Coconut Rice

At the university where I teach , once a month local churches host an international students dinner, bringing enough food for 250 students. Last month I brought this coconut rice that disappeared in the blink of an eye. Of course everything is popular with students who are always starving and looking for free food! I made it with full fat coconut milk and it tasted fabulous, but today I am making it with light coconut milk and hoping it will still taste divine.

I never heard of coconut milk until it started showing up everywhere. Coconut milk, oil, shortening – and on and on. Then it dawned on me that there is no lactose in coconut milk, and unlike fake creamers that contain enough chemicals to launch a rocket, coconut milk is a natural creamer.

I am already thinking ahead to custards, cream pies, caramel sauces, ice cream, cheese cake – all the things we lactose free folks have had to forego – and now maybe coconut milk can bring it all back into my life. Well to start, I am making coconut rice again for tonight’s international dinner, only with lite coconut milk. I will let you know if it is as good. The recipe below is made with regular coconut milk.


1 tbsp butter or margarine

3/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup coconut milk

1  1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp salt

1 tsp honey

1 cup Basmati or Jasmine rice

3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1 tsp fresh lime zest


In a 2 quart saucepan, over medium high heat, melt the butter until foaming. Add the chopped onions and sauté the onion for 3 to 5 minutes or until translucent.

Stir into the saucepan the coconut milk, broth, lime juice, salt and honey,  stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil.

Stir in the rice and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Remove the cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Add the cilantro (if using. I don’t care for cilantro, so I don’t use it), and then add the lime zest to the rice. Stir it in. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serves 4.

I doubled this recipe for the international dinner, and it made a ton of delicious coconut rice that students gobbled up in an instant. Several told me it was their favorite thing. Just because students angling for an “A” grade said this, is not proof that the rice was not fabulous.


Coconut Rice
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  1. I want to make this and I think I actually have all the ingredients on hand!

    • Hi Ellen,
      You won’t be sorry. The coconut milk adds so much to boring white rice. I especially liked the lime zest and lime juice that brought out the coconut even more.