Is it just me or do Thai restaurants add a serious crapload of sugar to their coconut rice? Don’t get me wrong, it tastes good, but I remember last time we went to our local Thai place, I was already considering going sugar-free and it really brought a new perspective to my coconut rice. “Am I eating a side dish for my stir-fry, or a dessert?”, I wondered. Now, I can’t confirm that restaurants actually add sugar to their coconut rice, but I think it’s likely and I also think that in any case it’s better to make my own because it’s much cheaper and healthier, and I can use my bulk-bought ingredients to make it. So today I thought I’d share with you a very quick and easy way to make homemade coconut rice that I came up with and have been making a lot lately.
Apart from the absence of sugar, my version is also a bit different from the standard because it uses brown rice instead of white. I used to buy both brown rice and white rice and eat a bit of both, but I decided to switch exclusively to brown rice last year because of the higher fibre content. At first I really missed the white rice, but honest to goodness, I now don’t enjoy white rice when I occasionally eat it when we’re out. Strange but true! I love the texture, lovely nutty flavour and unique smell of brown rice.
I have also included one of my favourite flavourings in this recipe, which I think really takes it to the next level: kaffir lime leaves. I get them from my Mum’s kaffir lime bush on her farm, finely chop them, freeze them in a small jar, then use as needed. I’m not sure how easy to access these leaves are in other places around the country and around the world, but here in Brisbane I’ve only ever seen them packaged in plastic at the supermarket and it’s about $3 for four of them. A serious rip and what a shame about the plastic. I’m very lucky to be able to get them for free and unpackaged. If we had a garden, I would definitely be growing my own bush! I think you could probably substitute some very finely chopped fresh lemongrass or finely grated lime zest to get the same zing factor.
SUGAR-FREE COCONUT RICE
- Freshly-cooked medium-grain brown rice (still warm on the stove)
- Desiccated coconut
- Ground turmeric
- Very finely chopped fresh kaffir lime leaves (could possibly substitute finely grated lime zest or very finely chopped fresh lemongrass, but I haven’t tried that yet)
- Sea salt (optional)
Stir through a small amount of desiccated coconut through the warm rice, then add a pinch of ground turmeric and kaffir lime, and a tiny bit of salt, all to taste. That’s all there is to it!
I usually cook 2/3 cup dry rice at a time, simply because my husband doesn’t eat rice and I only eat a little bit at a time. To the cooked rice that 2/3 cup makes, I add about 2 teaspoons coconut, about 1/4 tsp turmeric, a pinch of kaffir lime and a very tiny, sparing pinch of sea salt.