Tuesday 21 February 2017

Coconut Rice

Copra na Chawal | Coconut Rice

Flaky coconut rice is the perfect combination with so many delicious recipes. Rogan josh, caldinbadami chicken. Curries that can be Indian or Thai, light or creamy, all pair well. This fragrant rice tastes perfect with chicken, fish, prawns, and meat. A delectable option for both vegetarians and vegans alike, it's simple to make; keep it sticky or flaky; the choice is yours. 

A cup of green peas can give it a fresh burst of colour and sweetness.

Flaky coconut rice prepared in coconut water and flash frozen fresh coconut

Serves 6

3 tbsp oil

3 tbsp grated coconut (fresh or frozen)

1 cinnamon stick
3 pods green cardamom

½ tsp turmeric

2 cups washed rice

1 ½ tsp salt

1 cup coconut water

2 cups coconut milk


In a pan, heat the oil and add the grated coconut, cinnamon, and turmeric. Sauté for a minute and add the rice, salt, and all the liquids. Boil until the top of the rice shows. Cover tightly, lower the heat, and cook for another 20 to 25 minutes until the rice is tender and flaky.


The oil is an option to keep the grains of rice individual and to allow the coconut and spices to toast. You may reduce or omit it.

If you like the rice light and not sticky, add 4 cups of coconut water instead of any other liquid. Adding the coconut milk makes it stickier, but the flavours are bolder.

A touch of coconut vinegar will add a touch of sparkle to the coconut rice. A tablespoon would be enough in the quantity and should be added just before you cover the pot and reduce the heat so the acidity of the vinegar does not hamper the cooking of the rice.

Starting off the rice with coconut oil is also a good idea. It will add to the "pungency" of the coconut flavour. My suggestion is a combination of coconut oil and coconut water to keep that fine balance.

Adding spices like 3 kaffir lime leaves, 6 curry leaves/patta, zest of 1 lime, 8 cloves, or 1 tsp of mustard seeds are all suggestions that complement this dish. Pick your favourites and match them to the curry or stew you plan on serving with this rice.

Some suggestions to serve up this rice with are: Machi no RusTarkari ni Curry, and Dahi ni Kudhee.

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

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