Coconut Rice with Cashews and Spices

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Coconut Rice with Cashews and Spices

When I have the luxury of spending a few hours in the kitchen, I like to dress up my grains. There is no reason why legumes should get all the attention. A definite staple in my kitchen, rice is delightful with a dab or two of butter, some lemon or lime juice, perhaps a sprinkling of fried mustard seeds, asafetida and methi leaves. With a little more focus, the flavor of this treasured fluffy grain can be transformed into a winning dish that will assert its presence as more than just a side.

This coconut rice dish comes from Dakshin, a favored cookbook featuring traditional South Indian creations. I've written about and cooked from this indispensable book on more than one occasion in this space, and it most certainly won't be the last time. I served this with spicy Toor Dal and Green Bean Poriyal and the dish tempered the heat perfectly.

Coconut Rice with Cashews and Spices

Coconut Rice with Cashews and SpicesCoconut Rice with Cashews and Spices
Recipe by
Adapted from Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India
Cuisine: South Indian
Published on May 23, 2009

Fragrant coconut basmati rice with fried spices and cashews

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

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  • 1 cup white basmati rice
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons raw cashew halves or pieces
  • 3/4 cup dried unsweetened grated coconut
  • 2 to 3 green chilies, finely chopped or cut into thin strips
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon split skinned urad dal, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon chana dal, rinsed
  • 1 dried whole red chili, broken in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafetida
  • small handful of dried curry leaves
  • Rinse the rice thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer. Transfer to bowl, cover with water, swish it around a few times, and drain. Repeat until the water is relatively clear and no longer cloudy. Drain, cover with water and soak the rice for 20 minutes or longer. Drain and set aside to air dry in a strainer for 15 minutes or longer, tossing the grains occasionally.

  • Transfer the rice to a small saucepan and pour in 2 cups of fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed — 15 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Set aside.

  • Heat the ghee or sesame oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat. When hot, fry the cashews until they are golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

  • In the same pan, fry the coconut until it turns a reddish brown colour. Remove from the pan and set aside.

  • For the tempering, heat the oil in the same pan. Add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad and chana dal, red chili, asafoetida and curry leaves. Stir until the mustard seeds begin to pop — 30 to 60 seconds — and then add the green chilies, cooked rice, coconut, and salt. Stir until well combined and then serve with the fried cashews as a garnish.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

Coconut Rice with Cashews and Spices

Other Indian rice dishes from Lisa's Kitchen:
Lime Flavoured Rice with Split Peas
Lemon Rice with Toasted Cashews
Mushroom Pulao Rice


bee said...

that sounds like a great meal. i have the book and have been meaning to try this recipe.

Unknown said...

wow delicious rice and my favorite too I like to have this with some potato curry yummmy entry Lisa.

Vidya said...

Coconut rice looks yummmmy Lisa. Your recipe looks exactly like how my mom made it. I remember having it 3 days a week (out of 5) for lunch during my elementary school years. I used to ask my mom to make it for me during weekends too :)

Pooja said...

Coconut rice looks delicious Lisa :)

Ricki said...

I agree, grains need some love, too! And this rice dish would make a great meal on its own.

Alka said...

I won't even ask for dal or poriyal, i will happily eat this with just curd or am i invited?

Indhu said...

this looks soo yummy... am eagerly waiting for the green bean poriyal :)

Red Chillies said...

I am yet to buy that book. I have it in my shopping cart for a long time now :-)
The coconut rice reminds me a lot of lemon rice minus the turmeric and lemon of course.

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

Love different spices in my rice. I'll have to try this beautiful recipe.

Suparna said...

hi Lisa,
coconut flavoured rice with tasty tempering is a treat evn without any accompaniment :) u've dressed it up so gorgeously with nuts!

Parita said...

thats delicious coconut rice the pic :)

eatme_delicious said...

Mmmm what a wonderful way to dress up rice!

Soma said...

I have never made rice with toasted or sauteed coconut. I have to do this sometimes.. looks delish.

TBC said...

Though rice and coconut are staples here, this is something I've never made.

Sounds like a wonderful meal.:)

Anirtak said...

I made this rice in the weekend and it was excellent - thanks for the great recipe. Cheers!

Rumela said...

Thanks a lot. This is an interesting recipe. At last I have found something interesting and unique to serve to my guests during the holidays. I am sure that they'll love this coconut rice.