Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thai Coconut Rice

Coconut rice makes a terrific accompaniment to many Thai and Indian dishes, but it's equally wonderful with many Western-style entrees. Quick and easy to make, this coconut rice recipe will come in handy for those times when you want to make dinner extra special without going to a lot of extra work. ENJOY!
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: SERVES 4



  • 2 cups Thai jasmine-scented white rice (for brown coconut rice, see link below)
  • 2 cups good-quality coconut milk
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. dry shredded unsweetened coconut (baking type)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, OR vegetable oil
  • Optional: 1-2 Tbsp. toasted coconut for garnish (see instructions below recipe)


  1. Rub oil over the bottom of a deep-sided pot. You will also need a tight-fitting lid.
  2. Place rice, coconut milk, water, shredded coconut, and salt in the pot and set over medium-high to high heat. Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
  3. Once the coconut-water has begun to gently bubble, stop stirring and reduce heat to low (just above minimum). Cover tightly with a lid and let simmer 15-20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. To check, pull rice aside with a fork. If most of the coconut milk-water is gone, go on to the next step.
  4. Replace the lid and turn off the heat, but leave the covered pot on the burner to steam another 5-10 minutes, or until you're ready to eat. Tip: Your Coconut Rice will stay warm this way for up to 1 hour or more, great for when you're expecting company!
  5. When ready to serve, remove the lid and fluff rice with a fork or chopsticks. Taste-test the rice for salt, adding a little more if needed. Serve right out of the pot, or transfer to a serving bowl. This rice is excellent served with a variety of both Thai and Indian dishes, such as curries or seafood recipes. If desired, top your rice with a sprinkling of toasted coconut and ENJOY!

Saffron Rice Recipe

This easy recipe for saffron rice hails from the south of Thailand, where it is often eaten with roast chicken. Saffron rice makes dinner extra special, and is nearly as easy to make as regular rice. You needn't own a rice cooker to make this recipe - it's boiled in a pot on the stove, but tastes very similar to steamed rice. And unlike most saffron rice recipes, this one is fat-free. Note: Because saffron is so expensive, I only use a little bit, then enhance the color by adding turmeric - a spice which also has incredible health benefits (in Thailand, turmeric is known as 'poor man's saffron'). Enjoy!

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 22 minutes

Yield: SERVES 4 as a Side Dish



  • SERVES 4
  • 2 cups white Thai jasmine-scented rice, OR substitute white basmati rice (Note: brown rice is not successful with this recipe)
  • 3 1/2 cups good-tasting chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1.5 to 2 Tbsp. fish sauce, OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt if vegetarian/vegan (to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. saffron threads
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili (from the spice aisle)
  • squeeze of lemon juice


  1. Pour stock into a medium-size pot (you will also need a tight-fitting lid). Place pot on the stove over high heat.
  2. While stock is coming to a boil, add the turmeric, saffron, garlic, chili, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir well.
  3. Add the rice, plus 1.5 Tbsp. fish sauce (or 1/4 tsp. salt) and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low (just above minimum) and cover tightly with a lid. Cook 12-15 minutes, or until liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Tip: Insert a fork or knife straight down into the pot and push the rice aside. If you see liquid, it still needs more time to cook.
  4. When most of the liquid is gone, turn off the heat and place lid on tight. Allow the pot is remain on the burner another 5-10 minutes, or until you're ready to eat. The residual heat inside the pot will finish steaming the rice. The rice will stay warm in this way for 1 hour or more (great if you're having guests!).
  5. Before serving, remove the lid and fluff rice with chopsticks or a fork (some of the chili may have risen to the surface - just stir it back into the rice). Taste-test for salt, adding 1/2 Tbsp. more fish sauce or a little more salt if needed (how much will depend on the saltiness of your stock). If too salty, add another squeeze of lemon juice. See below for links to curry recipes and other Thai food that goes well with saffron rice. Enjoy!

Chicken Fried Rice (Khao Phad Kai)

Chicken fried rice is always a popular choice at mealtimes, both with kids and adults. But most homemade versions of fried rice don't taste nearly as good as those made in a restaurant. If you've found this to be the case, what you may be lacking are a few fried rice tips (included in this recipe). Make this dish as spicy or mild as you like, according to how much chili you want to add (it can also be omitted, especially if you're feeding kids). A super dish to eat on its own, this chicken fried rice recipe also makes a good basic accompaniment to other Thai/Asian recipes. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: SERVES 2 as a Main Entree



  • 4 cups cooked rice, preferably several days old (see recipe)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup cooked chicken or turkey, OR fresh (uncooked) chicken, cut into very small pieces
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 minced green or red chili, OR 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. dried crushed chili
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce (plus more to taste)
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 egg
  • 3 spring (green) onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil OR coriander/cilantro


Tip: it's best to use "old" rice for this recipe. If using newly-cooked rice, put it in a large bowl and let it sit uncovered in the refrigerator for a few hours to dry it out.
  1. First, prepare cold rice by drizzling over 1 Tbsp. of the oil. Use your fingers to mix the oil in with the rice and separate the rice grains, removing any clumps.
  2. Place remaining oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add garlic and chili. Stir-fry until fragrant (30 seconds to 1 minute).
  3. Add chicken plus 2 Tbsp. stock. Stir-fry enough to thoroughly warm the meat if cooked. If raw, stir fry until meat is well cooked (3-5 minutes). Add remaining stock, as necessary, to prevent the pan from becoming dry and to keep ingredients sizzling.
  4. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, push ingredients aside and crack the egg into the middle of the wok/pan. Stir quickly to cook and break up the egg (like making scrambled eggs).
  5. When egg is cooked, add the rice plus fish sauce. Stir fry, keeping the heat medium-high. Do not add any more stock/liquid at this point, or your rice will become soggy. You want it hot and dry and light-textured.
  6. Add frozen peas and continue to stir-fry another 2-3 minutes, or until you can hear the rice "popping". Cooking Tip: If you find the rice is sticking, push the rice aside and add a little more oil to the bottom of the pan - this will make the rice "shine", like restaurant quality fried rice.
  7. Do a taste-test for saltiness. If not salty or flavorful enough, add more fish sauce. If too salty for your taste (this will depend on the stock you used), add up to 1 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice.
  8. Sprinkle with spring onion and basil or coriander, and serve piping hot from the wok/pan. Thai chili sauce can be served on the side. Enjoy!