Normally on a weeknight I cannot be bothered to prepare a main course and a recipe-derived side dish. If there is any side at all on offer it will be plain steamed rice that basically cooks itself in the rice steamer or a salad consisting of no more than three vegetables with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top.
If I do run across a side that I’m dying to try then the main course will be a simple pan-fried steak or broiled fish type situation. Basically what I’m saying is ain’t nobody got time to follow more than one recipe a night. Unless that recipe is so stupidly simple that you really don’t feel like your putting in any effort at all, and with that less than laudable introduction I give you: coconut cilantro rice.
When my friend Nadja told me her dreamy stories of eating coconut rice while growing up in Jamaica, it’s basically all I thought about for weeks, never really attempting to make it, because it seemed like something no one 1000 miles from the nearest coconut tree should attempt. But then, upon further investigation, I realized that I had the ingredients right in my pantry this whole time!
It is basically no more difficult then steaming rice in water. All you do is substitute some of the water for coconut milk and steam away as usual. I added a little salt and stirred some fresh cilantro in at the end to give it some brightness and color. Then because I can’t stop myself from making even the simplest things more complicated, I toasted some sliced almonds and threw those on top; it’s optional.
Oh lord, I’ve died and gone to Jamaica. This rice is so fluffy and delicious and most importantly, easy! It’s good with grilled pork chops, roasted chicken thighs, or really just about anything. You could make it tonight.
Serving bowl by Olen Hsu
- 2 1/2 cups long grain rice (preferably Jasmine rice)
- 1 (13 1/2-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup toasted, sliced almonds
- Pour rice into a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until the water is no longer cloudy.
- Transfer rice to a rice steamer or large saucepan. Add coconut milk, water, and salt and stir to combine. If you're using a rice steamer, cook according to the manufacturer's instructions (i.e. cover with the lid and turn it on).
- If you're using the saucepan bring liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, undisturbed, until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork and stir in cilantro. Transfer to a serving dish, top with toasted almonds, and serve.