Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guest Post: Coconut Rice

You may have noticed that I'm not posting recipes as frequently these days. With both final exams and GREs descending on me in less than 2 weeks, I've simply had to shelf my planned posts until winter recess (with one exception this weekend ^-^). Luckily my dear friend Sala of Veggie Belly has kindly stepped in with an absolutely delicious and doable recipe for her fragrant coconut rice! You may recall that I shared a chocolate chestnut cake roll on her blog back in June. We lived not too far from each other then and I've really missed her company since she moved to the West Coast. While I've never tasted this specific dish of hers, I've sampled enough of her cooking to have confidence that all her recipes are dynamite! Please give your warmest welcome to the exceedingly sweet and talented Sala!

What I enjoy the most about blogging is the fact that I’ve met some amazing, like-minded people through blogging. And that’s how I met Xiaolu; through my blog. After weeks of emailing back and forth, we met up for a meal. It was the start of a great friendship, and exchange of ideas. I’ve come to admire Xiaolu for her passion for baking and blogging, and her meticulous food styling. I’m delighted to guest post today and share with you a simple, flavorful, childhood recipe.

Coconut rice was a staple school lunch. I’d take it to school in a little tiffin box, and it always tasted great, hot or cold. Now, coconut rice has become a standard weeknight meal for me. It’s easy to put together and served with a steamed or curried vegetable like my cauliflower broccoli poriyal or some spinach dal and some yogurt, makes a complete meal.

Good quality, fresh coconut is essential for this recipe. You can find fresh-frozen grated or shredded coconut at Indian and Asian stores. Just break off a chunk and let it thaw on your counter top.

If you like some fruity sweetness in your coconut rice, throw in 2 tablespoons of raisins or dried cranberries or dried apricots.

Coconut Rice [Printable Recipe]
Serves about 2

1/2 tsp PLUS 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp cashewnuts pieces
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
1 Tbsp chana dal
1/8 tsp asafoetida [hing]
1 dry red chili
4 curry leaves
1 cup fresh shredded coconut, available frozen in Indian and Asian stores
2 cups cooked long grain rice

Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a wok. Add the cashewnuts pieces and sauté them on low heat till they are golden. Removed the roasted cashewnuts and set aside.

In the same wok, heat 1 tablespoon oil. When the oil is hot, add the black mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the chana dal. Sauté on low heat till the chana dal is golden, about 2 minutes. Then add asafetida, red chili and curry leaves. Stir till the red chili darkens a bit, about 1 minute.

Add the shredded coconut. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring often till the coconut starts to turn color and gets a little dry.

Now add the cooked rice and salt and toss well.

Serve hot, garnishes with the roasted cashews.


  1. thanks for having me guest post! im loving seeing my food on your blog :)

  2. Wow, that looks and sounds amazing and I've never had anything like it! Stunning photos,too!!!

  3. Wow, pictures are amazing, and recipe is very interesting.

  4. What gorgeous photos, they are really earthy which suits this delicious-looking dish!

  5. I love coconut rice!! Sala is so right about using the freshest coconut one can find!

  6. I might have to just throw some chickpeas in this and call it a meal! Looks delicious!

    Good luck with everything, Xiaolu!

  7. If there's anything better than spiced rice, it's got to be spiced rice with cashews (one of my favorite nuts, too.) this sounds fantastic, and the photos are lovely.

  8. Sounds wonderful Sala! All your recipes are dynamite as Xiaolu put it:) and marvelous photographs too. Is that your hand with pretty bracelets? the pink and gold looks so lovely.

  9. Soma, yes thats my hand. It was very dreary, rainy day in Portland when I shot these pics. So I decided to add some fun to the shoot with the bangles :) They are from Madurai :)

  10. Oooh good luck with exams!! Beautiful recipe here, Sala. The rice looks so delightfully fluffy :)
    Heidi xo

  11. wow lovely pictures!first time here.

  12. Sounds wonderful, especially with all the spices and cashew nuts! ! Lovely photos too! Lots of luck to you Xiaolu :-)

  13. A beautiful post and recipe! I Veggy Belly.

    Good luck with the exams.



  14. Wah... beautiful guest post! Abundant coconuts in the rice - this is so rice heaven! Thank you for introducing the new blogger Xiaolu!

  15. I'm glad u guys are enjoying Sala's post -- she's a real talent, isn't she =D?

  16. that sounds like a real nice side dish alternative for the future to try out. We only make coconut Pulav here and its quite different. I enjoyed your post Sala.

  17. Lovely guest post! Love the shots of the yummy rice :) Good luck for ur exams Xiaolu!

  18. Beautiful post and wonderful clicks...
    first time here...superb blog..fabulous recipes with great pictures.

  19. This looks great. I don't have these ingredients readily available in my pantry....I think a trip to the Indian grocer is in my near future! And thanks for the gorgeous photos.

  20. If Curry is a blend of spices, what in the world are curry leaves? Trying to make the beautiful coconut rice but cannot find curry leavees locally in Kansas City, Mo.

    1. Sorry for the delayed response! Curry leaves are a specific edible leaf and really have nothing to do with the definitions of curry you referenced. I think it's just called that because it's used in a lot of Indian dishes, including curries. You're most likely to find them locally at Asian or Indian grocers, but you can now buy them online as well. You can freeze any you don't use right away and they'll last a loooooong time. Hope that helps!


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu