Vegan, gluten-free. Time — about 30 minutes, but you can cook while you’re doing the main entree. Difficulty: easy!
As promised, here is the recipe for the easy coconut rice I made to go with my sweet potato supper. If you’re looking for a way to really make a meal sparkle, it pays to add some flavorings, even if it’s only salt, to what you are making, whether it be rice or vegetables. It need not take long. Good cooks have been simmering their rice in chicken broth for eons, but coconut milk is also a choice you should consider for Asian-style meals. Though high in saturated fat, it has no cholesterol (only animals make cholesterol in their cell membranes — it helps keep them fluid). It can add fat that helps your body absorb the nutrients from vegetables and whole grains better. And the flavor is just divine.
For you beginning home cooks, the important thing here is to WATCH THAT RICE. This method relies on the old-school absorb-all-the-liquid method of cooking rice, which is easy to screw up if you’re not paying attention. Untended rice will develop a carbonized crust best left to scientists trying to date the remains of your rice in their landfill-archaeological excavation 3000 years from now. So set a timer. Stir occasionally. This is an important cooking principle in general: pay attention. If you get distracted, bad cooking is usually the result.
This recipe from Cooking Light presumably cuts down on the fat to the extent possible without sacrificing taste.
2 1/4 c. plus 2 T. water
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. uncooked basmati rice
To prepare rice, bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in rice, and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
From Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2006, p. 68
If you’ve never had rice flavored with coconut milk before, you should give it a try. The annoying thing about coconut milk is that you can almost never use a whole can at once, and as for making the coconut milk yourself . . . yup, you guessed it: “Like hell I’m doing that!” In the next post, I’ll address what to do with the remainder. Can you freeze coconut milk?