Currently cooking from Cook This Now by Melissa Clark
This was one of the first dishes I marked out of this book. Sometimes you want rice to take a more starring role in your meal, and I thought this recipe might do that. I’ve had coconut rice before, and I’ve always really liked it, especially the versions I’ve had in the Caribbean (although their “peas” usually mean our beans).
Unfortunately, I had problems with this recipe, and those problems were probably just as much my fault as the recipe’s fault, although I do wish Clark had been a little more explicit in some places. I ended up with gummy, clumpy rice that didn’t taste coconutty at all.
This is a pretty straightforward recipe. You cook brown rice in coconut milk and water until tender. During the last few minutes of cooking, you stir in frozen peas. Easy, no? Well, here’s where I ran into problems.
1. Clark calls for brown rice. She doesn’t specify long grain, short grain or medium grain. I went with my favorite short grain brown rice. She also tells you to rinse the rice first, which I forgot to do. That one is my fault and probably contributed to the gumminess.
2. Clark calls for coconut milk, but doesn’t specify regular or lite. I went with lite. I don’t know if that made a difference or not. Clark says to pour the coconut milk into a measuring glass and then add enough water to make two cups. I ended up adding less than 1/4 of a cup of water to equal two cups, and my liquid was quite thick and “saucy.” I ended up adding another 1/4 cup of water because my rice was starting to stick in the pan, but it was still somewhat chewy. I think this was the major culprit in my gumminess; perhaps the type of rice I used needed more than the two cups of liquid. Maybe I should have used less coconut milk and more water.
3. As for the lack of coconut flavor, well, I don’t know. Maybe I should try adding some dried coconut to the rice. Maybe using a blander white rice will let the coconut flavor come through better.