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  • Josh

Easy Coconut Rice

I'm a big fan of coconut rice, though I often find that what I get from an Indian takeaway is too sweet for me. I do like a hint of sweetness, mind you, but I tone it down considerably when I make it at home.

This recipe is incredibly easy and is quick to make. It operates on the basic rule of cooking rice: you want about a 2:1 ratio of liquid to dry rice, by volume. Even better, since we're using a tin of coconut milk, you can get the measures perfect every time by using the tin as your measuring cup.

Put a saucepan on the hob, and pour in a tin of coconut milk. Fill that tin back up with water and throw it in the pot, too.

Put the heat up to medium-high, and bring it to the boil. Much like milk, coconut milk easily over-boils, so keep an eye on it lest you end up with an incredibly-hard-to-clean crust on the stove top.

Once it's boiling, throw in two teaspoons of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of pepper, and two bay leaves. For a bit of added unctuousness, melt in a tablespoon of butter (or coconut oil, to keep it vegan). Stir thoroughly.

Fill the can almost all the way back up with basmati rice. I like to leave a centimetre or so of space at the top, just to make sure that the rice doesn't end up too dry. Stir in the rice. Also throw in a good handful (I'd say about two tablespoons or so) of desiccated coconut.

Bring this up to the boil, turn the heat to low, give it one last stir, and put on the lid on it. Let it simmer between 15 and 20 minutes, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender. Take it off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes so the rest of the liquid can absorb. Give it a quick fluff with a fork and it's ready to go!

Coconut rice is a great accompaniment for curries, or perhaps even bobotie.




  • 400ml tin coconut milk

  • 400ml water

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon butter or coconut oil (optional)

  • 380ml (volume) basmati rice

  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut


  1. Put a medium saucepan on the hob. Pour in the coconut milk and water (fill the tin back up to measure the water and keep it to measure the rice in step 3), stir to combine. Turn heat to medium-high and bring to the boil. Watch carefully as it heats up and stir to prevent over-boiling.

  2. Add sugar, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and the butter/coconut oil if using. Stir to dissolve.

  3. Using the tin, measure out the rice. Fill it up to just shy of the top, leaving about a centimetre of space. Pour into the liquid, along with the desiccated coconut. Stir thoroughly.

  4. Bring to the boil. Stir one more time, turn the heat to low, and put the lid on the pot. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until almost all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

  5. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and serve.

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