Tuesday, March 23, 2010

creamy coconut rice

we had a wonderful morning today. it was sunny and warm, so we went out right after breakfast. we planted 30 gladioli, we covered the driveway in abstract chalk and we played ball. the crust of dirt on zhara's hands when we walked inside was like the fur of a bear, only petrified. the bulbs require a good drench when they're planted and she took that to heart: dirt, water. dirt, water. let's wash your hands, babe. here's the pickaxe. i was going to stop her, but she saw it coming, and she did the bit that always reduces me to a puddle of touchy-feely goop. she says i love you, i say i love you, too;  then she says, i love you tutu. sure you can water the flowers, clean is overrated, and anyway you're too cute for boundaries.
we got inside in a fantastic mood. the risotto i had planned seemed lackluster - zhara likes a reduced number of dishes, as many toddlers do, and i'm dead bored with the stuff. i've never made this before, but it's in the circuit now, because she loved it so much she asked for it at dinner, too. i've seen a lot of coconut rice done with peas, but in our house they take the stage only as villains in a play where the villains never win. the villains are promptly booed off the stage in shame.

1/2 cup pearl rice, or basmati, or brown
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup frozen soybeans, or peas
1 inch piece ginger, quartered
2 lime leaves
1 ts orange zest
pinch nutmeg
salt, pepper
crushed peanuts, optional
heat a little olive oil and saute  the onion until translucent. add the rice and and cook a few minutes to toast it. pour in the milk and water, add the leaves and ginger root and bring to boil. cover and reduce to a simmer. after 10 minutes add the frozen peas. we used this mix from trader joe's that has corn, soy beans and red pepper. it's zhara's favourite. cover again and cook until the rice is cooked and the liquid mostly gone, about 8 minutes. remove and discard the leaves and the ginger. add the citrus zest and season to your liking. garnish with peanuts on amenable plates.

the coconut taste is mild, like a lazy afterthought, and the citrus punch brightens it up. i love how creamy it is, and i'm already thinking what a great dessert this will make in its sweet incarnation. but until dessert, next time i'll treat it with some shrimp for a delightful one pot meal.

serves two.


  1. Dana, yum! I love the coconut milk and rice combination - the orange zest is a new twist for me. Yes, it is funny we both posted a rice dish on the same day, but we do diverge on one point - in our house, the frozen peas are a hero, never the villain! We can buy beautiful frozen baby peas here...

  2. innovative recipe of rice!.. loved it.

  3. Doamne nu se vede pozele sau numai eu vad asa???:(((

  4. Leave out the peas and I'd eat it for breakfast. In a flash!

  5. celia, i told a half-truth there: my husband likes them and once in a blue moon i'll cook them for him, but zhara and i won't go near it. i'm happy she eats the soybeans.

    uma, thanks!

    anca, sper ca si-a revenit, ti-am spus ca mai multa lume a avut probleme...

    mark, thank you!

  6. This is so colorful and sounds so good. I like the idea of having shrimp with it!


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