This rice is a step up from basic coconut rice and is a fabulous side to any Asian-style dish. The recipe makes 5–6 cups of rice which works well for my large family, and still leaves me some leftovers that I gladly eat all by itself. It’s easy, addicting, and might just replace every other rice you make.
4 garlic cloves–minced or pressed through a garlic press
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (8oz.) can pineapple chunks or tidbits–drained, reserving the juice, and chopped (I avoid crushed. It seems that more of the core is used, resulting in tougher bits of pineapple)
1 (13oz. approx.) can coconut milk–divided, saving out 1/4 cup to finish off rice (Get a decent quality brand that has little or no water added. Thai Kitchen is what I usually use, and it’s pretty widely available. I also hear that Whole Foods brand 365 Organic is a good choice.)
water (in whatever amount that added to the milk and pineapple juice, adds up to 4 1/4 cups liquid)
4 teaspoons chopped, fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
Place rice in a sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold water until water runs clear. This will remove the starch on the outer surface of the rice, helping reduce the gumminess of the finished rice. Let the excess water drain off the rice for several minutes.
Meanwhile, shake the can of coconut milk, open, and set aside 1/4 cup. in a large liquid measuring cup, pour the milk, and the pineapple juice reserved from draining the can of pineapple. To this measurement (should be roughly 1 2/3 cups liquid), add enough water to equal 4 1/4 cups liquid total. Set aside.
In a medium-large pan on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and stir until blended. Don’t cook the sugar and butter together or you will quickly get toffee, which on its own is delicious–in coconut rice, not so much.
Raise temperature to medium-high and add the rinsed and drained rice. Quickly stir until the grains of rice are coated with the butter/sugar mixture.
Add the milk/pineapple juice/water mixture, garlic, and salt. Heat until just boiling, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook rice covered for 20 minutes without lifting lid. After 20 minutes remove rice from heat and let sit for 10 minutes without lifting lid.
Just before serving, add reserved coconut milk, chopped pineapple, and chopped basil. Salt and pepper to taste.