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Atola – Rice Pudding

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On all souls day, we make atola. This is a rice pudding made with newly harvested rice, black-eyed beans, coconut, and jaggery. Flavored with cardamom powder this rice pudding recipe is an absolute treat and kids’ favorite.

A bowl with rice pudding.
East-Indian Atola – Rice Pudding

Every year on the 2nd of November comes the day of the dead. A day dedicated to honoring the dear souls in the family. Masses are offered in church, family graves are visited and dressed with flowers and candles.

Growing up, I remember mom would have a table set by the alter with food for the dead in the family. It used to be dad and grandpa but over the years that list has gone up. It is said, that our ancestors visit us on this day so we keep food for them. Mom even put a glass of alcohol for grandpa and dad along with their favorite foods. One of the special dishes made for offering would be Alota which is this rice pudding. And she would make a huge pot of it for everyone.

As kids, we would visit neighbors’ and friends’ homes to try all the different atola recipes because no matter how much you ate.. it was never enough! So delicious.

Ingredients and subsitutes

  • Rice – Atola is made with new rice. New rice signifies new harvest that you offer to the dead and ask their blessings. But, you can also make it with glutinous (asian) rice. Of course, you can make it with any rice but the texture of hte pudding is better with the new or glutinous rice as they are more sticky when cooked down to pudding consistency.
  • Beans – traditionally black-eyed beans are used in this recipe. They look pretty and taste delicious. Some also use split gram or channa dal. You can also use 1 can of black-eyed peas in this recipe and reduce the cooking time to only 20 minutes needed for the rice.
  • Coconut – traditionally, coconut is grated with a grator, ground in the blender, and then squeezed to get the juice. Personally, I always use carton coconut milk that is easily available in the supermarkets these days.
  • Jaggery – is made by reducing the sap of coconut palm. Use the brown not balck jaggery otherwise the color will be too dark. While jaggery has a distinct flavor the closest substitute for jaggery would be dark brown sugar because it has the strong flavor of molasses.
  • Cadarmom powder – is made by simply blending a few cardamoms in a blender until powder consistency. Add a little sugar helps make a finer grind.
A bowl with rice pudding.
East-Indian Atola – Rice Pudding

How to cook beans

Black-eyed beans take longer to cook. You can cook them ahead of time if you want to reduce the cooking time. You can cook the beans ahead of time for up to 3 days. Once cooked these can be stored in the freezer in a storage bag for up to 3 months.

  • Wash and soak them in water for at least 4 hours. Soaking hydrates them which helps cook them faster and better with a smooth texture.
  • Stovetop – You can cook them on the stovetop in lots water until tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Pressure cooker – I find the best way to cook beans is in a pressure cooker for 3 whistles + 8 minutes, then use the beans and liquid to continue with the recipe
  • Instant pot – Cook soaked beans in an instant pot for 15 minutes with natural release or unsoaked beas for 30 minutes with natural release.
  • Slow cooker – cook soaked beans in a slow cooker for 4 to 6 hours or unsoaked beans for 6 to 8 hours.

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A bowl with atola - east Indian rice pudding.

Atola – Rice Pudding

5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Soaking time: 4 hours
Calories: 517kcal
Adjust Servings Here: 8 servings
On all souls day, we make atola. This is a rice pudding made with new rice, black-eyed beans, coconut, and jaggery. Flavored with cardamom powder this pudding is an absolute addiction. The recipe gets done in about 25 to 30 minutes

Equipment /Tools

  • Suate pan
  • Spatula


  • 2 cups New rice
  • 1 cup Black-eyed beans Chawlee
  • 2 cups Jaggery Chopped
  • 2 cups Coconut milk or 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1 tsp Cardamom powder
  • 4 cups Water


  • Wash and soak the beans and rice in water for at least 4 hours.
    Pro tip – Soaking hydrates them which helps cook them faster and better.
  • Drain and add fresh water. Cook with salt for about 45 minutes until the beans are soft and can be mashed easily with your fingers. The rice by now will also be very soft.
    pro tip – if you use precooked beans, cook the rice separately for 20 minutes then combine the cooked beans with liquid and rice together.
  • Once the beans and rice are cooked to soft and tender, add the jaggery and coconut milk. Cook until all the jaggery is melted.
  • Taste and adjust sweetness and consistency. Add more crushed jaggery or water as necessary. Finally, add the cardamom powder.
  • Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information
Calories: 517kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 16mg | Potassium: 237mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 3mg

The nutrition information and metric conversion are calculated automatically. I cannot guarantee its accuracy. If this data is important to you please verify with your trusted nutrition calculator. Thank you

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear how it was.Mention @veenaazmanov or tag me on Instagram #veenaazmanov

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hello Veena,
    We are going to try making your Overnight Plum Cake.It looks delicious.
    We are a East Indian/Goan Couple living in Canada.
    Surprised to Know that You are Living in Israel.Hope You can pass on the Cooking Traditions to Your Children.
    That would Continue the East Indian Heritage.
    My Husband has Visited Israel 3 times for Business Meetings.He goes to a Town Called Rehovoth outside Tel-Aviv.The Company he visits is Called Tadiran Batteries.He has Met a few Indians who work at that Factory.
    Please Keep up the Good Work and your Native Traditions Alive for the Next Generation.

    1. Thank you so much, Loraine. Yes, I hope that my kids will get some. But, at least for now all the kids in the family have a place to go for family recipes.

  2. 5 stars
    Hi Veena,
    Just made atola this year after so many years. In fact, the first time in the US. I always presumed since I don’t have new rice or jaggery I can’t make this but thanks to your recipe we enjoyed atola today.

    I really enjoy your recipes, while they try to be authentic you also give options and substitutes. This recipe was so easy to make.

    I used light brown sugar and a can of black eyed beans today along with regular white short grain rice because I didn’t have Asian rice.
    I cooked the rice for a little longer until it became soft and them mashed it a bit with the potato masher.

    This is a delicious recipe and the first time we celebrated day of the dead hear in the US.
    Thanks Veena, keep up the good work. Your mom must be so proud.