Coconut rice is rice which has been prepared with coconut milk instead of water, lending the rice a rich coconut flavor. It can be eaten on its own as a treat, or served alongside curries and other dishes. This version of rice is especially popular with Thai cuisine, although it also pairs well with Indian food and other cuisines from Southeast Asia. Caribbean food can also be greatly enhanced with the addition of coconut rice.
Many cooks like to use jasmine rice for coconut rice, because this light, aromatic rice takes on the flavor of the coconut very well. Other rice varietals can be used as well. Rinsing the rice first is recommended to cut down on the starch, which will ensure that the coconut rice is light and fluffy, and that the flavor of the coconut comes through clearly. Rinsing can be accomplished by running water over rice in a sieve, or by soaking the rice in multiple changes of water.
While the rice is draining after soaking, a mixture of coconut milk and water can be brought to boil in a cooking pot. While pure coconut milk can be used, many cooks prefer a blend, which will reduce the risk of burning. For an extra-rich version of coconut rice, coconut cream can be used instead of coconut milk. The ratio of liquids to rice should be two to one, with slightly less liquid for a more sticky coconut rice. Some cooks also add salt or sugar to their coconut rice, depending on how it is going to be used.
The rice is then added to the boiling mixture, stirred, and covered after the temperature is brought down so that it can simmer for 15-20 minutes before being uncovered, fluffed, and covered again for five minutes to allow the rice to rest. At this point, the coconut rice can be served. Some cooks add toasted coconut to their coconut rice at the table for extra flavor and a crunchy texture.
In addition to being served with savory dishes, coconut rice can also be used in desserts. A simple dessert of coconut rice covered in fruit and syrup can be quite delicious, as a variation on the classic Thai dish of sticky rice with mango. When using coconut rice in desserts, a small amount of sugar is usually added during the cooking process so that the rice will be sweet.