How To Prepare Nigerian Coconut Rice

Coconut rice is a delicacy unique to the Asians, mainly Indians and the Indonesians. However, trust Nigerians to come up with a replica close to the original recipe. Coconut rice is one of my favorite delicacies, and I often cook it when there is a special occasion or celebration. The delicious aroma that fills the kitchen and the whole house is so comforting – the sweet coconut flavor. Irresistible!

The ingredients used for cooking coconut rice are not hard to find as they are sold in any market. So much so that most sellers, extract the juice of the coconut and sell in bottles. However, if you are a little extra like me, you can get the coconut milk at any shopping mall. The coconut milk is necessary to enhance the flavor of the coconut rice.

Coconut Rice Ingredients

The ingredients necessary for the preparation of coconut rice include:

  • 4 cups of rice
  • 1 kilo of chicken/turkey (any meat of your choice)
  • 1 large coconut
  • 1 bottle of coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut chaff/ residue
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of pepper flakes/black pepper
  • 2 bulbs of onions
  • 3 chicken seasoning cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 200ml cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of ground crayfish powder

How to Make Coconut Rice

The cooking technique used in cooking coconut rice is quite simple, just follow the steps, and you would have a delicious plate of coconut rice in 45 to 50 minutes.

  • What you need to do first is to extract the coconut flesh from the nut by cracking it with a hammer or hitting it against a hard surface. Using a knife, pull out the flesh. You have to be extra careful when doing this to avoid cutting yourself.
  • Cut into bits or chunks, wash and put it into a blender with the coconut water. Blend on high speed till smooth.
  • In a sieve, squeeze out the juice for the first time, then with hot water, rinse it off the second time. Make sure you do not use too much water. The lesser the water, the more intense the flavor. The chaff or residue after extracting the juice is not a waste anyways. I usually add little to the rice just for the crunch. It is something I have tried over the years, and I love it.
  • After this step, keep the juice aside. Now, to the chicken prep, wash and season the chicken with spices onions, pepper flakes, seasoning cubes, curry, thyme, and salt. Cook till it is soft. It is essential to know that the broth extract from cooking the chicken is required. You would need it to cook the rice too.
  • I love to fry my chicken, so if you are like me, this is the best time to do so. In a pan, pour in the vegetable oil, leave till it is hot. Then add the chicken and fry till golden brown. Drain in a sieve and keep aside.
  • When you are done with this step, wash and parboil the rice. Parboiling the rice helps the cooking process to be faster, be careful not to parboil it till the grains get soft. Drain in a sieve and keep aside.
  • In the same pot, add your vegetable oil, I like to use the oil previously used to fry the chicken, so it adds more flavor, so don’t bother using a fresh one. Add chopped onions and fry till it’s translucent.
  • Then, add the coconut milk and the coconut juice you extracted after blending. Add the pepper, seasoning cubes, salt, and chicken broth. Cook till it simmers. You would want to check for the salt level, so taste it and add more if it isn’t tasty to your desire.
  • After this, add the curry powder, thyme, crayfish powder and a little bit of the coconut chaff (the residue after the juice extraction). Stir, then pour in the rice. Cover the lid and let it cook till it becomes soft.

Chef’s Recommendation

If you notice the water drying out and the rice is still not soft, you can top it with water (not too much, so you don’t have soggy rice). Notice how the aroma fills the kitchen? (Hahaha, don’t be surprised when your neighbors sniff the aroma and pay you a visit).

When the rice is cooked through, serve with the fried chicken and any cold drink of your choice.

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