I was recently challenged to put together a coconut rice recipe, however the recipe must be foolproof. According to the person who emailed me, they have a difficult time cooking rice as it usually ends up a messy mush in the pot or under-cooked. They were looking for perfectly cooked coconut rice, grainy in texture and rich in Caribbean coconut flavors. Being a rice dish I thought it would be a good time to also have it appeal to vegetarians and friends on a gluten free diet at the same time.
In order to make this as fool-proof as possible I employed the use of my rice cooker .. let’s get cooking!
3 cups (rice cooker size) brown rice (long grain parboiled)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cherries (or any dried fruit you like)
1 bird’s eye pepper (bird pepper)
1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to your liking)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup unsweetend coconut shreds
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon parsley
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
*water (According to your rice cooker instructions)
*Note: dried cranberries, mango and/or pineapple will work great as well. Be sure to go through the entire ingredient list if doing this coconut rice gluten free to ensure it meets with your specific gluten free dietary needs.
In a dry (non-stick works best) pan on a low heat gently toast the coconut shred/flakes and cashews for about 3-5 minutes and set aside.
Chop the scallion, parsley and thyme, then wash the rice. There’s usually a lot of grit in rice, so it’s important that you always wash it first or when cooked it can be gritty. To wash rice you have two options. Option 1 – place the rice in a deep bowl, cover with water and use you hands to massage the rice. As you do so you will notice the water will go cloudy. Pour out that water and repeat the steps until the water is no longer cloudy. Option 2- Place the rice in a strainer (fine mesh) and run cool water over it while using your hands to massage the grains. The water will go from cloudy to clear in a quick time.
Important Note: I noticed that my rice cooker’s cup is a bit smaller in size than an actual measuring cup, so I used the rice cooker’s measuring cup.
It’s now time to put everything into the rice cooker and allow it to do it’s thing. First went in the washed rice, then the scallion, thyme, black pepper, parsley and salt. Give it a good mix, then go in with the dried fruit, toasted coconut and cashews. Top with the bird’s eye pepper and it’s important that you leave it whole so you get the flavors and not the raw heat. Break if you want the heat.
Now go in with the coconut milk and it’s time to top with water according to your rice cooker’s instructions. There were 3 cups of rice and I treated the dried fruit as a cup of rice as well. So looking at the mark on my rice cooker for brown rice, I added enough water as if cooking 4 cups of rice. It’s now time for the rice cooker to give us perfectly cooked coconut rice. I must mention that 10 minutes into cooking I did give it a stir to make sure all the heavy stuff didn’t gather at the bottom of the cooker.
As you go through this recipe you’re saying to yourself..wow this is indeed a fool proof way of making coconut rice Chris doh lie! Such a delicious one pot dish, that’s vegetarian and gluten free as I mentioned above. Screaming with Caribbean flavors!
Tip: After my rice cooker stopped cooking and went to the ‘keep warm’ setting I gave it five minutes then I unplugged it. I find that with the natural sugars from the rice and dried fruit (plus the coconut), it will have the tendency to start caramelizing the longer its on a heat setting. Be sure to use a fork to work the rice a bit so it goes a but fluffy in the rice cooker (when done cooking).