Coconut rice  from Columbia is a delicious staple in many parts of this diverse country.

We could not stop snacking on the fresh vibrants fruits, sold in parks and along the charming streets to locals and their happy children.

For lunch or dinner I could devour the simply scrumptious coconut rice everyday.

If you add the typical Columbian ingredients of sweet and hot peppers, tree tomatoes, tamarind, guavas, and papayas, depending on the region, you have a celebration of many cultures.

It is easy to prepare your own coconut rice for fish, seafood and chicken with a few ingredients. You may never make plain rice again.

I adapted this coconut rice recipe from Patricia McCaudland-Gallo’s cookbook about the secrets of Columbian cooking.

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Coconut Rice

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon oil
2 cups rice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups coconut milk

Method:

Heat oil in medium pot over medium heat.
Add rice, sugar, salt and stir for 2 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and bring to a slow boil.
After about 7 minutes, or when you see most of the liquid evaporated, cover pot, reduce to slow medium heat and cook covered for about 20 minutes.

Tips:

You can make your own freshly made coconut milk or try the excellent canned brands on the market.

My favorite is the extra thick and rich coconut cream from Trader Joe’s.

If you serve this with your favorite chicken preparation.

Try to use fresh free range chickens. These are grown in the mountains in Columbia.

This rice  works well with pork, fish, soups, curries and desserts.

I enjoy savory fare, yet, for me, the secret ingredient is the sugar.

Lemonade is a refreshingly tart drink  for lunch on a hot day.

This dish also pairs well with a Chilian light red, or white wine.

Another choice is a coconut rum drink to start the festivities.

My other preference is cold local beer with Columbian curry coconut cuisine.

I plan to take a cooking course when I return to Columbia this year.

Columbia Coconut rice and butter chicken.

Brenda C. Hill


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