How to cook coconut rice

Enjoy fresh, fragrant coconut rice with your next meal! Learn how easy it is to make coconut rice with either long-grain or medium-grain rice to enjoy with Asian dishes including curries, seafood, and chicken recipes.

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How to make Coconut Rice

Coconut rice is a classic accompaniment to many savoury Indian and Southeast Asian meals, including curries, seafood and meat dishes. A well-made bowl of coconut rice will be light and fluffy - not heavy or mushy - with the delightful fragrance and taste of coconut.
Fresh coconut rice is so easy and delicious, make it at home with the recipe below!
What is coconut rice made of?
Traditional coconut only requires three ingredients: rice, coconut milk and water. Sometimes other ingredients are added before or after cooking for extra flavour, see below for ideas to add to your coconut rice.
Coconut rice recipe
  • 1 1/4 cups basmati rice
  • 270g can coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  1. Rinse rice until water runs clear. Place rice, coconut milk and 1 cup water into a saucepan over high heat.
  2. Bring mixture to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until craters form in the rice.
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and stand for 5 minutes.
Try serving your coconut rice with these meatballs! Click here to see the recipe for Korma Meatballs in Lettuce Cups or see more recipe ideas below.
What rice is best for making coconut rice?
Long grain rice such as basmati and jasmine fluff up beautifully and work best for coconut rice. Medium grain rice works too if you prefer a stickier texture, learn how to make coconut rice with medium grain rice here.
However, short grain rice such as risotto and paella rice aren’t a good choice for coconut rice, they’re too starchy and will become overly heavy when cooked in the fatty coconut milk.
What else can I add to coconut rice?
Coconut rice can be cooked with kaffir lime leaves or pandan for extra fragrance. You can find these aromatic ingredients from your local Asian grocer. Pandan leaves have a unique, sweet scent and it is known as “Asian vanilla”. Kaffir lime leaves give an intense citrus fragrance. Crush both to release their fragrance before adding to the cooking liquid.
Toasted coconut or crushed roasted peanuts added as garnish give toasty flavours and a little crunch.
In the Korma Chicken Meatballs in Lettuce Cups, capsicum, lime juice and zest and coriander are added for extra flavour and colour.
For a fruity twist, try adding pineapple, sliced green chilli and spring onion at the end.
Can you make coconut rice with just coconut milk?
No, as there won’t be enough water content to properly cook your rice, and the texture will become oily from too much coconut fat.
What do you eat with coconut rice?
Check out the recipes below for ideas to eat with coconut rice!
Play Video: Chicken Satay Skewers with Gado Gado
If you want to add extra bulk to your gado gado salad, coconut rice would be a delicious choice that goes perfectly with the satay chicken.
Play Video: One-Pan Butter Chicken with Cauliflower
Add some coconutty flavours to your meal by serving this easy butter chicken with fresh coconut rice, so yum.
Play Video: Korma Marinated Lamb Shoulder with Spinach Lentils
This beautiful slow cooked lamb is a great dinner party dish, take your meal to the next level by making coconut rice to go with it.
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