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Coconut Rice

This coconut rice is light, fluffy and infused with 3 times the coconut thanks to my secret ingredient! It’s the divine, simple, coconutty answer to the dreaded question “What should I make?” when it comes to sides because everyone loves it! This coconut jasmine rice pairs perfectly with a practically any grilled protein, South East Asian dish, tropical dish or seafood. It can also be easily adapted to make Thai Coconut Rice, Jamaican Coconut Rice, Pineapple Coconut Rice, Coconut Lime Rice, Curry Coconut Rice - all recipes included! Plus, it’s super easy to make either on the stove or in the rice cooker!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups long grain jasmine rice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 14 oz. can coconut milk (full fat or light)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder, ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

ADD LATER

Instructions

  • Rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve under running cold water until the rice water runs pretty clear. This is crucial and will take several minutes. Don’t shortcut this step or you’ll end up with gummy rice.
  • Melt the butter in a large non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Increase heat to medium-high and add the rice. Sauté for three minutes to toast the rice (this makes it fluffy).
  • Add the coconut milk, water, and seasonings. Bring to a simmer (wait for the middle to start to bubble, not just the edges). This can take up to five minutes, so be patient. Once simmering, give the rice a stir, cover with the lid and turn the heat down to LOW.
  • Cook on low for 6-10 minutes, or until the rice is al dente (it will continue to cook more in the next step), checking doneness and stirring at 6 minutes.
  • Give the rice ONE stir, remove from heat and rest, COVERERD, for 10 minutes - no peaking!
  • Add cream of coconut to taste and gently stir in with a rubber spatula. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I like more salt). Garnish with toasted coconut, if using, and serve warm.

Notes

  • Use jasmine rice: other types of rice can have too much starch and are destined to become gluey or mushy.  You may also use basmati rice if you’re looking for more distinct grains or more of an Indian mouthfeel.  
  • Coconut milk: buy canned coconut milk, not the kind in a carton.  Full-fat or light coconut milk will work, but coconut rice made with full fat coconut milk will taste richer and boast more coconutty swag.
  • Cream of coconut:  replaces the sugar in most recipes with slightly sweet, intoxicating concentrated coconut flavor.  Cream of coconut is not to be confused with the coconut cream you scoop off the top of canned coconut milk. It is most often used in mixed drinks and can be found near other drink mixers at your grocery store. Note that cream of coconut does NOT contain alcohol. If you have trouble locating it, just ask someone at the store because it is a very common ingredient.  There are both liquid and powdered forms, so take care you get the liquid form. I use Coco Real Cream of Coconut in the convenient squeezable form.  This is the exact one I use
  • If the liquid evaporates before rice is done:  add just a little water, keeping in mind that the rice will continue to steam for 10 minutes once it’s removed from heat, so it doesn’t need to be 100% cooked once the liquid is gone.
  • If the rice is still wet once it’s done: don’t worry, it will continue to absorb the liquid the last 10 minutes while steaming. When you remove the lid after 10 minutes, you can let the rice sit an additional 5-10 minutes to dry out.

Coconut Rice in the Rice Cooker

The ingredients are the same with the omission of butter and reduction of water. 
  • 2 cups long grain jasmine rice
  • 1 14 can coconut milk (full fat or light)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp EACH garlic powder, onion powder, ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
ADD LATER
  • 3-5tablespoons cream of coconut – see notes (optional but recommend)
  • toasted shredded coconut for garnish
INSTRUCTIONS
  • Rinse the rice in a fine mesh sieve under running cold water until the rice water runs pretty clear. This is crucial and will take several minutes. Don’t shortcut this step or you’ll end up with gummy rice.
  • Add all of the ingredients to your rice cooker and give them a stir.
  • Cook on the white rice setting.
  • Once the rice is done, don’t open the lid. Continue to let the rice steam for 10 minutes before stirring in the cream of coconut to taste.

Recipe Variations 

  • Coconut Lime Rice:  stir the juice and zest of 1 lime into the rice after it's fully cooked/steamed.
  • Cilantro Lime Coconut Rice: stir the juice and zest of 1 lime and 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped into the rice after it's fully cooked/steamed.
  • Thai Coconut Rice:  season the rice with 1/8 teaspoon turmeric in addition to the salt, pepper, garlic, onion and ginger. You can also add 1 tablespoon red curry powder in place of the seasonings (still season with salt and pepper). Add two Pandam leaves, tied into a knot to the simmering liquid or 2-3 kaffir lime leaves.
  • Jamaican Coconut Rice: sauté the rice with ½ diced onion and 2 cloves of garlic. Add 1 cup red kidney beans, 1 teaspoon dried thyme and 1 bay leaf before simmering.
  • Basmati Coconut Rice:  swap the jasmine rice for basmati rice.  Everything else stays the same. 
  • Coconut Ginger Rice:  omit the ground ginger and sauté 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger with the rice.
  • Coconut Curry Rice: use basmati rice instead of jasmine rice if you’re looking for an Indian flair.  Sauté the rice with 2 teaspoons curry powder.  Season with 1 teaspoon EACH onion powder, garlic powder, salt and ½ teaspoon EACH smoked paprika, pepper, ground ginger.  Add 1/3 cup golden raisins before simmering. Garnish with cashews.
  • Pineapple Coconut Rice: swap the water for pineapple juice.  Stir well drained pineapple tidbits into the rice after cooking.
  • Add-ins: a simple way to transform this coconut rice is with garnishes or add-ins.  Try adding freshly chopped cilantro, lime juice or zest, fresh pineapple chunks, chopped mango, cashews, sliced almonds or golden raisins.
  • Add a protein: you can enjoy this coconut rice as a side or as a main entrée. To bulk up the dish, add chicken, pork, or shrimp to the rice once it’s been cooked and fluffed. 

How to Store and Reheat

  • How to store: let coconut milk rice cool to room temperature then transfer to a tightly covered airtight container or to several small containers for meal prep. Store in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.
  • To freeze: let the rice cool completely before transferring to a freezer bag (recommended) or freezer-safe airtight container. If using a bag, squeeze out as much excess air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, let the rice thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the microwave or stove as directed above.
  • To reheat in the microwave: for small portions, microwave rice in a microwave-safe container for 60-90 seconds or until warmed through.
  • To reheat on the stove: for larger portions, transfer rice to a nonstick skillet along with a splash of oil or butter.  Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally until warmed through.