Coconut rice is served alongside savory dishes across Latin America. Depending on the region, there will be slight variations in the cooking process but overall, it’s a simple to make side dish. This is not to be confused with another popular Latin American dessert also known as, arroz con coco or arroz con leche, which has raisins and other spices.
1 cup Jasmine rice *(Read note below)
3/4 cup canned coconut milk ( you will use 3/4 of a cup of the milk in the can plus the layer of cream that forms at the top)
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (if you can not find unsweetened, you can shred the meat off a fresh coconut or buy a bag of sweetened coconut flakes and rinse it to remove the sugar)
1/2 tsp. vegetable or coconut cooking oil
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/2 tsp. of sugar
– In a small pan, mix unsweetened coconut flakes and 1/2 tsp. of cooking oil. Stir over medium-low heat until most flakes are golden brown. Careful not to burn.
– Scoop out the top layer of cream that forms at the top of the can of coconut milk and add to coconut flakes. Stir and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
– Add 1/2 the can of coconut milk, water, salt and sugar. Stir and bring to a low simmer.
– Add rice. Stir and cover. Cook on medium low until water evaporates and rice is soft, about 15-20 minutes.
– After 20 minutes turn heat off. Let sit covered for 5-10 minutes.
– Fluff with fork and serve with beef, pork, or chicken dishes.
* Note: You can make this dish with any white rice available but the amount of liquid used to cook it will vary. Read the cooking instructions for the type of rice you are using and substitute half the amount of water the recipe calls for, for coconut milk. If it says to cook the rice with 2 cups of water, then to make this recipe use 1 cup of water and one cup of coconut milk instead.