COCONUT GINGERROOT RICE (from Southeast Asia, for four)
2 cups long-grain, basmati white rice
½ cup sweetened, flaked coconut
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons julienne strips of peeled, fresh gingerroot
1 jalapeno chile, minced
2 cups water
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk
1 small bay leaf
2 teaspoons salt
3 scallions, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh coriander
- Measure rice into a fine-mesh strainer and place sieve into a bowl of cold water to soak for 30 minutes. Remove sieve from water and drain rice for 20 minutes. (Soaking and drying the rice thoroughly are important to remove the starch from the kernels before cooking. Otherwise, your rice may be gummy.)
- Put rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350*. Spread coconut in a shallow baking pan and, when oven is ready, toast coconut until pale golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool completely.
- In a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté the gingerroot and jalapeno until softened, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the water, chicken stock, coconut milk, bay leaf, and salt (Do not stir again until rice is finished). Bring the mixture to a boil and continue boiling 8 minutes, until the surface of the rice is dry and covered with steam holes.
- Reduce heat to lowest possible setting, cover pot tightly (use both a tea towel and lid) and cook 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let rice stand, still covered, 5 minutes more. Remove cover and fluff rice with a fork. Remove the bay leaf and garnish with coriander, scallion and grated coconut before serving.
NOTE: For a Caribbean take on this recipe, add one 3-inch cinnamon stick and Tabasco sauce to taste along with the water in step 3. Remove the cinnamon stick with the bay leaf before serving.
Serve with: Sauteed chicken cutlets with Thai herbs
Thai baked whole red snapper with green curry sauce
adapted from Gourmet Magazine, April, 1994