Coconut milk rice is a simple one pot traditional rice recipe made by cooking rice in coconut milk along with spices. The aroma of this coconut milk rice is simply exceptional & outstanding. It is usually eaten with some curry or a raita. Coconut milk rice is quite popular in coastal regions of South India & is made in many ways.
Coconut milk rice can also be eaten without any accompaniment & it tastes good on its own. Just use enough green chilies to spice it up.
This recipe requires no unusual ingredients and can be made with just some pantry staples.
Tips to make coconut milk rice
Coconut milk: This recipe can be made with canned or fresh coconut milk. We usually make this with fresh homemade coconut milk which includes the thin and the thick milk. Thin milk is the second extract and thick milk is the first extract.
If using the canned coconut milk that is too creamy then dilute it with equal amount of water and use.
Rice: Any non sticky variety of rice works well. We usually use the short grain rice or the aged basmati rice. Any kind of fragrant rice too works wonderfully well. Just ensure you rinse the rice well to avoid turning it to a sticky texture.
Spices: We use whole spices to infuse the aromatic flavors to the coconut milk rice. This makes a lot of difference to the rice but you may skip them if you do not have. I use bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, cumin & star anise. You can use whatever you have in hand.
Mix veggies are optional in the recipe and can be skipped. You may just add a single veggie too like peas. Traditionally we use soaked chana dal but sometimes I use mixed veggies like carrots, peas, beans and corn.
This way I ensure that we do not miss our daily quota of vegetables.
Nuts: I have used cashew nuts here for garnishing which you can skip completely or even include some raisins if you desire.
To make this coconut milk rice fragrant with subtle aroma of coconut you can also garnish with some toasted coconut.
Coconut milk rice recipe
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
- 2 cups rice (any fragrant rice)
- 1½ cup coconut milk or (1 cup coconut chopped or grated + 1 ½ cup water)
- 2 cups Water (adjust as needed, you can use 1/4 cup more)
- 2 tsp ginger grated or crushed or paste or ginger garlic paste
- 1 to 2 green chili slit
- 1 medium carrots chopped (optional)
- 1 cup green peas frozen or fresh (optional)
- 6 beans chopped (optional)
- 2 tbsp oil , Ghee or butter
- Salt as needed
Spices for coconut milk rice
- 1 bay leaf or tej patta
- 4 cardamoms or green cardamoms
- 6 cloves or laung
- 2 inch cinnamon piece or dalchini
- 1 tsp cumin or jeera
optional for garnish
- 10 cashews
- 4 tbsp Grated coconut or coconut flakes
How to make the recipe
Preparation for coconut milk rice
- Wash and soak rice for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
- Drain and set aside.
- optional – Skip this step if you are using store bought coconut milk. Blend chopped coconut pieces with 1½ cup water. Filter to extract the milk and use 1½ coconut milk in the recipe.
Making coconut milk rice
- Add ghee or butter to a cooker or pot. Fry cashews until golden. You can set aside if you like crunchy cashews.
- To the same pan, add spices and fry till they turn fragrant. Add ginger paste and fry until it smells fragrant.
- Add slit green chili, chopped vegetables and fry for 2 to 3 mins.
- Pour the coconut milk along with the water and add salt. Taste and check the salt.
- When the coconut milk begins to boil, add rice and mix well.
- Cover and cook until fully done on a medium flame.
- Little water can be sprinkled if rice is still not cooked well. If cooking in a pressure cooker, allow to whistle once.
- Allow the coconut milk rice to rest for 15 mins then fluff it up with a fork.
- Toast the coconut until golden and garnish it over the rice. You can also garnish with cashews.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
If you are new to cooking, follow my detailed step by step photo instructions for best results.
1. Wash and soak rice till your coconut milk gets ready.
2. Grind chopped coconut pieces or grated coconut with 1.5 cups water. Filter and extract the milk. Use 1 1/2 cup coconut milk. Set this aside. Alternately you can use store bought milk.
3. Heat ghee in a pan, fry cashews, add little coconut fry until fragrant. Set aside. sauté all the spices and green chilli for a min.
4. Add ginger paste.
5. Fry until it begins to smell good.
6. Add veggies if using, and fry for a min or two.
7. Pour the coconut milk and water. Add salt as well. Taste the milk and add more salt if needed. The milk has to be slightly salty.
How to make coconut milk rice
8. While the milk comes to a boil, drain the rice to a colander. When the milk begins to boil rapidly, add the rice. Mix well.
9. Cook till the rice is done fully.
10. You can cover and cook. If rice is under cooked, you can sprinkle little water and cook further. If cooking in a pressure cooker, allow the cooker to whistle once. Next if using normal rice 2 whistles.
11. When the pressure goes off, open the lid and fluff up the rice.
12. Once the rice is done, garnish with fried cashews and fried coconut. coconut milk rice is ready to serve.