A light and creamy coconut rice is an easy and flavorful accompaniment to a grilled seafood dinner. Here, rice cooks in a base of coconut milk, water, and salt until tender and fluffy. The recipe is mostly hands-off, so if you’re serving this as a side, you have plenty of time to focus on your main entree.
This coconut lime rice has a subtly sweet and nutty flavor from the coconut, well-balanced by the acidity of lime juice. I mix it with a healthy helping of fresh cilantro for added brightness. What I love about this rice is that it’s almost as fast as cooking plain white rice, but it stands on its own as a side dish with all of these additional flavor elements.
Jasmine Rice Provides the Perfect Balance of Textures
In testing, I found that basmati rice yielded a slightly drier texture than I preferred. Shorter grain rice varieties, such as sushi rice, can become too sticky. On the other hand, jasmine rice provides the perfect balance of textures with a slightly firm yet moist bite.
The Best Coconut Milk for Coconut Lime Rice
I recommend using full-fat coconut milk for the best results. Compared to light, full-fat coconut milk yields a more robust flavor. Aroy-D and Trader Joe’s coconut milks are my favorite brands.
Sometimes coconut milk will separate in the can, so I always stir the mixture before adding it to the rice. Don’t worry if you have a few small clumps, as they will melt into the rice as it cooks.
Tips to Ensure Evenly Cooked Rice
I’m sure we’ve all had those times when we attempt to cook rice, only to discover a sticky, gummy mess or hard, crunchy grains. Here are a few tips to ensure a perfectly cooked batch of rice!
- Don’t skip the rinsing step! Before cooking, a thorough rinse helps remove any excess starches, preventing a gummy result. In addition, this step ensures fluffy, tender rice. When in doubt, err on the side of over-rinsing!
- Stir the rice before it simmers. Bring the rice and liquid ingredients to a boil, then give a generous stir and scrape up any grains from the bottom to prevent sticking later on.
- Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. A lower heat gently simmers the rice to ensure even cooking.
How to Serve Coconut Lime Rice
The best part of this rice is that it tastes great hot or at room temperature. In fact, I often prefer to serve the dish at room temperature in the heat of the summer.
Serve the rice with plenty of lime wedges alongside grilled shrimp or fish—or even roast chicken! Because the flavor of the coconut milk is subtle, I like to serve the dish as a separate element on the plate. For example, a scoop of punchy, spicy curry can sometimes drown out the flavor of the rice.
Here are some of our favorite accompaniments to this rice:
- Smoky Paprika Shrimp Skewers
- Easy Grilled Gochujang Chicken Thighs
- Tandoori Chicken
- Grilled Shrimp with Konkani-Inspired Masala
Rinse the rice:
Pour rice into a fine-mesh sieve and thoroughly rinse it in the sink, moving your hands through the rice until the water appears mostly clear, about 1 minute. (It will never appear 100% clear, just do the best you can!)
Stir the coconut milk:
In a large measuring cup, add coconut milk and water and stir to break up any large clumps of coconut fat (a few small clumps are okay).
Bring the rice to a boil:
In a medium-sized 3-quart pot, add the coconut-water mixture, rice, and salt. Set the pot on medium-high heat and bring it to a rolling boil.
Simmer the rice:
Stir the rice with a wooden spoon, scraping any rice grains at the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat to low, then simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
Finish the rice:
Turn the heat off and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Use a fork to fluff the rice and stir in cilantro and lime juice to taste.
Enjoy hot or let cool to room temperature before serving with lime wedges on the side.
Storage and reheating:
Store coconut rice in the fridge for up to 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container. To reheat, place rice in a microwave-safe bowl and break up any large chunks with a fork. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of water, then cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes to 2 minutes until warmed through.
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