Friday, May 5, 2017

Savory Coconut Rice – Sugar-Free and Easy

I love coconut rice, especially as a side for spicy, grilled meats, but when I order it out, it’s usually too sweet for my tastes, and more closely resembles dessert than a side dish. So, I decided to create a more savory version at home, which I eventually did, after a few short decades of testing.

Turns out that cooking rice in water is way easier than it is in the much thicker coconut milk, and that’s just one of the issues. We also have to account for the fat being introduced, which is why I suffered through countless failed attempts, before finally nailing this formula. For me this features a great balance between stickiness and separation.

As far as the taste goes, the only sweetness here comes from the coconut milk, and some toasted coconut on top. If you want it sweeter, which apparently lots of chefs do, you can add a spoon of sugar, but that’s not what I’m into. I’m going to be serving mine with rich, fatty, often sweet-glazed meats, so I want a fairly simple, savory rice, that’s just subtly scented with coconut.

Having said that, there are lots of things you can add, like herbs, fresh vegetables, and/or sliced spring onions, so personal adaptation is very much encouraged. So, whether you wait for the grilled hoisin beef teased herein, or you already have something in mind, I really hope you give this coconut rice a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 servings:
1 1/2 cups jasmine or long-grain rice
1 rounded teaspoon finely grated ginger
1⁄2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup water
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk (not coconut cream)
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup toasted coconut to garnish
- Bring to a simmer, cover, cook on low for 18 minutes. Turn off heat, leave covered 5 more minutes, then fluff and serve.

39 comments:

Brad Piper said...

Pssst... "chicago deep dish... :P"

Seanagail said...

Why didn't you rinse the rice before cooking? I was under the impression that that is an essential first step when cooking rice.

Bill said...

Why not rinse the rice before cooking, to reduce the loose starch?

Bill said...

By the way Chef, how about your take on oyakodon (chicken & egg rice bowl)?

Matthias Hoffmann said...

Hi Chef John! Matthias from Austria (yes, the one in Europe without kangaroos) here!
May I start with this: I'm a BIG fan of your channel. Thanks so much for all phantastic things I've learned watching you!

Now, I've got a question, too: what is the big difference between coconut milk and cream? (in my country, many products are labeled slightly different than in the US)

joy wejbe said...

My family uses coconut water. Have you tried that? I'm with you...others are too sweet for my mouth. Thank you!

Wtgraul said...

Definitely gonna try this in a rice cooker and see what happens!

Beth and family said...

Hi Chef, what is the recipe for beef hoisin you served with this?

Chris K. said...

Man, you've been really phoning it in these past few months. I hope you're working on something worthwhile in the meantime.

vegan peace said...

I'm making this tonight to go with some Korean BBQ tofu. It smells so delicious!!

anonymous said...

would this work with a rice cooker?

Will Oliver said...

Do you think this would work out ok in a rice cooker?

Oliver G said...

I need to have that blue serving bowl. Where can I buy it? Cheers Oliver

Oliver G said...

I need to have that blue serving bowl. Where can I buy it? Cheers Oliver

James Wilson said...

John,
I have been enjoying your videos and have tried a few for myself, yummy. My "Food Wish" would be to see some tasty recipes that are sugar and mostly carb free. For example have you experimented substituting almond or coconut flour for wheat flour? Cauliflower rice, I've done it a few times but I need some help to make it awesome. I just can't eat all the sugars and carbs, as much as I want to, because they are literally killing me.

So if you are feeling creative I would love to see some low to no carb creations worthy of your kitchen.

Best Regards,

James Wilson
Calgary, Alberta Canada

SK said...

Chef John, hi! First of all, thanks for your delightful and instructional food videos. I love me some Food Network, but sometimes you need someone who's just down to earth and is there to take away the "fancy food fear."

Secondly, last night, I made your red Thai curry flank steak and paired it with this coconut rice (I used jasmine & standard basil). Both were amazing, but I have rice left. Do you have suggestions for how I could use the leftover to make a mash-up of your coconut rice pudding and your classic rice pudding? Would it work if I just used the coconut rice as though it were leftover Chinese rice + the classic method? Curious to hear your thoughts!

Again, thank you so much for what you do. I consider myself an "intermediate" home cook and wish I'd found your videos when first starting out, but even so, you give me inspiration to try new things. I always beat myself up when something doesn't come out perfect, but your "be happy but never satisfied" attitude helps ease my perfectionist soul. Thanks so much! Xoxo, Shannon

Gnominator said...

