Monday, March 14, 2016

Coconut Lemongrass Rice

One of the themed spices for a recent Spiced-up group potluck was coconut and/or lemongrass.  I was crazy busy in a year of crazy busy so I had time to neither find a recipe nor shop for ingredients.  So I looked at what I had in my pantry and searched for something I could make from what I already had on hand.

What I had was rice, almonds, golden raisins, coconut flakes, brandy, and spices.  I work near what is sometimes referred to as "New Chinatown" at Broadway and Argyle Street in Chicago's uptown neighborhood, so it was not too much of an inconvenience to stop there on the way home the night before the potluck to pick up the lemongrass.  The recipe called for jasmine rice but I knew I could substitute long-grain rice if I could not find jasmine rice.  But wonder of wonders, my neighborhood Treasure Island actually had brown jasmine rice on their shelves.  Of course it cost an arm and a leg, but I was curious to try it and I wanted the dish to be as accurate as possible so I splurged.

As is usually the case, the original recipe uses white rice, but I have gotten quite adept over the years at converting the cooking times to account for brown rice, which I prefer as much these days for flavor as for the health benefits.  The brown jasmine rice provided a layer of nuttiness that stood up well to the robust flavors of the almond, coconut and lemongrass.

The brandy takes this dish pretty much as far away from traditional as one can get, but it added a nice overtone that I can highly recommend.  I mainly used it because I had the end of a bottle hanging around and had been looking for a use for it.  The dish can easily be made without it, but if you happen to have some hanging around I recommend that you give it a try.

I did not really have time to make anything to go with the rice, but given the lemongrass and coconut theme I was pretty sure that folks would bring quite a few dishes that my rice would complement, and I was correct.  By the end of the evening it had disappeared.

Luckily, this recipe makes a double batch so I was able to keep some of the rice for myself.  It was delicious when I paired it with the above version of my Masoor Dal, which is something I make quite frequently for work lunches.
Home Cookin Chapter: Grains Pasta and Potatoes

2 cups brown jasmine rice, washed 3 times and drained
3-1/3 cup water
1 cup coconut flakes
1-1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cardamom
3 kaffir lime leaves
2 6-inch pieces lemongrass, bruised until pliable and tied into a knot
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup brandy

Cover the raisins with brandy and set aside. Combine the rice, coconut, turmeric, ginger, cardamom, salt, lime leaves, lemon-grass, and water in a 4-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover tightly with lid and reduce heat to lowand cook for 40 minutes. Turn off the heat and let set for five minutes, then remove the cover and fluff the rice.

Add the almonds and raisins with the brandy and stir them in with the rice. Remove the lemongrass and lime leaves before serving.

adapted from receipe found at

exported from Home Cookin v.8.66 (

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