Fragrant, flavorful, nutty with lots of texture, this easy coconut rice is a fantastic side to curries, roasted veggies and meats. In India, it’s even had for breakfast because it really fuels you up. Its naturally vegan, gluten free, vegetarian and also a great way to use leftover rice!
There are two different ways you can make coconut rice at home. A common way this is done outside India is to cook rice in coconut milk. But we do this differently. I always feel like with rice, I prefer a dish that has every single grain fluffy, separate and full of flavor. The nutty flavor of this coconut rice recipe along with the crunch from spices and cashew nuts is what makes this so special and different from everything you’ll see on the internet.
And it’s faster to make if you already have leftover rice in the fridge – which we always do! I actually make a little extra rice on the daily because leftover rice is so handy and you can turn it into lemon rice, mango rice, schezwan fried rice or like today – coconut rice.
Now this coconut rice will have some surprise ingredients for you – two different kinds of dried lentils, curry leaves and asafoetida that you may not be using commonly. These are all used to add flavor and texture to stir fried rice dishes in India. And they are pretty easy to source if you live outside India. Every Indian grocery store will stock these ingredients. But if you don’t want to make the trek, you can leave some of these out. But I will insist on the curry leaves – its the most underestimated and probably unrecognized herb around the world but the flavor is so hard to beat. It’ll perfume your entire kitchen and make you think of tropical places and summer.
The rest is really easy. The entire recipe takes 15 minutes tops because there is practically no prep apart from cooked rice. Day old rice works best here as opposed to fresh rice because it has had some time to dry out a bit, which makes any stir fry so much better.
What kind of coconut can I use in coconut rice?
Freshly grated coconut is best for coconut rice. But even I don’t use that most of the time. I end up grating a big batch of coconut and freezing it in smaller ziplocks. If you don’t have access to fresh coconut, look for grated coconut in the freezer section of your grocery store. Don’t use dried coconut that is available in the aisle because that has a completely different flavor and texture and will make your dish more oily.
Once you go through the recipe, you’ll see how simple coconut rice is to make at home. All the spices and aromatics are stir fried in coconut oil, the grated coconut is roasted in the same pan and finally, the rice is tossed in along with some salt to finish this dish up. I also love squeezing some lime juice in the end which really takes this to another level. I forgot to show that in the video but thats really a must do!
Watch Coconut Rice Recipe Video
- 2 tablespoon Coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon Urad Dal
- 1/2 tablespoon Chana Dal
- 1 pinch Asafoetida hing
- 1 teaspoon Ginger finely chopped
- 2 Dry whole Red Chilies
- 10-12 Cashew Nuts
- 1 Green Chilli finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups Coconut grated fresh
- 2 cups Basmati Rice cooked
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a wok or frying pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, chana dal and asafoetida to it and cook till the seeds crackle.
- Next, add the dry red chillies, curry leaves, cashew nuts and chopped ginger and cook till the cashew nuts turn golden.
- Add the chopped green chillies and grated coconut and cook stirring for a couple of minutes till the coconut turns light brown in color.
- Add rice and salt and stir fry it all together with a light hand to mix it all. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice.
- Serve hot with curd, vegetable korma or any other curry.
- To cook Basmati Rice: Wash and soak the rice in water for 15-20 minutes. Put 1 1/2 litres of water to boil in a saucepan, add the soaked rice to the boiling water and cook till the rice is about 80-90% cooked. Drain, fluff it with a fork and keep aside.
- You may substitute peanuts for cashews.
- A dash of lemon juice can be added when adding the rice and salt to give it a tang.