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Potbelly rice pudding

Rice pudding

Just about every tramper’s done it at one time or another; you cut things a little too fine thinking that the weather will hold… and it doesn’t. Next thing you know you’re stuck in a hut on the wrong side of a swollen river.

It’s time to look in the emergency food bag and see what’s on the menu: white rice, dark chocolate, a bit of milk powder and a few left over bits and pieces. Things are not looking good. You’ve read Lord of the Flies and you know this sort of thing doesn’t end well.

Of course, rice and chocolate will keep you alive but it’s not exactly the morale boost the team needs to prevent a chant of ‘kill the pig’ starting up. However, if the hut has a potbelly stove and if you can remember this little gem of a recipe, then you may just make it out in one piece.

Serves: Four
Weight: 595g
Volume: less than 1L
Calories: 2463 kCal
Cost: $7
Cooking time: 90min (35min on the heat)
Fuel: 300ml of white spirit or 100g of gas.*

*Based on an MSR Whisperlite or Primus Classic operating at sea level.


  • 60g butter
  • 115g castor sugar
  • 162g milk powder (1.3L)
  • 140g short grain white rice
  • 250g chocolate
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla pod if you’re keen and a few fresh mint leaves to garnish if you’re really want to impress.

Special utensils

  • As there’s a bit of simmer-wait-simmer involved, a well-fed potbelly stove is perfect… but I wouldn’t carry one in especially.

Make up the milk from powder, add the rice and bring to simmer slowly, stirring frequently, then turn off heat and stand covered for 20 minutes. Add the butter, sugar and salt; bring to simmer again for 10 minutes, then stand with the lid on for another 20 minutes.

Pop it back on the heat for about ten minutes to absorb any remaining liquid – watch it like a hawk, stirring constantly so as not to burn it in the final minutes.

Lastly, break up the chocolate, stir in, and devour.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be hut-bound with kids (or childish adults) you can swap the chocolate for smarties to create psychedelic rainbow rice pudding.

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