So, I live in Lagos and to be honest with you I have ordered coconut rice here a number of times, only to be highly disappointed. It seems somewhere along the way the lines between coconut rice and jelloff rice were erased. Take this as an example. I’m hosting an event for my day job and there were two options of rice on the menu; jelloff and coconut. So, since you hardly find coconut rice on any menu, I opted for that. When I got the plate I sent it back. Not for anything but on sight, it looked like jelloff rice to me. If not for the insistence of the server I would have just gone to hunt for the rice at the food stand myself. Now when I tasted it, I could barely taste the coconut flavour. Disappointed, and now craving real coconut rice, I decided to make my own over the weekend. To put my own twist on one of my favourite dishes, I made this with Basmati rice instead of your regular long-grain and smoked chicken for added flavour. Also, I didn’t want to spend my entire Sunday standing at the stove, so I made this in 1.5 hours including prep time. Gotta love innovation! I do, however, promise to do a repeat and add in all the bells and whistles (just like my mama used to).
The result! Dis rice too dey fine sha (translation: this rice looks almost too yum to eat!)
Like I said before, this dish is really simple to make.
Now a quick and easy way to get the coconut milk is to blend the flesh with a little water. When I first thought about using fresh coconuts I thought of how my mum used to grate the flesh, then soak it in water, and then squeeze out the milk before she started cooking. Such an arduous task! Now I realise why eating coconut rice back then was such a treat. It took to long to prep. Why didn’t folks think using a blender before?!
Now the coconut milk is the base for this dish.
Did I mention “quick” was the keyword here? I threw all the ingredients into the saucepan and was ready to roll.
Dried crayfish has a unique flavour and is used in a number of Nigerian recipes, especially soups and especially among the southern tribes of the country. Smoked turkey (in my opinion) adds a complementary flavour to the rice (and it reduced cooking time)
Basmati rice cooks quite quickly, so no need to par-boil the rice unless you are using a long grain rice. Either way, just pour it in.
The rice will cook in the coconut milk and start to absorb all the wonderful flavours of the ingredients in the pan.
Once the rice is cooked (test that it’s soft but not mushy) it’s about ready to serve and eat!
So after an hour and half labouring in the kitchen. Oga and I sat down to chop (inhale [literally]) the rice like no mans business. Needless to say – our béllés don full, well, well.
Coconut Rice Recipe
1 Fresh coconut or 1 can of coconut milk
4 cups of Rice
500g/1 whole Chicken (you can add or substitute fish, beef or goat meat)
1 Medium onion
1 cup Crayfish
2-3 Scotch bonnet peppers
4 Medium carrots
2 Medium tomatoes (to garnish)
2 seasoning cubes
Salt to taste
2 cups of hot water (for the rice if needed)
Crack open the coconut, scoop our the flesh with a spoon and place this in a blender with 1/2 cup of water. Blend and then pass through a sieve to separate the milk from the flesh.
If you are adding beef or chick to this recipe, place your meat product in pan with a diced onion, salt, fresh basil leaves, and 1-diced scotch bonnet pepper. Add water and allow to simmer until cooked. I used smoked chicken which was ready to be added in right away.
- Parboil the rice for about 8-10mins, remove from the heat, rinse and set aside
- Put the coconut milk in a clean saucepan and add ½ cup of water
- Add chopped chilli peppers, onions, and carrotts
- Add the seasoning cubes, salt, crayfish
- Slowly bring the coconut milk mixture to boil for approximately 10 minutes
- Option – add in the smoked chicken two cups of stock
- Slowly mix the ingredients in the saucepan
- Add in the basmati rice and cook for 10-15 minutes until the coconut milk starts to dry down
- Reduce the heat and test the rice to see that it is cooked. If not, add another ½ cup of water/stock until the rice is ready
- Remove from the heat and serve immediately!