This Coconut Rice recipe uses fresh spices and vegetables to brighten the color and taste of the Basmati Rice. It’s the best we’ve ever tasted!
When it comes to side dishes, it doesn’t get much better than Coconut Rice. It adds flavor and flair to your favorite Indian and Thai cuisine.
What is Coconut Rice?
Contrary to what you might think, coconut rice does not have flakes of coconut in it. Although, this would probably be delicious if you are a fan of coconut. The coconut flavor comes from coconut milk, which gives the rice some sweetness and a mild coconut flavor. Many Indian and Thai restaurants offer coconut rice on the menu. It has a hint of curry, but the fresh spices are really what sets this recipe apart from most coconut rice recipes out there.
Our dear friend, Meena, introduced this incredible dish to us and was so generous to share the recipe. Her home cooked Indian food is better than I’ve ever tasted at a restaurant. Every ingredient is fresh. Meena was raised in India and she brings back freshly ground spices when she travels there. The difference in taste is profound. She has been very generous in sharing her spices and her recipes. Thank you, Meena!
Tips for Making Coconut Rice
- Use good quality Basmati rice.
- Don’t skip the step of soaking the rice for 30 minutes. This shortens the cooking time, which keeps more of the flavor in the rice. The longer the rice is over heat, the more flavor it loses.
- Use the freshest spices you can find.
- Use full fat coconut milk. Light coconut milk will alter the flavor and texture of the recipe.
- This rice is delicious without the cashews and cilantro, but they do add great flavor, texture and color to the dish.
What to serve with Coconut Rice
- Chicken Massaman Curry – Chicken and potatoes cooked in a sweet, slightly spicy sauce.
- Coconut Curry Chicken with Peanuts – Sweet and spicy flavors make this a warm, comforting meal any night of the week.
- Grilled Coconut Curry Chicken – Chicken marinate in delicious seasoning and then grilled to perfection.
- Curried Chickpeas – For a tasty vegetarian meal, serve curried chickpeas as the main dish with this rice. Loaded with Indian flavors and very filling.
- Chicken Tikka Masala – Tender chicken in a creamy, tomato-based sauce. It’s so easy to make at home.
How to Make Coconut Rice
- 2 cups Basmati rice (uncooked)
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 stick cinnamon cut into a 1 inch piece
- 4 cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 small tomato chopped
- 1 small jalapeno (optional)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 14 ounces coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup dry roasted cashews
- 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
- Soak rice in the 1 cup of water for at least 30 minutes.
- Add oil, butter, cinnamon stick, cloves, and bay leaf to a large fry pan over medium heat. Fry for 2 minutes them add minced garlic and fry until garlic turns golden.
- Turn heat to low and add the cumin and curry powder. Then add the diced tomato (and optional jalapeno) and cook a couple more minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves, and bay leaf.
- Drain the water from the rice and add the rice to the fry pan and mix well, cook for 2 minutes. Keep stirring to prevent rice from sticking to the pan.
- Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, and salt and turn heat up to medium high to bring mixture to a boil. Stir frequently.
- Boil for 5 minutes, then turn heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for another 15 minutes covered. Then remove from heat and let set for 5 more minutes.
- Fluff with a fork and serve with cashews and chopped cilantro over the top.
- Fry Pan/Skillet