1/2 cup (100 grams) long-grain rice, preferably jasmine
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 quart (946 ml.) whole milk
1/4 to 1/3 cup (50-67 grams) sugar (to taste)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Rinse the rice under cold running water, then turn it into a medium saucepan, and cover with water. Add the salt, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain.
Rinse the saucepan with cold water, shake out excess (don’t dry) and pour in the milk and sugar. If you’re using a vanilla bean, scrape the pulp into the pan and drop in the pod (if you’re using extract, you’ll add it later).
Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stay close: Milk is notorious for bubbling over.
Lower the heat, stir in the rice and cook at a steady simmer, stirring frequently (especially at the start) for 30-40 minutes, or until the rice is very tender, the pudding feels just a little thick as you stir it and most of the milk has been absorbed (the pudding will have cooked down by about half). It’s hard to give an exact time because it depends on the rice, the size of the pan and the amount of heat beneath it.
Scrape the pudding into a heatproof bowl, and remove the vanilla bean, if you’ve used it. If you’re using extract, stir it in now.
Cover (if you want to avoid a skin, press plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding), and cool to room temperature or refrigerate. Tightly covered, the pudding will keep in the fridge for about four days; serve cold or at room temperature.