Super Easy Baked Coconut Rice

Sometimes you stumble across a new kitchen skill that changes everything.  I was needing some downtime, but was feeling really unfocused, so settled on watching an episode of The Kitchen on TV. It's not really my favorite cooking show, but because it is done in segments with each person taking a turn sharing a dish, it is easy to pop into and out of. 

This show was focused on their favorite Big Batch recipes. There were honestly a few interesting things shared, but I consider Big Batch serving at least 10 people and most of their offerings didn't. The exception was when one chef shared how to bake a pan of rice - a 9 x 13 pan.  The chef used an aluminum foil pan that could be thrown away.  And she made a regular white rice cooked in a flavored broth.  She used the same two to one proportions of liquid to rice, she washed the rice, and added the salt and a bit of oil.  Voila - a pan of perfectly cooked fluffy rice. 

My youngest was having a birthday, so I was having the family over - just seven of us now.  He and his wife both love rice way more than potatoes, and they particularly love coconut rice.  So I dug around to see if anyone had tried baking coconut rice and the answer was yes, a lot of people. The proportions of liquid to water seemed to be a little less liquid than with regular rice recipes which worried, me. but as most recipes used the same ratio I gave it a try.  I also doubled the recipe. 

What you see below is the amounts I used. I baked it in a red Lagostina 9x13 ceramic dish so I could also serve the rice in the same dish. At the 25 minute mark you're supposed to take it out and let it just set on the counter. I freaked a bit as the center seemed to have a lot of liquid still. I just gave it a gentle stir, resealed the foil tight and left it on the counter for 10 minutes instead of 5.  I assumed the difference was because I doubled the recipe. 

What a lovely surprise to open the top and fluff the rice. It was perfect. I'm glad I made a double batch as everyone had a nice serving, plus my son ate three large helpings (the birthday boy so happy he loved it) and his wife had two. When you have company, this is definitely the way to go.  I've used a rice cooker (although a small cheap one), and I've both cooked rice on the stovetop and in the  microwave.  his by far was the easiest when you have company. You don't have to keep an eye on it.  The bottom doesn't burn, nor does the pot boil over.

Note - It is super important to wash the rice thoroughly in a strainer before using.  And make sure you check the standard ratio of rice to liquid for the type of grain you are using and stick to it.  

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Super Easy Baked Coconut Rice
10 servings

Ingredients -

2-1/2 C                Jasmine Rice (or Basmati)
2 cans                  Coconut Milk, full fat
1 C                      Water
1/4 C                   Vegetable Oil (or one with mild flavor)
1 tsp                    Salt
Optional: A few snipped chives to sprinkle on top

Instructions - 

Preheat oven the 375 degrees. Prepare a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray

Place the rice in a strainer and thoroughly rinse for several minutes, then let set for a short bit.  Place the coconut and water in a small pan and bring just to a boil.  Gently add this to your 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle in the rice, oil and salt and gently stir to combine.

Seal the top tightly with foil - you don't want the steam escaping so the seal is important - and carefully place in the pre-heated oven. Be careful moving the pan to the oven. You don't want to slosh boiling liquid on you.  Bake for 25 minutes. 

Most recipes say take out and put on counter for 5 minutes then fluff and serve. Where I doubled the recipe I was worried that might change the cooking time. I did place it on the counter, but lifted the foil just far enough to give it a gentle stir to redistribute the rice as there was more liquid in the middle. Then I sealed the foil tight again and let it set longer - about 10 - 12 minutes. 

That worked.  I just fluffed with a fork and voila - it was table ready and was eaten with gust. 

I can't wait to try this again with different rice types and am wondering if it might work with Quinoa as well.

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