Great minds think alike, Chef John! When I saw your post this morning, I got excited because I had come up with coconut curry risotto (and coconut curry rice) with curry lime chicken recipes about 3 years ago. I figured if I compared them and I was even close to what you came up with, that meant I nailed it! :-) Mine uses 1 1/4 c water instead of a cup, but other than that, the recipe is pretty identical (well, except for the curry instead of ginger, turmeric, red chili, and bay leaf). My next plan for it is to see if I can convert the rice and risotto recipes for the electric pressure cooker. (If you want to see a photo of the risotto version with the chicken, it's at this link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10204746113755220&set=pb.1308491692.-2207520000.1494178458.&type=3&theater)

Mary Sanders said...

Sounds fantastic! can't wait to try it!!!

Will Oliver said...

Do you think that this would work in a rice cooker?

Will Oliver said...

Do you think this would work in a rice cooker?

Unknown said...

I'd really like to make this with black rice, unless that is forbidden (it's a pun). Recommended cooking time is 15 min in pressure cooker or 45 minutes on stove.

donna mikasa said...

I love your savory coconut rice! And "yes" to a recipe for Hoisin Beef!

abc said...

Should the bay leaf get removed, or does it get crumpled into the rice when forking?

Dorian DemiGlace said...

I just had a look at your crouton video from waaaaaaay back. I think you should sing more. it made the croutons taste a whole lot better.

Thanks Chef John

Josiah Biller said...

could one, perhaps, cool the rice, and fry it in some coconut oil and soy sauce to create coconut fried rice?

karen koszuta said...

Making this tonight. It sure sounds wonderful!

Ijeoma Okere said...

I wonder if I can make this with brown jasmine rice since that's all I have on hand?

Greg said...

Very quiet here in the peanut gallery. I guess everyone is waiting for the "hoisin beef" to compliment this rice dish. I can hardly wait. :)

Tyler Sumners said...

Hi chef, you stress the use of quality ingredients in cooking often. For a young cook in his 20s what ingredients can I go cheap on, and what should I never go cheap on?

Jeremy Hamlett said...

Could we use coconut water here instead of just plain water? Would that work?

John Aston said...

Hi there,
I am trying your coconut rice recipe but am doubling it. Do I need to change the cooking time?
Thank you,
John Aston

Jm Cornwell said...

Have you considered a sweeter version for breakfast? As a child we lived in Panama and sweet rice was often the breakfast of choice. A sweeter version of your coconut rice would be an excellent breakfast choice. No preservatives, no adulterations, no additives other than what you put in dish.

Chef John said...

Having never used a rice cooker, I'm not sure, but don't see why not!

Chef John said...

Chris K,
If it makes you feel any better, I just heard from a couple yesterday who said I've been on top of my game. Who knows? It's all subjective. Although I will remind you that the videos are free, so you don't have a lot of leverage.

Edward said...

Yes, this works in a rice cooker, but it isn't as fluffy; it's a bit wet and sticky. You never rinse Jasmine rice because it removes the aromatics of the Jasmine. Coconut cream is much thicker than coconut milk and will probably cause everything to burn. Coconut water will not have as much flavor as coconut milk and coconut water will make the rice much wetter due to not having the solids in the coconut milk. Chef John is trying to teach you how to cook; follow the recipe exactly as he shows you before trying to change it. Thanks Chef John for another great recipe!

Ted said...

I've no made this twice and strongly recommend using light coconut milk rather than regular. The reduced saturated fat content of light coconut milk aside, we found the result to be just as flavorful and the rice to be less clumpy and cloyingly fat-saturated. Our second attempt was also up-sized: 2 cups of rice (Texmati), 1-3/4 cups of water, 1 14 oz. can of light coconut milk, everything else the same.

Mike Bauer said...

Another great dish, Chef John!

Had this tonight as a side to a lemony marinaded grilled skewer chicken. Added some lime zest/juice when fluffing the rice; the combo of lemon and lime made for an island vibe, great for a nice nearly-summer day.

Thanks again for your postings, they're very much appreciated! I recommend your site to all and sundry.

Nga-My Nguyen said...

Chef John, would roast beef marinade with garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper goes with this rice dish?

Nga-My Nguyen said...

Would roast beef marinades with rosemary and garlic goes with this rice dish?