Lime & Coconut Rice Pudding

Lime & Coconut Rice Pudding

When Life Gives You Limes…

Oppositely  to South Africa, limes are widely available and inexpensive in Lagos. The perfectly yellow, conveniently available lemons that we are used to in South Africa, on the other hand, are imported and costly in Lagos. In Nigeria life does not give you lemons, but rather limes. And when life gives you limes, you incorporate it in as much dishes or drinks as you possibly can. 

I adore the scent of limes. Have you ever walked past a lime tree overflowing with lime blossoms? It really is intoxicating. Linden tea is made from these fragrant blossoms. The aroma of limes (as in lemons) lie in the skin of the fruit. And this is exactly what I used to create this familiar dessert with a twist.

Nigeria has a tropical climate (think beach and piña coloada cocktails). Coconut trees are planted all over and coconuts are easy to find. The combination of lime and coconut is a personal favourite of mine and come on, who doesn’t like rice pudding? It’s just a winner combination, really.

As you would have read about in a previous blog post, dairy is not as widely available in Lagos as in South Africa. We have never seen fresh cream or bought fresh milk. Milk is always sold in long-life form. Not everyone has a fridge, thus evaporated milk or milk powder is favoured in Nigeria. It is easy to prepare and consume only as much as you need on that moment. Evaporated milk is sold many types of packaging (cans, plastic sachets, etc) of various sizes. This recipe uses evaporated milk instead of cream. I have used a small can of evaporated milk. 

This rice pudding has subtle hints of coconut and lime – just enough to encourage you to have a second helping. Go on, I know you want to! 

Lime & Coconut Rice Pudding


  • ½ cup shortgrain rice (I used Egyptian rice)
  • ¼ cup (60ml) white sugar
  • 1 small can (150ml) evaporated milk
  • 1 can (400ml) coconut milk
  • 750ml milk
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • Zest of 5 small limes
  • Toasted coconut - garnish
  • Extra lime zest - garnish


  1. Combine the rice, sugar, evaporated milk, coconut milk, milk, vanilla essence in a medium pot and heat on a medium setting. Stir to make sure the ingredients are well combined.
  2. Finely chop the lime zest and add it to the mixture.
  3. Once the mixture boils, turn it down and cook it on a low setting. It should just simmer very gently. Stir it every now and then to avoid burning the mixture.
  4. Simmer until the rice turns soft and the mixture has thickened to your desire.
  5. Remove from the heat and immediately plate or a hard top skin will form. If you are keeping it for later, place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the rice pudding (it should touch). Remove it once you would like to reheat it before serving the pudding.
  6. Add the toasted coconut and extra lime zest as garnish. Serve while still hot.
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