Coconut Rice

While coconut rice is more of a special occasion starch in Myanmar, it’s a staple at Burma Superstar.  The sweet, aromatic rice is a reliable partner for Coconut Chicken Curry and Pumpkin Pork Stew but it can be easily dressed up for dessert with slices of mango and a drizzle of condensed milk.  It is also easy to make at home in a rice cooker or in a pot.  If sweetened rice isn’t your thing, leave out the sugar and reduce the salt to a pinch.  If you want to go all out, serve with Fried Onions on top.  For the most aromatic rice, opt for virgin coconut oil over refined coconut oil.

YIELD:  6 servings

2 cups jasmine rice

1 1/3 cups coconut milk, well stirred if separated 

1 1/3 cups water, minus 2 tablespoons if using a rice cooker

2 ¼ tablespoons white sugar or chopped palm sugar (optional)

¾ teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

Wash the rice well in fresh changes of water, draining through a fine-mesh strainer after each wash, until the water runs nearly clear, 3 to 4 washes.  After the final wash, let the rice drain in the strainer for at least 15 minutes to allow the excess water to drip off.  (The rice will dry faster if you place the strainer over a pot and turn the heat on for a minute.)

While the rice drains, combine the coconut milk and water in a 1-quart liquid measuring cup, using the corresponding amount of liquid for the chosen cooking method.

Stovetop Method:  Empty the strainer of rice into a pot.  Briefly mix in the sugar, salt, and coconut oil, taking care not to break up the kernels.  Pour in the coconut milk and water.  Cover the pot and bring to a boil.  When the lid starts to rattle, remove the lid and give the rice a stir.  Cover the pot and decrease the heat to the lowest setting.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let sit for 15 minutes.  This allows the rice to continue to absorb the liquid.  Fluff with a fork before serving.

Rice Cooker Method:  Put the rice in the rice cooker.  Briefly mix in the sugar, salt, and coconut oil , taking care not to break up the kernels.  Pour in the coconut milk and water.  Cook on the white rice setting.  When the rice is finished, let it continue to steam in the cooker, ideally for 20 minutes, to allow the kernels to absorb all of the liquid.  Fluff with a fork before serving.

Ryan Hughes