Let’s Cook! Coconut Rice
January 19, 2012
Hi all, and Happy New Year! Yeah, I know it’s a little late for that, but we here at Eating (and Drinking) Around the World have been a bit busy the past few weeks… two half-marathons, a birthday, and much research for future posts (that means there has been a lot of cooking, eating, and of course, drinking since we last visited…). Okay, enough of the excuses… let’s start the year with one of my favorite recipes: Coconut Rice.
Dedicated Readers won’t be shocked that this is yet another creation from Suvir Saran’s “American Masala” cookbook. If you’re not familiar with Suvir (and you should be), take a look at my intro to his cornbread recipe here.
This recipe is one of those that everyone seems to really enjoy and it consistently garners compliments. It goes well with many types of food: Indian of course, but also great with Thai dishes or really most anything that calls for a side of rice – I’ve even served it alongside White Barbeque Sauce Chicken to raves! And even better, it’s easy to prepare and pretty much fool-proof. My version below varies just slightly from the original (which I’ll give you some notes on at the end), so now, Let’s Cook!
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
1 Medium-size Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbl Mustard Seeds
2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
2 Cups Basmati Rice
1/4 Cup Shredded Coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1 Can (13.5 oz or so) Coconut Milk (regular or light – be sure to use the stuff from the Asian section, not the sweet stuff from the drink mixer aisle)
2 1/4 Cups Water (about, see below)
1 Tbl Sea or Kosher Salt
Shake the can of coconut milk well (before you open it please) then pour into a large measuring device and add enough water to total 4 cups of liquid and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Add the onions, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and saute until the onions start to soften and the seeds are fragrant – 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the rice and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the rice changes color a little and starts to smell good.
Stir in the coconut and cook another minute or so.
Add the liquid and salt and stir well. Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes (it will stay warm a bit longer than that if needed).
Fluff with a fork…
Suvir’s original recipe adds optional torn curry leaves (12 of them, heated with the onions) and uses a bit more salt (1 1/2 tablespoons). He also only uses 1 cup of coconut milk to 3 cups water, but I like to just use up the whole can. The recipe also calls specifically for unsweetened coconut, but it can be hard to find at times – I’ve made it many times with the sweetened version and it comes out great, so I’d say use whatever you can find.
You can certainly “fancy” this up if you want to… maybe add some sauteed mushrooms, little English peas wouldn’t hurt… stir in a little chopped cilantro, or even a bit of mint…
This recipe does make a gracious plenty, but it will keep well for a couple of days, and if you bring a bit extra to friends at work the next day they won’t hate you for it…
Add this one to your repertoire… you’ll find yourself making it often!
Back to the kitchen – see you soon!