbed into it.
- Add the milk and bring the mixture to the boil again, stirring frequently.
- Lower the heat to minimum, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for about 40 to 60 minutes, or until the rice and milk have thickened into a soft-textured, velvety smooth porridge.
- Stir every now and then to prevent the porridge from burning or forming a skin on the surface.
- Season with a little salt, sugar, and a pat of butter.
How to Make Bilberry Compote:
- Put the bilberries, water, and sugar in a saucepan.
- Bring the mixture slowly to the boil, crushing the berries with a spoon or a pounder.
- Cook the mixture for a few minutes, then strain it through a fine sieve.
- Store covered in the refrigerator.
- Serve the rice porridge piping hot, topped with a pat of butter and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, or with cold or warmed bilberry compote
Note: if eating bilberries for the first time, you should be aware of the fact that they will stain your mouth and teeth purplish-blue, though not permanently!
In Finland, rice porridge is traditionally served at Christmas time. One scalded almond can be “hidden” in the porridge pot and whoever gets it on their plate will “have good fortune”.