Coconut rice, when done well, is an almost indescribably lovely side dish that’s ever so slightly sweet and laughably easy and incredibly versatile. Here’s how to make it.
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 35 M
- Serves 8
Gently pour the rice in a fine mesh strainer and place the strainer in a large bowl. Put it under cold running water and gently stir clockwise with a slightly cupped hand, taking care not to break the grains of rice. Discard the water when it becomes cloudy and repeat the rinsing process several times until the water runs clear. (This may take half a dozen rinses. It’s worth it.) Remove the strainer from the bowl and let the rice drain for at least 10 minutes.
To cook the rice on the stove top, put the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt in a heavy, 3-quart pot and stir gently to combine. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then cover and decrease the heat to low to maintain a low simmer. Cook for 9 minutes without uncovering the pot. Seriously. Don’t open the pot. Don’t stir it. Don’t peek. [Editor’s Note: If you remove the lid, you allow precious heat to escape. This in turn throws off the whole timing of the rice and will result in undercooked rice and then you’ll wan to blame us when really it was your own darn fault. Resist temptation. Don’t do it.] Turn off the heat and let the rice rest for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow it to absorb any residual moisture in the pot. Taste the rice and, if it’s still a touch underdone and firm, cover the pot and let it rest for an additional 5 minutes. To cook the rice using a rice cooker, put the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt in a rice cooker and stir gently to combine. Cook following your rice cooker instructions. When the rice is done, let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow it to absorb any residual moisture in the cooker. Taste the rice and, if it’s still a touch underdone and firm, replace the lid on the rice cooker and let it rest for an additional 5 minutes.
Serve the coconut rice warm. Extra rice can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen in resealable plastic bags for up to 6 months.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Absolute perfection. And all you have to is follow a few very simple instructions to achieve it—a winner! It’s fluffy, gorgeously fragrant, and the best-textured long-grain rice I’ve ever cooked. I love the slight richness of the coconut milk and the subtle saltiness. Although I could eat it by itself, this coconut rice would be wonderful with an infinite number of dishes, Southeast Asian or not. If you use the stove-top method like I did, ignore your urge to see if the rice is properly cooked after 9 minutes (No worries. It is.) Keep the lid on and just remove the pot from the heat and leave it undisturbed for 10 minutes. The timing for the stovetop method was spot on. The steaming at the end also keeps the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. This makes a lot of coconut rice but fortunately rice freezes well. I measured about 2 cups for each resealable plastic bag and then flattened it and pushed the air out and that’s it. Frozen rice can be microwaved or slowly thawed in the refrigerator then reheated.
This coconut rice came out perfectly. It didn’t taste at all of coconut (as in, not at all) but the rice seemed infused with the richness of the coconut milk and emerged as plump, tender, separate grains. It took quite a while to get the water to run clear by rinsing. I stopped counting at 8 changes of water. Cooked on the stovetop, the rice was done exactly right at the end of 19 minutes—9 minutes cooking and 10 minutes sitting, covered and untouched. I’m glad I checked right at 10 minutes because it seemed like it was hitting the point where it would be hard to fluff after much longer and might have been overdone and/or stuck to the pot. All of the liquid was completely absorbed. We ate this with mu shu pork lettuce wraps.