Coconut rice is a natural extension of rice in a culture that uses coconut in their cuisine. In its most simple form, it is just rice cooked with the absorption method, only replacing the water with coconut milk. This replacement gives a rather different taste to the rice, one that I would describe as richer and stronger. This kind of rice pairs well with other strongly-flavored foods, but will not go as well with subtly-flavored dishes. (Anthropod mentions a way to cook jasmine rice with coconut milk in that node.)

Simple Coconut Rice:

To make coconut rice to be eaten with curries and other similar foods, simply cook the rice, using 1/2 teaspoon salt per 1/2 cup of rice, and between 1/2 cup to 1 cup of coconut milk. The more liquid used, the more moist the rice will be, and the stronger the coconut flavor. Burmese food served with the rice always uses 1 cup coconut milk per 1/2 cup rice.

There is a lot more that can be done with coconut rice than simply serving it like regular rice. The flavor of the rice makes it well suited for adding seasonings, and serving as its own dish. The recipes will vary between cooking the rice with the coconut milk, or adding it to cooked rice.

Indian Coconut Rice:

1 C long grain rice
1 C coconut milk
1 Tbsp cashews, chopped
3 green chiles, slit open
1 stalk curry leaves
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp urad dal
2 tbsp fresh grated coconut
1 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro)
2 tbsp oil

First, wash and soak rice in salted water, for about 30 minutes, keeping the salted water when draining the rice.

Heat the oil in a saucepan until smoking. Add the urad dal, mustard seed, and cashews. Cook, stirring, until sputtering in the pan.

Add the chiles and curry leaves, and stir. Add thr rice. Stir until the rice is evenly coated with the oil.

Add the coconut milk, and the salted water reserved from earlier. Add more salt if desired.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer.

After the water is about 3/4ths gone, add lemon if desired. Continue simmering until all water is evaporated.

Garnish with coriander and coconut, and serve.

There are also versions of coconut rice that use grated coconut mixed in with the rice while cooking, instead of just adding coconut milk. For one example, the Malaysian dish nasi lemak.

Coconut rice may also be served as a dessert - one common version is known as bibingka, which adds dark brown sugar to the mix to give it a sweet taste.

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