COCONUT RICE #1
2 c. Jasmine (long grain white or brown) rice
1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk (full fat) do not use light fat
1/2 c. water
1 pkg coconut milk powder (1 pkg=4 Tbsp. powder)
1/2 tsp. salt
Notes - This rice is best made with jasmine, long grain white or brown rice. DO NOT use risotto, paella, medium, or short grain rice in thick recipe. They will become too sticky cooking with coconut.
COCONUT RICE #2
1 c. Jasmine (long grain white or brown) rice
¾ c. coconut milk
1 c. coconut water
1 lime, zested
1 tsp. lime juice
4 tsp. minced fresh cilantro
Salt & pepper (to taste)
Secret to Fluffy Coconut Rice
(5) Secrets to Fluffy Coconut Rice
- Rinse the Rice – rinsing rice is to remove excess starch. I don’t do this when cooking normal white rice, but it is essential when cooking coconut rice. Coconut milk is thicker than water so it can make the rice gluey. Rinse the rice, until the water runs clear (Note: the water will never be 100% clear).
- Soak Rice for 20 Minutes – soaking your rice, essentially gives the rice a head start in the water absorption phase. This is critical to ensure the rice is fully cooked, because we cook coconut rice LESS liquid than usual.
- LESS Liquid Than Usual! - Normally, I follow the (1 to 1.5) ratio for cooking rice. That is, 1 cup of rice to 1.5 cups of water. But when doing this for coconut rice, the rice always came out gluey. I was astonished to discover that (1 to 1) is the perfect ratio when cooking coconut rice. That is, 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of coconut milk/water combo.
- Can’t Just Use Coconut Milk – You cannot just use coconut milk (it’s too thick), the rice can’t absorb the moisture properly. Coconut milk needs to be diluted with some water. I find the perfect flavor/rice texture is achieved by using 1 can coconut milk with 1/2 cup of water (just over 2 cups) for 2 cups of rice.
- Bring to Boil, stir ONCE, Cover & Turn Off the Heat – This is quite key as well! I do not understand the science behind this, but it works. Bring your rice to a boil, stir once, cover and turn off the heat. Allow the rice to sit (with lid on) for 25 minutes.
Why Type of Rice To Use
You can use any variety of long-grain white rice in this recipe. However, avoid using arborio, risotto, paella, quick-cooking rice (such as instant), medium, or short grain white rices. Those kinds of rice varieties require a completely different ratio of liquid to rice, as well as different cook times.
- Jasmine Rice - Jasmine rice is a long-grain rice with a faint natural floral fragrance with a slightly sticky texture. This variety is typically used in coconut milk rice recipes.
- Basmati Rice - Basmati rice also works beautifully in this recipe as well. It is has a light nutty flavor and floral aroma. This variety also has a fluffier texture as it lacks the starch found in jasmine rice.
- Brown Rice - For a healthier rice dish, brown jasmine rice can be used. However, you will need to increase the cook time significantly. Instead of steaming the rice for 15 minutes, steam it for 50-60 minutes. Please note, the coconut flavor will be much more subtle if you use brown rice.
How to Cook Rice in Coconut Milk
- Step One (Rinse, Soak & Drain the Rice) - Rinse the rice in a fine-mesh strainer with cold water until the water runs clear. Transfer the rice to a small bowl and soak in cool water for 10-15 minutes. Drain rice again.
- Step Two (Combine all Ingredients) - In a small Dutch oven or medium (3-quart) saucepan, combine the drained rice, coconut milk, broth (or water), coconut flakes, garlic, ginger, sugar and salt. Stir well to thoroughly combine.
- Step Three (Bring to a Simmer) - Place the pan over medium high heat and bring contents to a rapid simmer without stirring. Once simmering, stir ONCE to combine.
- Step Four (Cover & Cook) - Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and turn off the heat. Steam (no peeking!) for 25 minutes.
- Step Five (Adjust Seasoning) - Remove the lid and use a fork to fluff the rice. Remove garlic and ginger and discard.
- Step Six (Serve) - Season to taste with toasted coconut, lime zest and fresh herbs if desired.
Tips for the Best Coconut Milk Rice
Follow these simple tips and you will have perfectly cooked rice every single time!
- Tip #1 (Rinse the Rice) - Before cooking, make sure you rinse the rice. Use cold water and rinse the rice until the water runs relatively clear (Note: The water will never be 100% clear). Rinsing the rice removes excess starch and prevents the rice from becoming too sticky and mushy.
- Tip #2 (Soak the Rice) - Soaking the rice gives the grains a head start by kick-starting the absorption of water before the rice even starts cooking.
- Tip #3 (Use a Mixture of Coconut Milk + Broth) - Do not try to cook the rice in just coconut milk. Coconut milk is too thick and the rice cannot absorb it fully and properly. You must dilute the coconut milk with either broth or water.
- Tip #4 (Don’t Over Stir) - Stir all the ingredients together well before you place the pot on the stove. Once you start cooking, allow the contents to come to a rapid simmer WITHOUT stirring! Once the ingredients are almost boiling, stir once and then cover the pot. Stirring too much, results in rice lacking proper texture. Make sure you just stir once before covering the pot to ensure the coconut milk gets properly distributed and absorbed.
- Tip #5 (Allow the Rice to Sit) - Once the rice comes to a rapid boil, place the lid on the rice, turn the burner off and allow it to sit for 25 minutes. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID. This process will allow the rice to (slowly) continue to cook through. This creates a fully rice with a perfectly cooked texture throughout. It’s imperative you have a lid that actually fits tightly inside your pot, as this will trap the steam needed to properly cook your rice.