Short Grain Rice with Lemongrass

Lemongrass Rice

Rice is generally served at least once or twice a week in my kitchen. Although I enjoy it with little adornment alongside other dishes, especially soupy curries, I do like to dress it up sometimes too. The inclusion of coconut milk makes this rice extra creamy and the lemongrass gives the dish some delightful tang. Aromatic and comforting, this well-balanced combination is often served on special occasions. Sri Lankan in origin, the similarity between Indian and Sri Lankan cooking is of course to be expected as Sri Lanka is so close, just south of India's southern tip, although Sri Lanka has a diverse range of other influences that make their offerings unique. I am looking forward to exploring more traditional Sri Lankan food.

I have adapted the recipe from Raghavan Iyer's cherished book, 660 Curries.

Short Grain Rice with LemongrassShort Grain Rice with Lemongrass
Recipe by
Adapted from 660 Curries
Cuisine: Sri Lankan
Published on July 5, 2014

Simple, creamy and fragrant rice side dish cooked with coconut milk, lemongrass, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

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  • 1 cup short grain white rice
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, cut into quarters and crushed with a knife
  • 5 green cardamon pods
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup (8 oz or 225 mL) coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Rinse the rice well under cold water until the water is no longer cloudy. Transfer to a medium bowl and cover the rice with cold water. Let sit for 45 minutes. Drain and set aside to air dry in a strainer for 5 minutes.

  • Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion, lemongrass, cardamon, clove and cinnamon. Stir and fry until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

  • Add the rice to the pot along with the turmeric, coconut milk, water and salt. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and boil, undisturbed, until the water has evaporated from the surface — about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir once, reduce the heat to very low, cover, and cook for another 10 minutes without stirring. Turn off the heat and let the rice sit for 10 minutes. Do not removed the lid or stir.

  • Before serving, remove the cardomom pods, clove and cinnamon, and fluff with a fork.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

rice with lemongrass

More rice dishes you are sure to enjoy:
Mushroom Risotto
Rice Pongal
Rice with Paneer and Peas
Coconut Rice

On the top of the reading stack: Vegan Eats World: 300 International Recipes for Savoring the Planet by Terry Hope Romero

Audio Accompaniment: Yoo Mi Young


Unknown said...

Wow this is new one for me, I've never cooked rice with lemongrass, does this feel like a sweet dish? X

Joanne said...

I never seem to make rice in any fun way. love this fresh lemongrass twist!

Lisa Turner said...

It is not a sweet dish. The lemongrass adds a bit of zest that compliments the aromatic spices. I've used lemongrass before, but usually in Thai dishes. It is really worth serving up.