Coconut rice, one of the most delicious dishes from Colombia. Therefore, a trip through this beautiful country is not complete without eating Colombian coconut rice at least once. Coconut rice is a dish eaten particularly on Colombia’s northern coast. If you’ve ever been there you may know it. And do you know how incredibly delicious this is, arroz con coco. It takes a while, but it’s worth it. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel all the way to South America for coconut rice; you can do it right in your own kitchen. The recipe can be found here. Have fun and enjoy a touch of Colombia at home!
The origin of coconut rice
Coconut rice is white rice cooked in coconut milk with coconut. Although this is a very popular side dish in the Caribbean part of Colombia, it is also made in many other countries, such as Puerto Rico. Besides South America, you can also find this dish in South and Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. All countries, by the way, put their own spin on it. For example, in Asia, ginger is often added.
How is coconut rice eaten in Colombia?
Coconut rice is actually not a dish in itself, but a side dish. Sometimes with raisins, sometimes not (I myself like with raisins best). Often eaten with fish and specifically with snappers. That’s the fish you see in the picture below. As I mentioned earlier mainly on the north coast of this South American country. So feel free to make something else with it. Fry a fish or make a salad. In Colombia, they also eat patacones with it, which is plantain mashed into a hard pancake. Since that is not eaten in many other countries: put your own spin on it.
The recipe: how to make typical Colombian coconut rice.
Want to do it Colombian style? Then you will be busy for a while. According to many Colombians, coconut rice is enormously difficult to make, but it’s not all that bad. It just takes some time. To save yourself a lot of trouble, you can also do it in an easier way. That’s why I give two options with this recipe: the easy way with ready-made coconut milk and the Colombian way where you use fresh coconuts. If you don’t feel like grating a whole coconut choose the easy way.
For 2 servings
Time: approximately 1.5 hours. Make your own coconut milk about 2 to 2.5 hours.
- 1 coconut
- 2 cups white rice or basmati rice
- Raisins, how much depends on your preference. You can also make it without raisins
- 1 or 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or more or less to taste)
- Little salt to taste
Want it faster and easier? Then substitute the coconut for 1 can of coconut milk.
Making your own coconut milk
Do you use canned coconut milk? Then you can skip this step. To use the coconuts for coconut rice, you must first extract the liquid and pulp. Chop the coconut and then the pulp into smaller pieces.
From this coconut rind or the coconut cubes you are going to make your own coconut milk.
Put all the grated or cubed coconut in a blender and fill the blender with water until about half of the coconut is added. Blend it until it’s smooth.
Now grab a container and a strainer and squeeze out all the liquid from the coconut mass you just made. The milk remains. You can also strain the coconut directly over the pan you are going to use, then you will have the coconut milk right where it needs to be.
Save the remaining coconut for later and you can leave it in the strainer in the meantime.
Preparation: this is how to make coconut rice from Colombia
1. Boil the coconut milk until titoté.
Put the coconut milk you made yourself or the canned coconut milk in a large pan, preferably with a slightly thicker bottom. Bring the coconut milk to boil. Once it boils turn down the heat slightly. Using a wooden spatula or spoon, keep stirring the coconut. After a while, the coconut milk starts to split from the coconut until the coconut remains. This can take up to 45 minutes. Finally you are left with the coconut, which you let brown well (see video below). This is called titoté.
This leftover brown coconut not only tastes delicious, but will also give the brown color to the coconut rice later.
2. Add the rice and water
Now fill two cups with the rice. Add this to the pan with the coconut and mix well. Per cup of rice you are going to add 2 cups of water, so 4 cups of water total. In the same cups as you did the rice. If the rice is still too dry later you can always add a little water.
You make this water from the leftover coconut you have in the strainer. Place the strainer over a bowl and add the 4 cups of water to it. You will use the water that comes back out underneath. Do you use canned coconut milk? Then just add water to the rice at this step.
Once the coconut water is ready pour it in with the rice. You can already see that the rice is starting to turn into a nice brown color.
3. Add brown sugar, salt and raisins if desired
Now add a little salt and 1 or 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. You can also add the raisins now (don’t have to!). This is to your own taste. Should you eventually want the coconut rice a little browner you can add more brown sugar.
Mix everything together well.
Now put the lid on the pan and let the rice cook well. This may take about 15 to 20 minutes. Keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t stick. After 15 to 20 minutes, the rice has absorbed all the water. If the rice is still too hard, you can add a little more water and let it stand for a while.
Now it is ready and you can enjoy the hard work you put into making this delicious dish.
Explaining coconut rice making on video
In this video, canned coconut milk is used.
Have you ever eaten typical Colombian coconut rice? Well or not: this dish is absolutely worth it. Have fun!
Find more typical Colombian dishes here.