Mexican Rice Pudding is a variation of a traditional creamy dessert introduced in Spain during the time of the Moorish occupation. The influence of Arabian culture as a result of the Moorish occupation is purportedly how the rice pudding came to be, as many traditional Arabic dishes include the cinnamon and rice that are two important ingredients in the pudding. Spanish rice pudding, in Spanish called "Arroz con Leche," made it to South America during Spanish colonization.
Rice pudding is not singular to Spain or South America. Rice pudding variations are made in other European countries such as England and Norway, and it is quite common in Asia as well. Mexico's inheritance of rice pudding is shared with other South American countries, including Argentina, Bolivia and Chile.
Traditional Spanish Rice Pudding calls for cooking rice slowly in milk and sugar, and cooks serve it either hot or cold, often accompanied by cinnamon, raisins, vanilla or lemon shavings. The Mexican variation includes orange peel, egg yolk and sweet condensed milk, sometimes with coconut or Brazil nuts added for a bit of crunch. Although cooks usually prepare rice pudding as a dessert dish, rice pudding variations include unsweetened versions substituted as main dinner dishes in some countries.