Savor Peruvian cuisine at Mochica for MTL à TABLE

MTL à TABLE has arrived in Montreal! You can now sample 150+ restaurants at very fair set prices. And this particular culinary trip takes us to Peru at Mochica.

Let’s face it, November is a depressing month. The cold weather slowly sets in, the sky is grey and trees look sad and naked without leaves. You almost wish for a snowfall to cover the brown landscape.

Thankfully, for the past four years now, a ray of foodie sunlight has brought warmth and joy to the month of November in Montréal, Québec. Happiness envelops Montréal when MTL à TABLE arrives.


Restaurant Mochica: fine Peruvian dining

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Breakfast Chocolate Coconut Rice Pudding

OK, I will have to come clean: I love rice pudding. It seems people hate it or love it, but no in between. I have always enjoyed this dessert. So when I fell on a recipe that suggested it as a healthy breakfast option I was of course all over it. It’s a nice change from oatmeal or cream of wheat. And since this recipe calls for coconut milk it is vegan as well. I am sure you could try it too with rice, almond or soya milk.

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I came across this recipe as I was searching for a dish that included cocoa beans. My friend Susan brought back a few coca beans for me from a trip to Mexico about 3 years ago. Well those cocoa beans got lost in the jungle I call my food pantry. Too bad I waited so long, I never cooked with this ingredient before but now I am hooked. There is not a huge amount of cocoa beans in this recipe so the taste is subtle and earthy, perfect for breakfast in my opinion.
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Cocoa beans is the main ingredient of chocolate. Once the bean has dried and fermented (which removes the bitterness), one can extract the cocoa solids and cocoa butter. The cocoa butter counts for 50% of the bean’s composition, the rest being protein, sugar and starch. The beans are also packed with antioxidants, serotonin, vitamins, minerals and phenylethylamine, a natural antidepressant. So in small quantities, eating cocoa beans or dark chocolate can be beneficial to your health. A lot of people who have tasted the bean straight complain it is bitter. That means it was not a fully fermented bean. I ate one and found the texture to be like a fatty coffee bean, with a sublime intense chocolate nutty flavor, not sweet and not bitter.

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And with the addition of brown rice, molasses and toasted coconut, this rice pudding has nice rich deep flavor. If you do not have molasses you could substitute with brown sugar. And if you want to turn this breakfast meal into a dessert you can simply add a bit more molasses and/or sugar to taste. If you cannot find cocoa beans (or nibs) you can use chocolate chips, just keep in ind it will melt, unlike the beans.

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Yields 5

Breakfast Chocolate Coconut Rice Pudding
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  • 2 cups short-grain brown rice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or coconut spread
  • 4 to 5 cups of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut, flakes or shredded
  • 3 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cocoa nibs


  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Spread the coconut in a thin layer over a baking sheet with ridges and bake on the lowest rack setting for three to four minutes. Keep an eye on the coconut to make sure they don't burn, and stir if necessary.
  2. In a heavy, medium saucepan, melt the coconut oil. Add the rice and brown it for about four minutes. This will give the rice a nutty flavor.
  3. Once browned, add the coconut milk and vanilla. Bring to a boil, cover the saucepan, and reduce heat to low, simmering lightly and stirring periodically until the rice is tender and the mixture thickens.
  4. Add the molasses, coconut flakes, and cocoa nibs towards the end of the cooking process to preserve crunch. It will take 45 minutes to an hour to cook the rice, so add the additional ingredients 30 to 50 minutes in, depending on how fast the liquid is absorbing.
  5. When the rice is done and a small amount of liquid has retained, turn the heat off and let the rice sit under the closed lid for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm or chilled.
Recipe Type: Breakfast & Brunch


Lemon Rice Pudding Verrine with Chocolate Ganache

Everyone in the food blog world is backing up lemon and citrus treats. To me this means spring and summer are a coming! I love citrus sweet treats at this time of the year. So for Mother’s day I wanted to have a lemon twist to the dessert. As I mentioned in my last post I chose simple fancy recipes, the first a Maple Apple Brussels Sprout Salad while my wrist is in physio rehab. Both my mother and I love rice pudding too. So a Lemon Rice Pudding was natural choice. How about topping it with a little chocolate ganache and serving it all fancied up in a verrine? A success!

I have been actually looking for verrines for a long time, a small glass where ingredients  are layered. All I ever found was too small or too big. I felt like Goldie Locks ha ha. Well finally I got some…for free. I sometimes order beauty products by mail from Yves Rocher and they always throw in a free gift. This time it was a set of 4 verrines the exact size I wanted even if the design is simple. Expect more verrine recipes soon.

Ξ Lemon Rice Pudding with Chocolate Ganache Ξ
adapted from TheKitchn

1 lemon
1/4 cup rice, jasmine or Basmati rice
2 cups of milk (I used homogenized)
3 tablespoons sugar
dash of salt
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
2 oz dark chocolate
2 tbsp Greek yogurt

Preheat the oven to 260°F. Peel the lemon rind (no white) with a vegetable peeler and cut the peel into very fine strips. Reserve the lemon.

Mix the lemon peels, rice, sugar, milk, salt and rum in a small ovenproof dish. Place in the oven and cook uncovered for about 2 1/4 hours, stirring every 45 minutes.

When ready the rice will have almost dissolved and the mixture will have thicken. No worries if it seems a bit liquid still, the mixture will thicken as it cools. Squeeze the juice of the lemon and stir in the juice of the lemon. Divide equally into 4 verrines.

Melt chocolate in the microwave, 30 sec at a time. Ad d the yogurt and mix in. It will be more pasty then smooth, this is normal with yogurt. Divide ganache into 4, topping each verrine. Serves 4 in verrines

Ethnic Neighbourly Surprise: Sholleh Zard

I was running late a bit for my bus to meet friends for a birthday dinner. As I was locking my door my new neighbor from across the hall came out with a tray of 3 big bowls of what looked like a yellow rice pudding. My new neighbours are Iranian, actually like the ones before. The lady barely speaks English (although I noticed her vocabulary has already somewhat improved) but we try to communicate. I think my eyes getting big like saucers was an international sign.

I told her that looked really good. She got that. Then she kept pushing the tray a bit towards me. We mumble a few words we both understood. Finally she actually meant what I though: please take a bowl. Wow! She gave me a bowl of her homemade dessert and I barely know her. How sweet! I was so touched. I thanked her profusely and quickly got back into my apartment to put the bowl in the fridge. But before that I tried to ask her what was in it. All I got was Sholleh Zard. Yeah that meant nothing to me. What I did know was that sharing food is a sign of respect and saying ‘I like you’. I knew it was rice pudding but what was in it. I had to wait till I got back home that evening to investigate.

Sorry, tasted before thinking of taking a picture

I am not a stranger to Persian cuisine as I have had several Iranian friends in my adult life. It took very little time for me to find a recipe online. It is a Sweet Persian Rice Pudding flavored primarily with rose water and saffron which gives it a distinctive yellow color. This perfumed bowl of rice is divine!

Sholleh Zard

  • 1 cup of basmati rice (or any rice)
  • 6 cups of water
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of rose-water
  • 1.5  or 2 cups of sugar
  • 250 grams of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of saffron
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup slivered pistachios
  • Cinnamon, pistachios and/or almonds to garnish

Wash rice a few times until the water is clear, then drain. Add water, rice and salt, and bring to a boil, removing the foam. Simmer until the rice softens completely, about 45min. add sugar and stir well.

Crush and dissolve saffron in 1/4 cup of hot water. Add to rice rose water, sugar, butter and saffron. Stir well and cover. Simmer on lowest setting for another 30 min until the pudding is thick and creamy. Add a bit of water at a time if necessary  Serve with pistachio, almond and cinnamon sprinkled on top.

Obviously I will be returning her clean bowl once I am done with a English translation of the name of her recipe and will prepared a sweet Quebec treat for her! I am thinking Maple Syrup Pie.

Riz en Folie

There are so many ‘niche’ ideas, commerce, restaurants, etc nowadays you would think one would become blazé by the whole uniqueness concept. Then you come across a place like Riz en Folie and you are once again shook up by the daring singularity offered.  Riz en Folie serves one thing: rice pudding.

I came here this past Saturday with a group organized by a friend. I am not even sure how to describe the decor. The closest I can think of is walking into a kitchen Barbie would have designed…but in a really cute way. Everything is white except for a few oval flowery patterns. The ovals match the colors of the containers the rice pudding is served in…that is shaped, yep you guessed it, like an oval.

A really fun idea is that you are asked to pick what ever color container you want. Each color comes in the various sizes sold. You get the container, a tight fitting lid and a matching spoon. You are encouraged to keep the container and bring it back to the store each time you have a rice pudding craving. If you do come back with your container to be filled you get a $0.25 discount!

Once you pick your container it’s time to pick your flavor. The rice puddings are presented like a bar of gelato ice cream. They make 30 flavors in total, although not all 30 may be available. I chose chocolate mint and sugar cream. They will gladly put 2 flavors per container for you and give a sample before if you want to try one in particular. You can choose a topping too, like nuts, coulis, fruit or chocolate.

I am actually a fan of rice pudding. It’s not something I have often but I do enjoy it. So I loved the concept here and I loved how they are modernizing what some consider an old fashion or boring dessert. The rice pudding was really good and I kind of wish now I had gotten some more to take home. I took the small size which was a reasonable $4.00. I have no idea how this hid from my radar but Riz en Folie has been open for 2 years already. Catering and delivery services are offered.

Great so now you enjoyed every bite of your rice pudding and you want to keep your container…which is dirty. Well that was also thought of because a cleaning area has been designed. Just go wash your container and you are good to go, no fear of making a mess in your purse or backpack. If you do not want to keep your container make sure to put it in the recycling bin!

If you are downtown and have a little sweet craving after shopping or visiting a museum head over here. Its fun, its cheap, its good.

Riz en Folie

2153 Rue Mackay
Montreal, QC
(514) 750-3415